Hainault Forest Website

Written and Designed by Brian Ecott


June 2017


Weather news

About 30mm of rain fell in 15 minutes, a deluge catching many people unawares as they were enjoying a walk in the forest. Parents with families screamed  as there was nowhere to shelter. Barkingside was flooded, buses were stranded and the underground was affected. Photo Brian Ecott. 2nd June 2017.

June temperatures C
11th 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23rd
23 19 23 26 23 23 29 31 32 31 34.5 22 23
Grass snakes

Martin Bell photographed this harmless grass snake near the farmyard. They have been swimming in the lake. Their food is plentiful at this time as many young froglets are beginning to leave the water to spend 4 or 5 years growing and reaching maturity before returning to the water. Few of the masses of tadpoles survive predation, particularly in the early stages. Photo Martin Bell    2nd June 2017.


Fallow deer herd

Louise Waters kindly sent me this photograph of a small herd of Fallow deer seen recently from her cottage in Lambourne End on the edge of the Forest.  Two bucks with antlers are present. On the left is a dark form normally associated with the Epping Forest herd..
The Queen's 91st Birthday Flypast over the Forest
As always, on such occasions the Flypast passes directly over Hainault Forest. For the complete flypast photographed by Michael Rumble  CLICK HERE
Raymond Small spotted this 1cm bug on a Hawthorn leaf in a hedgerow along Romford Road. This proved difficult to identify to genus and species so he sent it to britishbugs.org.uk where Joseph Botting and Dr Tristan Bantock identified it as Deraeocoris olivaceus a bug first seen in Surrey in 1951. It is more common in France. Photo Raymond Small 3rd June 2017.  It is another  first for Hainault. Well done Raymond.

The Lackey moth caterpillar Malacosoma neustria  on Aspen on Hog hill. 1st June 2017. Photo Brian Ecott

Cinnabar moth Tyria jacobaeae 8th June 2017 on Hog Hill.

Photo Brian Ecott

Small Fan-foot moth Herminia grisealis on bramble leaf. 22nd June 2017. 

Photo Brian Ecott

Cream Wave moth in hand, Scopula floslactata 30th June 2017.

Photo Brian Ecott.

This small bundle of sticks on an hawthorn leaf contains a small female flightless moth called a Bagworm. Family Psychidae. The male is an active flier. 7th June 2017. Photo Brian Ecott

Male and female Large skipper butterflies Ochlodes venata. Found throughout June 2017. The male has a dark brown  oblique scent gland on the upper wings. Photos Brian Ecott

Painted lady Vanessa cardui on path by Lake. 8th June 2017. An immigrant species - may have just arrived from North Africa. Photo Brian Ecott Ringlet butterfly Aphantopus hyperantus. Plentiful throughout June in tall grassland areas. Photo Brian Ecott

Comma butterfly Polygonia c-album  on bramble 30th June 2017.

 Photo Brian Ecott

The underwing of a Comma butterfly showing the capital C. 21st June 2017.. Photo Michael Rumble.

Red admiral  Vanessa atalanta 1st June 2017. Photo Michael Rumble.

Harlequin ladybird larva Harmonia axyridis on white poplar leaf. 4th June 2017.
 Cranefly aka Daddy longlegs Tipula paludosa on rush stems by the Lake. Photo Brian Ecott  16th June 2017 A male Common Greenbottle fly Lucilia sp. (top) eyes up a female on a reed. 17th June 2017. Photo Brian Ecott

Common Blue Damselflies in wheel position.  Enallagma cyathigerum by pond on golf course. 14th June 2017. Photo Michael Rumble..

The male is grasping the light coloured (light brown/green) female by the neck. Meanwhile the female is removing sperm from the male's thorax

which he has placed there.

This medium sized Azure Damselfly Coenagrion puella is one of the blues seen on the edges of ponds, streams and the Lake.. 3rd June 2017.

Photograph Raymond Small.

The importance of  old standing timber is seen in this picture. Hundreds of grubs and insects live within the dead tree. When they complete their life cycle the insects drill their way out leaving heaps of sawdust around the base of the tree. The grubs are sought after by woodpeckers and other birds. Brian Ecott.
Microscopic investigations - 1
To identify  a midrib gall on Water poplar it is necessary to see what is inside. Poplar galls are caused by waxy woolly aphids. Opening the gall up revealed a dark green winged adult (right) and several grey nymphs. This suggests that the identification is Pemphigus populinigrae. Photo and scan Brian Ecott.
Microscopic investigations - 2

Several large black spots 1cm across were seen on the yellow iris leaves lining the lake on the 6th June 2017. First thoughts were that it was something to do with the Iris Sawfly larvae which are often seen eating the iris leaves in the summer months.. On examination eggs were found  (arrowed) and the whole was covered with black and white gossamer. I Googled "black spots on iris leaves" whose images gave two references to a Rush spider. Searching my own pictures revealed that I had photographed a Rush spider Tetragnatha sp. on an iris leaf by Hainault Lake which appeared to be egg laying on the  5th September  2005! So puzzle answered. Photo and scans Brian Ecott.

Wild flowers

Lady's bedstraw Galium verum in the wildflower meadow. Used in times past in Hay mattresses for women especially during childbirth. Smells of honey.       27th June 2017. Photo Brian Ecott.

Bee orchid  Ophrys apifera. near the Lake, This year we have discovered another three sites in the forest. 3rd June 2017. Photo Brian Ecott.

Inset Michael Rumble

Sea club rush.  Scirpus maritimus. A large flowered sedge up to 1m. tall. Despite its name it is found around the north and western margins of the lake. It is a rare plant inland.  Photo Brian Ecott  6th June 2017.

Field rose Rosa arvensis in the hedgerows where it scrambles over other bushes. Differs from other roses by the combined styles that are in the centre of the flower above the anthers. Photo Brian Ecott  12th June 2017. Greater willow herb aka Codlins and cream Epilobium hirsutum in wet areas. 30th June 2017. Photo Brian Ecott. (Codlins were pinkish cooking apples).



Smooth Tare Vicia tetrasperma  is a small pea flower which grows amongst other flowers in the wildflower meadow. Its specific name tetrasperma refers to the four seeds in the pod as seen left..

Photo Brian Ecott June 17th 2017.

Wild celery Apium graveolens near the lake outfall. 17th June 2017. Normally coastal, it occurs in base rich brackish water. Photo Brian Ecott. Pendulous sedge Carex pendula. One or two male spikes are on the tip of the inflorescence, with up to 5 female spikes behind. Spikes about 15cm. long. Around the lake and in wet areas. Photo Brian Ecott  30th June 2017.

Common mallow Malva sylvestris 22nd June 2017, Photo Brian Ecott

Musk mallow Malva moschata on Hog hill. 16th June 2017. Brian Ecott.

Teasel Dipsacus fullonum, Once used for carding wool. Now used in winter flower arrangements. 30th June 2017. Photo Brian Ecott

 Perforate St. John's-wort Hypericum perforatum edge of Roes well. The leaf appears perforated when held up to the light using a lens. The pinpoints of light are in fact translucent cells. 30th June 2017. Photo and Scan Brian Ecott.
White or Dutch clover Trifolium repens. 18th June 2017. Photo Brian Ecott   A great source of nectar for honeybees when it is allowed to escape the mowers. Creeping thistle Cirsium arvense. Along field edges. A favourite of the Soldier beetles. 18th June 2017. Photo Brian Ecott.

Wild carrot  Daucus carota. An umbellifer. The centre flower is purple and in early pictures the large number of bracts around the inflorescence can be seen.

Photo Brian Ecott

27th June 2017 in the wildflower meadow..

Bristly ox-tongue Picris echioides.  27th June 2017. Photo Brian Ecott, In the wildflower meadow,

Other fauna

Grey squirrel 16th June 2017 Photo Michael Rumble

The Great crested grebe failed to breed on both sites on the lake.

1st June 2017, Photo Michael Rumble.

Aquatic creatures


During mid June Raymond Small and myself visited all the ponds and streams in the forest, with a net,  to see what we could find there.

Raymond photographed all of our finds  and some are included here. We hope to do more as the summer progresses.

At the end of June there had begun a migration of toadlets and froglets from the Lake.

One of the best areas was the small stream which starts at the second car park and originally drained the Farm pond adjacent.


Tadpoles in various stages of development  (above and top)

  A newt tadpole with four legs and feathery gills (above)

Water fleas Daphnia pulex  were found in the Lake in astronomical numbers during June. Each dip of the net produced a large handful. These form the base of a dynamic food web.

Damselfly nymph. Spends a year in the water before becoming a damselfly.

Horse leech Haemopsis sp. Not a blood sucker but feeds on small creatures and dead fish. Head is the narrow end.

Water Hog louse aka Water Slater Asellus sp. Abundant in stagnant ponds

Freshwater shrimp Gammarus sp. Abundant in stagnant ponds

Back swimmer or Water Boatman Notonecta glauca. Third pair of legs have fringes of hairs to aid swimming. Take air from the surface through their elytra or wing cases which they push up through the meniscus.

Blood worm larva of the Chironomid midge Chironomus sp. Lives in polluted water and contains a form of haemoglobin to help with oxygen transfer.

Rat-tailed maggot, larva of a hoverfly Eristalis sp. Lives in murky water.Its extendable "tail" is a breathing tube, used to reach to the water surface to take in air.



Summer Fungi

Dryad's saddle Polyporus squamosus on willow stump by the Lake.
 5th June 2017  Photo Brian Ecott.

Wood mushroom growing in a woodland area near the lake. 6th June 2017. Photo Brian Ecott

and finally.....

Raymond Small and Brian Ecott represented Hainault Forest at the Chigwell Row, All Saints Church, 150th Anniversary Fayre. 24th June 2017.