Hainault Forest Website

Written and Designed by Brian Ecott


APRIL 2018

Red Kite - first picture over Hainault

The first Red Kite seen over the forest and silhouetted against a grey sky on the 15th April 2018. Red Kites have recently been seen in Lambourne End and Chigwell Row. Photo Raymond Small.

A Story of European Gorse  

I wanted to photograph the  beauty of the European gorse Ulex europaeus  in Hainault Forest. It flowers during the winter months. A large patch is in the Horse pasture. After taking a suitable picture Raymond Small pointed out that I had a Muntjac deer standing  in the background. Photo Brian Ecott.  6th April 2018.

Muntjac deer originate from South East Asia but some escaped from Woburn, Bedfordshire in 1900 and since the 1950's they have spread over most of the south-east of England. Photo Brian Ecott.  6th April 2018

The buck (left) is stockier than the doe (right) and has two backward pointing anlers. The neck is thicker and there is yellow on the forehead. Muntjac stand at 48cms with does slightly smaller. They are active day and night.  Photos Brian Ecott.  6th April 2018.

Muntjac are also known as Barking deer as the doe may bark every 5 seconds for a long period especially after giving birth and ready to mate again.. Raymond Small tracked down a continual barking sound in Hainault Lodge Local Nature Reserve last year on 5th May  which turned out to be a Muntjac . He found it hiding in a holly bush. Photo Raymond Small.

Raymond Small found this bug on gorse and sent its photo to Dr Tristan Bantock of britishbugs.org.uk. who identified it as

Lygus pratensis. Raymond forwarded the picture to the Essex Field Club website who were asking for a picture of this species.

Photo Raymond Small. 13th April 2018

Gorse seed weevil Exapion ulicis a tiny weevil  on gorse flowers 2-3mm  feeds on developing seeds. It bores through the flower leaving a tiny hole. (above centre) Photos Brian Ecott.  except above right Raymond Small 6th April 2018.

Gorse shield bug 10-13mm. They emerge from hibernation in spring and are yellow green colour with blue edges. They are the only shieldbugs to have pink antennae.  Photo Brian Ecott.  6th April 2018.

Pine ladybird (above) and Seven spot ladybird Photos Brian Ecott.  13th April 2018

 A Crab spider hiding in the flowers and right a Robber fly. Photos Brian Ecott.  14th April 2018

Back again

The Grey wagtail is back nesting in the Lake outfall. In the shallow waters of the waterfall it searches for insects. Photo Michael Trump 17th April 2018

Greylag family of ten

Family of  Greylags 25th April 2018 Photo Martin Bell.

Primitive life




Nostoc commune is a very early form of life on earth. It is present on hoggin paths and bare earth and very common this year.

It is a communal blue-green alga also known as a prokaryote or cyanobacterium. The cells do not contain a nucleus, but all the genetic material was found throughout the cell.

From fossil evidence they were present on earth before oxygen had  evolved, and were able to fix nitrogen. They are thought to date from 3.5 million years ago

Photos Brian Ecott 1st April 2018 (Not a joke!)


Lichen Physcia tenella on wooden gate by Horse pasture Infrequent in the forest. 10th April 2018 Photo Brian Ecott

Microscopic lichen Candelariella aurella on gate (above) and Fruiticose lichen Ramalina fastigiata on Hawthorn (above right)

 13th April 2018 Photos Brian Ecott




Dog Lichen Peltigera sp. found amongst grasses and mosses on Hoghill and sent to John Skinner, Lichenologist at Essex Field Club for identification.


John reports " Peltigeras recorded in Essex are Peltigera hymenina, rufescens, neckeri, didactyla and a single record of membranacea. Despite their size they can be difficult.


I am sure it is Peltigera hymenina, both upper surface and lower surface look right. It is also the commonest Peltigera in Essex.  I would like to come over and see and photograph the site and carefully search for other species, particularly Cladonias. It must be after rain as Peltigera will almost disappear in dry weather."


22nd April 2018

Photo Brian Ecott

Frog spawn

Twenty or more batches of Frogspawn were found amongst the Yellow Iris lake edge on the 1st April 2018. About a week earlier a similar amount was found at Roe's well. Photo Brian Ecott.

Developing tadpoles spotted in the lake. Photos Martin Bell  25th April 2018

 Pair of Common toads in the lake. 7th April 2018  Photo   Michael Trump


Hornbeam catkins on the 13th April 2018   Hornbeam is wind pollinated. Tree pollen causes allergies in some people at this time of year.

Photo Brian Ecott

This Horse chestnut's sticky buds  have opened and the leaves are unfurling revealing the flower buds which will stand like candles on the end of branches. 13th April 2018. Photo Brian Ecott

Butterflies and Moths

A male Brimstone butterfly concealed under a blackberry leaf 7th April 2018 Photo Raymond Small.

A Plume moth at rest with the wings folded, 17th April 2018.

Photo Raymond Small. 

Moth Diurnea fagella on bus stop window by entrance. 13th April 2018

Photo Brian Ecott

Other insects

Alderfly Sialis lutaria on hat rim 20th April 2018 Photo Raymond Small. 

Nut weevil Curculio nucum 3rd April 2018 Photo Colin Carron 

Mining bee Adrena sp. 3rd April 2018 Photo Colin Carron. 

 Bronzed or coppery ground beetle  Agonum sexpunctatum.  12mm. among grass cuttings. 21st April 2018  Photo   Brian Ecott 

 Brown lipped snail

 BROWN LIPPED SNAIL  Cepheae nemoralis This species is variable in colour and banding. On bark. 11th April 2018 Photo Raymond Small

April flowers

Common daisies Bellis perennis in short grassland, 16th April 2018. Photo Brian Ecott

Cowslips  Primula veris grassland near main gate.  12th April 2018. Photo Brian Ecott

Wood sorrel Oxalis acetosella Common path and. Early Dog violet Viola reichenbachiana 15th April 2018. Photos Brian Ecott

 Field woodrush Luzula campestris, Roe's well 15th April 2018. and  Wood anemone Anemone nemorosa 16th April 2018. Photos Brian Ecott

Two important Spring plants. Left: Jack-by-the-Hedge aka Garlic mustard  Alliaria petiolata and Lady's smock aka Cuckoo flower Cardamine pratensis   24th April 2018.Photos Brian Ecott

Below left: A Green veined white butterfly can be found egg laying on Garlic mustard and below is a male Orange tip. The female will lay eggs on both these plants.  Photos Brian Ecott and Michael Rumble


Insects on Garlic mustard   23-24 April.  Brian Ecott

Hoverfly Syrphus vitripennis male. <10mm

Hoverfly Volucella sp. male

Hoverfly female possibly Melanostoma scalare a widespread species <8mm

Scorpion fly Panorpa sp. Male 15mm.
Nomad bee Nomada sp..<10mm.

Longhorn moth  Adela reaumurella female <10mm

Brassica bug Eurydema oleracea (White form). They can have red, white or yellow dots and markings. 7mm.

Hoverfly Baccha elongata male <8mm. Widespread low in vegetation but rarely seen. Photo Raymond Small

Lost and found again





Last recorded on Hoghill on the 6th May 2006 by Brian Wurzell during a meeting of the British Plant Gall Society.

Blinks Montia fontana (above and left) has evaded being found since.

This year it is growing in profusion on Hoghill amongst the moss Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus. It is a very tiny plant and is seen here with plenty of flowers.

Photo Brian Ecott  20th April 2018


Fallow deer slots

 Fallow deer slots along Common path, Each approx 5.5cms. Almost twice the size of Muntjac slots.16th April 2018. Photo Brian Ecott

......and finally -  A Hainault Forest Golf Club Pewter Mug 1938

Inscription : E,.E. Gunary 1938 
For even more content visit Raymond Small's website at hainaultforest.net


The January - March diary pages are not available at present.