Hainault Forest Website

Written and Designed by © Brian Ecott


For even more content visit Raymond Small's website at hainaultforest.net




A Merry Christmas

Brian Ecott   Photo © Raymond Small

December 13th Catkins!

Hazel shrubs are wind pollinated.

The large catkins are male and carry masses of pollen

which is distributed by the wind to trees throughout the area.


The female flowers are small and found at the end of twigs.

Sometimes they don't mature at the same time,

to prevent cross pollination


Below is a close up  of a female flower.


Catkins are  found January to March before the leaves appear.


Scans © Brian Ecott. Close up above © Raymond Small

Alice's hedge, Dog Kennel Hill.

Fungus foray

Barley Sugar fungus. (10mm)  Libertella faginea on old fallen Beech. 30th November 2018. Picture © Brian Ecott

Oyster mushroom Pleurotus sotreatus on living beech tree. 4th December 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Rooting shank Xerula radicata. 5th December 2018.  Photo © Brian Ecott

Witches butter Exidia glandulosa on rotting oak branch. 20th December 2018.  Photo © Brian Ecott.

Jelly ear Auricularia auricula-judae. It's Latin name translates "Jews ear" and recalls the legend of Judas Iscariot hanging himself on a tree following his receipt of thirty pieces of silver to identify Jesus to the chief priests. 3rd December 2018. Photo © Brian Ecott

 Sulphur Knight Tricholoma sulphureum 8th December 2018  Photos © Brian Ecott

Yellow toothed fungus  Hyphodontia sp.   2nd December 2018 Photo © Michael Rumble. On beech.

Hoof fungus Fomes fomentarius. Also knows as Tinder fungus due to its use in fire lighting. 13th December 2018. Photo © Brian Ecott on Beech. Found as one of the possessions of Ötzi the Copper age iceman, found in Otztal Alps, Austria in 1991 and who died 5300 years ago A mature common puffball. It is just a huge bag of millions of spores. There is a hole in the top and a single raindrop landing on it will force out a cloud of spores. 9th December 2018. Photo © Brian Ecott
Beetle grub identification

The beetle grub under oak bark, that I put on November's diary page was identified by Professor Jim Hardie, Director of Science, Royal Entomological Society,as the larva of the Malachite or Red tipped  beetle Malachius bipustulatus which I photographed on emergent oak leaves on 5th May 2005.  Photos © Brian Ecott.

Harlequin ladybird

Harlequin ladybird Harmonia axyridis f. spectabilis in hand. Photo © Michael Rumble

Mute swan cob

Young male Mute swan  Photo © Michael Rumble

Young cormorant

 Young Cormorant drying its wings after a fishing trip underwater. Photo © Michael Rumble

Slime moulds

Many slime moulds on grass, branble and low bushes on Dog Kennel Hill 5th December 2018 Photos © Brian Ecott, Top right © Michael Rumble. This is the Porridge Slime moul aka Dog vomit slime mould Mucilago crustacea

Trichia decipiens var decipiens   Sporocarps 3mm tall 0,6-0.8mm diameter  16th December 2018  Photo © Raymond Small

Hemitrichia clavata Sporocarps yellow to ochrous. On sodden rotting oak timber 18th November 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott

By the 9th December  the Hemitrichia clavata was a mass of golden spores  Scan © Brian Ecott

Slime mould Arcyria stipata on fallen beech behind the café 24th November 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott, and above right after sporing showing spore mass and broken capsules. 3rd December 2018  Photo © Raymond Small

Slime mould Arcyria denudata on fallen beech. Scan © Brian Ecott  15th December 2018

Slime moulds are neither Fungi, Plants or Animals. They belong to the Myxomycete Kingdom. They are all over the forest particularly after wet weather. There is very little information about them on-line or in popular books. It can take hours to attempt to name them, but as one on-line correspondent points out they are beautiful, just enjoy them, like the white pearls above. 20th December 2018. © Brian Ecott



Sundown 1534hrs 14th November 2018.Hoghill, looking eastwards. Photo © Brian Ecott


Fungi have some form of relationship (symbiosis) with green plants in which the fungus, which lacks chlorophyll,  receives sugars from the plant in exchange for minerals and nutrients. The fungus is a network of threads (mycelium) which attach themselves to a plant's roots.

In order to reproduce, the fungus sends up a fruiting body which sheds spores to continue the lifecycle. Apart from the fruiting body, the fungus is just a web of mycelia in the soil or substrate.

I am pleased with the photo left which shows the relationship between Silver birch and Fly agaric Amanita muscaria which are several metres apart. Fly agaric with the white spots is often seen in children's books, but is toxic .and the spots wash off in rain as they are remnants of a veil which covers the developing fruiting body and a remnant is left as a ring on the stem (above).

Photo © Brian Ecott. Hoghill. 7th November 2018


On the 21st November 2018 on the path alongside the golf course, we found these strange looking fungi amongst the leaf litter, Rarely found in Hainault these are Dog stinkhorns Mutinus caninus. They develop  from "eggs".  Photo © Brian Ecott

The "egg" above right is about the size of a cherry. The "roots"" coming from the egg are the living fungus or mycelium which spread in the litter, collecting nutrients.. I have cut one egg in half and it shows an embryo inside. This will rapidly expand and produce the smelly grey spores which will be fed on by flies and distributed in the area
Fungus foray

Shaggy parasol Macrolepiota rhacodes is found throughout the woodland areas. It's cap can be up to 15 cms. It is not the largest fungus but compared to the fungus (right) it's pretty big. 14th Naovember 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott. By contrast here is a tiny gilled fungus on the stem of blackberry. The leaf parachute Marasmius epiphyllus cap span here is 4-6 mm. Scan © Brian Ecott

Smoky bracket Bjerkandera adjusta on fallen beech 

5th November 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott

Angels bonnets Mycena arcangeliana. Common on rotten branches,

14th November 2018  Photo © Raymond Small.   

Lumpy bracket Trametes gibbosa on cut Hornbeam stump 14th November 2018. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Common puffballs Lycoperdon perlatum (olders at front)  8th November 2018. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Michael Rumble took a close up of a Common puffball surface to reveal a pattern of nature. Photo © Mick Rumble 25th November 2018

Lilac bonnet Mycena pura cap up to 5 cms. in leaf litter

9th November 2018.  Photo © Brian Ecott.0911

Pleated inkcap Coprinus plicatilis  9th November 2018. Near the lake. A short lived grassland species - the fungus deliquesces (auto-digests)  leaving a black inky effect. (see left specimen in picture above.

Hairy curtain crust Stereum hirsutum, On stumps and twigs in woodland. All year 13th August 2018. Hainault Lodge. Local Nature Reserve. Photo © Brian Ecott. White milking bonnet Mycena galopus var candida  13th November 2018 in short grassland.  Photo © Brian Ecott

Turf mottlegill Panaeolus fimicola 15th November 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Yellow Knight Tricholoma equestre 15th November 2018

Photo © Brian Ecottt

Birch milkcap  Lactarius tabidus in deciduous especially with Birch. Along Olgits ditch. 8th November 2018. On cutting the gills with a knife blade it yields a milky substance - hence lactarius or milkcap.Note the fluffy mycelium at the base of the stipe,  8th November 2018 Photos © Brian Ecott.

 Trooping funnels Clitocybe geotropa in deciduous woodland. The stipe base is very broad in young developing specimens.

Photo © Claire Oliverio  23rd October 2018

Sulphur tuft  Hypholoma fasciculare. on base of rotting stumps. 3rd November 2018. Photo © Michael Rumble.

Stag's horn aka Candlesnuff Xylaria hypoxilon on rotting wood or tree stumps. 8th November 2018. Photo © Brian Ecott

Frothy porecrust Emmia latemarginata on fallen beech branch (lower picture close up). 5th November 2018 Hoghill, Photos © Brian Ecott

Flat oysterling Crepidotus applanatus  on decaying wood., 3rd November 2018  Photo © Michael Rumble

Yellowing knight Tricholoma scalpturatum  on grassland by the old changing room buildings. 19th November 2018 Photos © Brian Ecott and Raymond Small. 

Wood blewits Lepista nuda. In open woodland, Hoghill.. 24th November 2018.  Photo © Brian Ecott


Buzzard (light coloured) lacking black bar on tail. 9th November 2018  Photo © Michael Trump

Female Kestrel overseeing the grassland area.

17th November 2018.Photo © Brian Ecott.

Heron perched on lake island 22nd November 2018  Photo ©  Michael Trump

Black-headed gull flying. Winter plumage. 4th November 2018. Photo © Michael Trump.


Lichen, Cladonia furcata  in acid grassland. Harvey's field, Horse pasture.

22nd November 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott.

Photos (above and below) Lichen Cladonia chlorophaea  in acid grassland, Harvey's field, Horse pasture,.  22nd November 2018  © Brian Ecott.

NEW  Slime moulds

Slime mould Tricia decipiens. on rotting sodden oak bole Hoghill. 18th November 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott

Slime mould Arcyria stipata on fallen beech

24th November 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott

Slime mould Lepidoderma chailletii sporocarps on fallen beech 

27th November 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott  

Close up of the sporocarps of Lepidoderma chailletii showing one releasing brown spores  27th November 2018 Photo © Raymond Small 

A general view of the sporocarps of Lepidoderma chailletii.  Picture shows brown spore masses.  27th November 2018. Photo ©  Raymond Small.  

Raymond Small found this Plasmodium slime on an old oak stump near Peter's gate which we watched and photographed over several days in November 2018. It's colour and texture on the 9th suggested to Raymond the salmon-coloured Wolf's milk slime mould Lycogala terrestre. It began to disappear on the 11th and 12th and a couple of days later it had vanished. 

Photos © Brian Ecott and Raymond Small.

For another stage in its life history, see http://www.hainaultforest.co.uk/7Slime%20moulds.htm#Lycogala terrestre  Wolf's milk


Cinnamon bug Corizus hyoscyami on gorse.  21st November 2018. Photos © Brian Ecott

Gorse shieldbug 21st November 2018 © Brian Ecott

Woodlice under bark.19th Nov  2018  © Brian Ecott

Common shiny woodlice Oniscus asellus  22nd November 2018 Photos © Brian Ecott

Common rough woodlouse (above) and a group with a Bark beetle 22nd Nov. 2018 Photos © Brian Ecott

Beetle larva eating woodlouse.22 Nov'18 © Brian Ecott


 Various beetle larvae under bark 17 - 22 November 2018  Photos © Brian Ecott


White legged Millipede Tachypodoiulus niger

Flat backed millipede Polydesmus angustus under bark  24th November 2018. Photo © Brian Ecott.

 Blaniulus guttulatus, commonly known as the Spotted snake millipede was found under bark.  12th November 2018. Photo © Brian Ecott


Bark worm, possibly Dendrodrilus rubidus. 22nd November 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott

and finally......

I found this tiny slug under an old horse chestnut stump near the farm buildings on the 21st November 2018. I had difficulty naming it. I emailed the Essex Slugman who said we may have something interesting. I met the Essex slugman at the Essex Field Club Annual Social on the 1st December 2018.

I discussed the slug with the Recorder for Mollusca, Essex Field Club's, Simon Taylor who advised me to keep it for three months until it grows more. I've never kept a pet slug before. What name can I call it?      Answers please! brianecott30@tiscali.co.uk. I'll print those that are printable!

Watch this space!




Lest we forget

Armistice November 1918 - 2018.  Lest we forget.

Good quality air, sunshine, vitamin D, relaxation

Friends from Hainault and Romford meet up regularly to soak up the sunshine, take in good quality air and relax in the sunshine. Try it. 9th October 2018 

Photo © Brian Ecott

How about a row around the lake. 13th October 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Why not join a Segway event.  5th  October 2018  Photos © Brian Ecott

Autumn moods

Leaf fall on Hog Hill - Old Reservoir site.10th October 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott

Bramble leaves catch the morning sun at Woodhenge. 10th October 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott

 Tiny spiderling webs catch the morning dew. 10th October 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott

Early morning, Hoghill,   21st October 2018  Photo © Michael Trump

  NEW  Bugs

Tree Damsel Bug Himacerus apterus.  1st October 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott. With thanks to Tristan Bantock of britishbugs.org.uk for the identification

Small bug 4mm on oak bark Deraeocoris lutescens. A southern britain species found on oak. Photo © Brian Ecott  5th October 2018

Dock bug  Coreus marginatus (teneral form) on Water Poplar 5th October 2018. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Teneral = Adult, just emerged, soft bodied,  colours not fully developed. The term is used for bugs, damselflies and dragonflies.

Deraeocoris lutescens close up. See above.

 Dock bug (teneral) close up. See above

Mites and spiders

Red Velvet mite Trombidiidae, on nettle leaf. About 2mm in size. 3rd October 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Underside of tiny Cucumber spider Araniella sp. 4-6mm on web underneath oak leaf. 5th October 2018. Photo © Brian Ecott

Wasp spider

 WASP SPIDER Argiope bruennichi female  in its typical pose. 15mm.  4th October 2018. Photo © Raymond Small

This is a magnificent spider to find. I've seen it twice before. In October 2010 on Hog Hill (below left) and August 2005 in Latchford meadow (below right)

The web is large 30cm in diameter and a web strengthener and stabiliser is often present. Known as a STABILIMENTUM, It is  made of a zigzag band of silk, and shown in the two pictures below right.

 25 October 2010

 21 August 2005

  NEW Tree  False acacia  

Locust aka False acacia Robinia pseudoacacia growing amongst some tall scrub near Olgits stream. Deeply furrowed twisted bark.  Seed pods in bundles are dark brown and there is some suckering around the tree. There are a few in .Hainault Lodge Local Nature Reserve. View above are some of the remaining leaves in the canopy

27th October 2018. Photos © Brian Ecott

Thanks to Raymond Small for grid ref TQ 47232 93105

In the same area as the False acacia above,  leaves were forming a carpet on the ground which were the unmistakable leaves of the Wild Service tree Sorbus torminalis, an indicator tree of Ancient Woodlands. 27th October 2018. Photo © Raymond Small   Thanks to Raymond for Grid ref. TQ 47246 93073
Insects on Michaelmas daisies  


Peacock butterfly Inachis io 9th October 2018  Photo  © Brian Ecott

Blowfly Calliphoridae. 11th October 2018 

Photo © Brian Ecott.

 Hoverfly Eristalis horticola

5th October 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott

Footballer hoverfly  Helophilus pendulus

5th October 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott

Marmalade hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus

16th October 2018,    Photo © Brian Ecott

24-spot Ladybird

Tiny ladybird- the 24 spot Subcoccinella vigintiquattuorpunctata . Southern England species, hairy, 3-4mm. Red legs. 12th October 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott.
Plant galls

Laying horizontally behind the Ramshorn galls Andricus aries is a last year's specimen with the exit hole visible (arrowed). Also present is a rounded bud gall Andricus inflator  ♀♀ 4th October 2018. This was last recorded here on 27th August 2011. Photo © Brian Ecott

Swollen stem gall on bramble. Lasioptera rubi  A midge. Found along Pioneer path, Romford Road, Hoghill. Only passable by the intrepid explorers among us.

5th October 2018. Photo © Brian Ecott

Preparing for the New     Year - 1

Even before leaf-fall the wind pollinated trees are producing catkins which in the case of Hazel (left) will often be seen with pollen by Christmas. Pictured also are catkins of Silver birch (right) 9th October 2018. Photos © Brian Ecott 
Preparing for the New Year - 2

Common craneflies Tipula paludosa in cop.12th October 2018 on nettles. Eggs are laid in grassland area where the larvae feed on roots. In agricultural areas they can become pests eating crop roots. In the forest where they have been particularly numerous this year, the larvae or Leatherjackets are preyed on by flocks of starlings, and the adult flies food for many birds. The female (right) has a pointed end this is an ovipositor and NOT a stinger. The cranefly  is harmless even if it comes into your home during October. Photo © Brrian Ecott.
 Preparing for the New Year - 3



Pictured left are the eggs of the Buff-tip moth Phalera bucephala on an oak leaf. Some have hatched and the caterpillars will overwinter in the soil as pupae. The adult moth will be in flight May to July next year.

Main photograph © Raymond Small 8th October 2018

Insects on Ivy

  Hornet Vespa crabro 9th October 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott

Wasp Vespula sp. on ivy  13th October 2018.         Photo © Raymond Small.

Harlequin ladybird Harmonia axyridis var succinea  4th October 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Hoverfly Syrphus ribesi

4th October 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott

Three views of the Noon fly or Orange-winged fly Mesembrina meridiana on ivy 13th October 2018

Photos © Brian Ecott and Raymond Small.

Red admiral Vanessa atalanta  on ivy flowers 13th October 2018. Photo © Brian Ecott

Bird life

Magnificent Jay in flight carrying a sweet chestnut. 3rd October 2018  Photo © Radovan Zierik

Shoveler ducks flying in. 7th October 2018 Photo © Michael Trump

Shoveler pair 13th October 2018  Photo © Raymond Small

Great crested grebe 13th October 2018 Photo © Michael Trump

Blue tit amongst sloes. Photo © Radovan Zierik

 . Chiffchaff  3rd October Photo © Radovan Zierik

Black headed gull (winter plumage) 13th October 2018  Photo © Michael Trump 

Grey Heron - bath time  27th October 2018  Photo © Michael Rumble

October flowers

Sun spurge Euphorbia helioscopia amongst the gravel in the overflow car park. 11th October 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott

Pineapple weed Matricaria discoidea 10th October 2017  Photo © Brian Ecott. Anongst gravel, path edges, trampled ground and waste places. I am always saddened to see the flowers of Dwarf mallow Malva neglecta as for me it marks the end of the flowering year, and a three month wait for snowdrops and coltsfoot. Photo © Brian Ecott  11th October 2018.

Porcelain fungi Oudemansiella mucida on fallen beech on Hog Hill..11th October 2018. Photo © Brian Ecott

 Turkey tail Trametes versicolor. 27th October 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Large parasol fungus Parasola auricomus  Cap 5.5cm under fallen beech. (left) and underside (right)  Solitary. The stem tapers towards the top

Photos © 11th October 2018 Brian Ecott and Raymond Small.

  Bolete Leccinum aurantiacum  27th October 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Common puffballs Lycoperdon perlatum 29th October 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Stag's horn or Candlesnuff fungus Xylaria hypoxylon 29th October 2018         Photo © Brian Ecott

Witches butter Exidia glandulosa 29th October 2018. Photo © Brian Ecott

Cramp ball Daldinia concentrica on fallen Beech. More commonly found on Ash trees. Greyish colour not fully hard. Inset shows concentric rings on cut surface.  13th October 2018     Photos © Brian Ecott

Hare's ear Otidea onotica 27th October 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott

Shaggy Scalycap Pholiota squarrosa .27th October 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott

Parasol mushroom Macrolepiota procera 27th October 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott shows the large ring which slides on the stem

Large Fairy ring of Trooping funnels 27th October 2018  Photos © Raymond Small and Brian Ecott.

Trooping funnel Clitocybe geotropa 29th October 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Variable oysterling  Crepidotus variabilis on underside of twig. 29th October 2018. Photo © Brian Ecott

Buttercap  Collybia butyracea   27th October 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott. Note white woolly appearance of bottom of stem, Cap feels buttery.

Spectacular rustgill aka Big Jim Gymnopilus junonius 27th October 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott  Rooting on buried wood or roots.

and finally......

He is looking a little pained, confused and discombobulated!

Photo © Raymond Small  27th October 2018




Picture Gallery

Girl with a Ringlet

© Martin Bell

Skullcap - a Study in Blue

© Raymond Small

Green Parakeets mobbing a Buzzard

© Michael Trump

Heron and three turtles

© Michael Trump

Footballer hoverflies

© Brian Ecott

Bat walk

Pictured are Larchwood House and Buckthorne House,  two 11-storey tower blocks near Yellowpine Way, Hainault at sunset on the 14th September 2018 at 1912h. A group of us are off Bat watching and echo locating in Hainault Forest organised by the Redbridge Conservation Team and led by Huma Pearce, a licenced  Bat ecologist who has been commissioned to do a Bat survey for Hainault Forest.  London including Hainault Forest has 11 of 17 UK Bat species including a rare Barbastelle not found in London for 50 years, which  has been found in a barn at Hainault Forest.  Inset: Huma holds a Soprano Pipistrelle bat for all to see.  Photos © Brian Ecott
Carry on London

The City at 2050h 15th September 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott.

This month's flowers

Marsh Cudweed Gnaphalium uliginosum 5th September 2018 Cabin Hill path from the Common. Photo © Brian Ecott 

Scarlet pimpernel Anagallis arvensis arvensis.  Hainault Lodge  6th Sept. 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Bristly ox-tongue Picris echioides  9th September 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Fennel  Foeniculum vulgare  a casual. 10th September 2018 

Photo © Raymond Small

Autumn hawkbit Leontodon autumnalis  

12th September 2018. Photo © Brian Ecott

Redshank Polygonum persicaria 18th September 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Nodding Bur-marigold Bidens cernua  5th September 2018 at Sheepwater.

Photo © Brian Ecott

Purple-loosestrife Lythrum salicaria 6th September 2018. Pond in Hainault Lodge Photo © Brian Ecott.

Scentless mayweed Tripleurospermum inodorum  24th September 2014

Photo © Brian Ecott.

Michaelmas daisy 24th September 2018  Phoro © Brian Ecott

Black nightshade Solanum nigrum 26th September 2018On the golf course. Photo © Brian Ecott

Slug worms

I found this "slug" eating the upper layer of cells on a pear leaf in 2014.  It is neither slug nor worm but an insect larva covered in a thick slime.  .  Known as the Pear slug-worm, it is the larva of a Cherry sawfly Caliroa cerasi. On pear trees by the farm. 17th July 2014  Photo © Brian Ecott

A similar "slug" was found feeding on oak leaves this month.  It is the larva of the Oak slug sawfly Caliroa annulipes. Found on Cabin Hill.10th September 2018. Photo © Brian Ecott.
Box bug

The Box Bug Gonocerus acuteangulatus (above left) was discovered on Purging buckthorn in late July by Raymond Small.  Originally only located at Box Hill, Surrey on Box Trees. it has now spread in southern England and now found on Hawthorn, Blackthorn and Purging buckthorn. Photo © Brian Ecott  28th July 2018.  The story is now updated by the finding of a final instar (above right) which develops into a mature Box bug.

Photo © Brian Ecott on bramble leaf 13th September 2018.

  NEW   Birch catkin bug

This tiny bug 3-4mm was found on an elm sapling near the picnic area by the barns on the 24th September 2018. It is a Birch Catkin bug Kleidocerys resedae. There was a Silver Birch tree close by.  Photographs © Raymond Small and Brian Ecott

Rose sawfly larva on Robin's pincushion 12th September 2018 . Rough grassland, Lower Cabin Hill Photo © Brian Ecott

  NEW   Oak gall

The recently discovered Oak bark rose bud gall Andricus gemmeus 3-4mm was found by Raymond Small growing on the lower part of an oak sapling stem (Top). Subsequent searches revealed many galls growing on dormant bark buds on mature oak trees. (above) Photos © Brian Ecott 18th and 26th September 2018. This gall was originally found in the UK in 2008 at Colchester, Essex by Jerry Bowdrey,  East Anglian Recorder, for The British Plant Gall Society.
Oak leaf galls

Common spangle gall

Neuroterus quercusbaccarum.

Silk button spangle galls

Neuroterus numismalis

Smooth spangle galls Neuroterus albipes  - two colours.

Oyster gall under leaf on midrib,

Yellow and spotted forms.

Neuroterus anthracinus.

Cherry gall on underside of leaf.

Cynips quercusfolii

Tiny spindle shaped galls on underside of Turkey oak leaf Neuroterus saliens.

Hedgehog gall in leaf bud

Andricus lucidus

All photos above © Brian Ecott September 2018

Blotch mine on Hornbeam leaf

Four blotch mines on Hornbeam leaf. The second mine down (enlarged right) shows two tiny caterpillars (arrowed). The caterpillars  are mining just under the upper layer of the leaf and are the larvae of a micro-moth Phyllonorycter esperella. Scans © Brian Ecott.  11th September 2018
Mystery jelly

I first found this jelly mass on the tip of an oak leaf in the year 2000 in Whitewebbs Park, north of Enfield. After visiting the Natural History Museum in London, and consulting several entomologists, one had the answer - it was the egg mass of a Caddis Fly laid on a leaf above a stream. It appears that the mass develops after rainfall and the larvae will drop down into the stream below to complete their lifecycle.  2nd September 2000. Photo © Brian Ecott  Kodachrome 64.

This year several blobs were found along Seven Kings Water flowing from the Lake. Unfortunately with the dry hot summer there is no water in the stream as the Lake level has fallen dramatically and will take a very long time to regain normal levels for the outflow to flow again... 6th September 2018. Photos © Brian Ecott.

Raymond Small checked the blobs on the 22nd September 2018 after a couple of days light rain. 22nd September 2018.

Checked again on 30th September and there appears to be some fresh batches. Still no substantial rain and no water in the ditch.

Birds of a Feather

Feather found in Seven Kings Water - a dry ditch at present - leading from the lake. At 230mm. it is the 2nd or 3rd Tail feather (T2 or T3) of a Common Buzzard often seen circling over the forest in pairs or more during the year.  Scan © Brian Ecott. 8th September 2018.

Feather of Green woodpecker found on Cabin Hill. Primary feather 120mm. Yellow sheen on leading edge. Possibly a juvenile.

16th September 2018. Scan © Brian Ecott

Raymond photographed these three juvenile starlings. The one on the left appears slightly older. 15th September 2018. © Raymond Small

 Action picture of a Mallard showing wing feathers. 26th September 2018. Photograph © Michael Rumble

Young Kestrel 26th September 2018 Photo © Michael Rumble

Autumn Fruits

Black bryony Tamus communis  8th September 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott in lake mound.

Hops were originally carried through the forest with barley along a track called Maltman's Way to the east London Breweries in bygone times. The track now follows part of the Redbridge boundary through the forest.5th September 2018. Photo © Brian Ecott.

 Hornbeam nuts, a favourite of Hawfinches and other birds and small mammals. Hornbeam grow naturally in Southern Britain. 18th September 2018.

Photo © Brian Ecott.

Horse chestnut conkers was a game enjoyed by schoolboys in the 1940-50's  along with five-stones and cigarette cards. Two conkers in one case were known as cheesers as they had a flat side. Photo © Brian Ecott  20th September 2018.

Natural picture of a fallen Horse chestnut fruit  26th September 2018

Photo © Michael Rumble


Common darter male Sympetrum striolatum resting on bramble  7th September 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott. Darters hold their wings forward when resting

Migrant Hawker male Aeshna mixta resting on gorse. 10th September 2018  Photo ©  Raymond Small

Other insects

Harlequin ladybird Harmonia axyridis. One of many different colour and spot forms seen in the forest. 25th September 2018. Photo © Brian Ecott

Seven-spot ladybird Coccinella septempunctata on nettle 26th September 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Centipede Geophilus sp.under bark of a Plane tree. Also two tiny woodlice seen. 24th September 2018. Photo © Brian Ecott.

 Cranefly Tipula oleracea on oak bark. Emerges as an adult from grassland area. Very common at this time of year. Harmless. 24th September 2018

Photo © Brian Ecott

Nettle pouch galls  Dasineura urticae  A midge, Common in autumn in the forest. 26th September 2018.

Also present on the nettle leaf a Daddy long-legs Opilio sp.  Photo © Brian Ecott


I led an autumn walk on Saturday 29th September 2018 for the Redbridge Conservation Team, ably assisted by Raymond Small and we showed some of the group an area massed with Honey Fungus on Dog Kennel Hill. Edibility: Can cause stomach upsets, best avoided. Photo © Brian Ecott.

The Foresters Curse. Honey fungus Armillaria mellea.  Very common this year on hidden tree roots and bases of trees. 29th Sept. 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Sulphur tuft Hypholoma fasciculare  on a stump near Peter's Gate. 24th September 2018.  Photo © Brian Ecott

Oak pin fungus Cudoniella acicularis 5th September 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

and finally.....

ITMA or for those aged under 75 years It's That Man Again.

17th September 2018   (Thanks to Kite-man Courtney).

Photo © Raymond Small



Signs of Autumn

The 31st August is the last day of the meteorological summer and as autumn approaches trees and plants have no further use for chlorophyll, a green pigment used in photosynthesis - converting sunlight to sugars. As the daylight decreases  the chlorophyll starts breaking down into smaller components and other pigments present which were masked by the chlorophyll shows their colours. One pigment is carotenoid which provides orange or yellow, another is anthocyanin which shows through as red or purple. Scan of Bramble leaves which are one of the first to show these changes.  30th August 2018. © Brian Ecott.

Hainault Forest Country Park has once again been awarded the prestigious Green Flag for the year 2018/2019

Common wasp  Vespula vulgaris. Plentiful at this time of year, the workers seek sugary foods to maintain the colony and protect the Queen.

Photo © Raymond Small 23rd August 2018

 This Hornet decided to land on my sleeve and crawled up to my neck at which point I thought it would be wise to carefully remove it. No insect or naturalist was injured during the filming.. Photos © Raymond Small 24th August 2018

Harvestman Opilio castrinii on a Holly leaf. They are not spiders but related.  Photos © Brian Ecott 25th August 2018.

This small distinctive spider ( 6mm ) on bramble is a Sheet Web Spider Lyniphia triangularis Photos © Brian Ecott 18th August 2018

  NEW    Adonis ladybird  

The Adonis ladybird Hippodamia variegata is tiny (4-5mm)  and feeds on aphids.. Several sightings  this year have all been on Ragwort  Photo © Brian Ecott 9th August 2018

 The Adonis is slim and elongated in body

Photo © Brian Ecott

 The Adonis' spots are 3-15 av.7. Most spots are concentrated in the posterior half of the body.    Photo © Brian Ecott

 This shows the facial markings clearly.

Photo © Brian Ecott

 This one has tiny black spots. Photo © Brian Ecott
24-spot Ladybird

 The 24 spot ladybird was found on Hoghill on a Turkey oak 11th August 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Although tiny, this 24-spot ladybird has one of the longest names that I have come across, namely Subcoccinella vigintiquattuorpunctata.  

Photo © Brian Ecott

 The 24-spot  ladybird is hairy and is vegetarian. (Most ladybirds feed on aphids) The body,  head and legs are orange. It has a southern England distribution. Photo © Brian Ecott
Orange Ladybird

 The Orange ladybird Halyzia sedecimguttata usually has 16 white spots. The face, body and legs are orange  Found on oak on Hoghill. 12th August 2018. Photo © Brian Ecott

There is a transparent rim around the body which is seen in both pictures. 

Photo © Brian Ecott

Harlequin Ladybirds
Pair of Harlequin ladybirds Harmonia axyridis mating. The orange form can have 0-21 black spots f. succinea. Of two melanic forms this one is f. spectabilis,   These are now widespread in southern England midland and in Wales. They feed on aphids and other ladybird larvae. The name Harlequin refers to a form only found at present in Asia.  Photo © Raymond Small 13th August 2018

 NEW  10-spot Ladybird

Newly emerged Harlequin ladybird larva eating egg remains on oak leaf. 

30th August 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott

Chequered form of 10-spot ladybird Adalia decempunctata f. decempustulatus. Photo © Raymond Small. 12th August 2018 on oak leaf, feeds on aphids.
 NEW  Kidney spot Ladybird

This tiny rounded ladybird ( 4-5mm ) is a Kidney spot Chilocorus renipustulatus The first picture shows a rim around it reminding older folk of Laurel and Hardy bowler hats. Turned over the legs are black and the third picture shows the black head. Feeds on Scale insects (Coccids).23 August 2018 Photos © Brian Ecott
 NEW Barley sugar fungus





Raymond Small discovered this ascomycete fungus growing on  bark of a fallen beech tree on Dog Kennel Hill . Brittle and twisted it is known as Barley sugar fungus Libertella faginea.

Photos © Brian Ecott

26th August 2018

A rare fungus in the forest, the Silky Rosegill Volvariella bombycina clearly shows the silky top and the large brown and white volva. It was growing on a fallen oak with many knot holes. 25th August 2018.  Photo © Raymond Small Shaggy parasol Macrolepiota rhacodes in Harveys meadow. Cap 14 cms diam. Inset showing the ring on the stem. 28th August 2018. Photo © Brian Ecott

Oyster mushrooms Pleurotus ostreatus on fallen beech on Hog Hill  25th August 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott

True bugs

 Final instar and adult of the Green shieldbug Palomena prasina  on hedgerows and low tree branches. 3rd and 7th August 2018 Photos © Brian Ecott

 Pair of Forest shieldbugs Pentatoma rufipes on Hornbeam. 7th August 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

 Parent shieldbug Elasmucha grisea on birch leaf 15th August 2018

Photo © Brian Ecott

 The Parent shieldbug being measured. 8mm, 15th August 2018.

 Photo © Raymond Small

Parent bug instars huddle together for safety on a Birch leaf. The large bug in the middle top is a final instar before becoming an adult.

20th August 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Why Parent bug? Here's a picture that I took on the 6th August 2006 at The Wetlands Centre, Hammersmith, London. Showing a Parent bug guarding her young brood on a silver birch leaf.  She will guard her eggs and first instars from predation. Photo © Brian Ecott

 Hairy aka Sloe shieldbug Dolycoris baccarum on stem of spear thistles in the wild flower meadow. 13th August 2018. Photo © Brian Ecott

 Sexually immature late summer adult of the Gorse shieldbug Piezodorus lituratus.When they emerge in the following spring they will be yellow-green.  30th August '18. Photo © Brian Ecott

Hawthorn shieldbug Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale on birch leaf

Photo © Brian Ecott 25th August 2018

NEW  Birch shieldbug Elasmostethus interstictus on apple sp. Photo © Raymond Small 25th August 2018

 A Dock bug Coreus marginatus adult. These are otherwise known as Leather bugs or Squash bugs. This species has a broad abdomen, which is also seen in the two instars on the right. Their undeveloped wings can be seen. 18th August 2018 Photo © Raymond Small and 30th August 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

 NEW   Glasswing Bug

This bug was found on ragwort and was identified by reference to http://www.britishbugs.org.uk/ as Strictopleurus punctatonervosis and described on a German site as a Glasswing bug due to it's wings being transparent. A close up below shows the pronotum ( a trapezium shape) showing two eyebrow shapes near the top which helps identify it. Photo © Brian Ecott (left) and Photos © Raymond Small (right and close up.]

  NEW  Slime mould

 This new to Hainault slime mould Stemonitis fusca was found by Raymond on a decorticated fallen tree trunk on Dog Kennel Hill. It  completed this plasmodium stage of its life cycle and disappeared within 24 hours  14th August 2018  Photo © Raymond Small

Flowers of Tan slime mould Fuligo septica var. septica on Dog Kennel Hill. Photo © Brian Ecott


 New gall on Turkey oak is spreading. Thought to be  Aceria ilicis - causer a mite Found on Holm or Evergreen oak.11th August 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott

 Knopper galls Andricus quercusramuli ♀♀ on acorns 9th August 2018         Photo © Brian Ecott

 Ormyrus sp. a parasitic wasp on the knopper gall seen left. 12th August 2018 Photo © Raymond Small   

 Artichoke gall Andricus foecundatrix ♀♀ on oak 9th August 2018

Photo © Brian Ecott

 Ramshorn galls Andricus aries ♀♀ 12th August 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott

 Gooseberry gall Andricus grossulariae ♀♀ on oak 12th August 2018

Photo © Brian Ecott

 Robin's pincushion Diplolepis rosae - a gall wasp. 3rd August 2018

Photo © Brian Ecott

Pimples on oak leaf Troiza remota  - a jumping plant louse. Pictured right is the underside of the leaf showing the larvae in the cavity formed. 19th August 2018 Photos © Brian Ecott

 Spiral galls on the leaf stem of water poplar Pemphigus spyrothecae - a woolly aphid. 21st August 2018 Photos © Brian Ecott

Camellia gall on white willow. Leaves on the tip of stem are distorted.

22nd August 2018 Photos © Brian Ecott

Swollen stem gall Urophora cardui - a Tephrid fly on Creeping thistle

3rd August 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Cherry gall Cynips quercusfolii ♀♀ on oak leaf 25th August 2018

Photo © Brian Ecott

Bush crickets and Cone-heads

 Speckled Bush cricket Leptophyes punctatissima male.  The Bush crickets and Cone-heads have antennae 2-3 times their body length. Common in southern England. On scrub, hedges and trees. Pictured here on oak. 11th August 2018.  Photo © Brian Ecott

 Long-winged Cone-head Conocephalus discolor male on bramble. Wings extended beyond the body length.17th August 2018.Photo © Brian Ecott

 Long-winged Cone-head Conocephalus discolor female on bramble. Wings extended beyond the body length.17th August 2018.Photo © Brian Ecott

 Cone-heads above enlarged, antennae not shown. Male above, Female below showing brownish straight ovipositor Photos © Brian Ecott 17th August 2018

 Oak Bush cricket Meconema thalassinum female. Green cricket with yellow dorsal stripe. Found mainly on trees and shrubs. 3rd August 2018

Photo © Brian Ecott

Nationally scarce  Leaf miner on Grey poplar.

A caterpillar of a micro-moth is feeding on plant cells under the surface of a grey poplar leaf, creating a path or mine as it moves about. Pictured above right is a closer look at the mine showing white tissue where the caterpillar has fed by moving its head from side to side. The darker area between the white lines is poo or frass. The tiny moth which emerges from the mine is Phyllocristis xenia. Found by the Lake outfall. Reported as Nationally scarce.  22nd August 2018.

Photos © Brian Ecott


Common blue butterfly Polyommatus icarus Female 6th August 2018

Photo © Brian Ecott

 Holly blue butterfly Celastrina argiolus 3rd August 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

 Meadow brown butterfly Maniola jurtina 9th August 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

 Speckled wood butterfly Pararge aegeria 3rd August 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott
NEW Lime-speck Pug moth and caterpillar

Raymond  photographed this distinctive moth on ragwort (above left). We identified it as a Lime-speck Pug moth Eupithecia centaureata. 13th August 2018 Photo © Raymond Small.  While reading about the Lime-speck Pug moth we remembered photographing an unidentified red and white caterpillar (above right) last year on 6th October 2017 feeding on yarrow, which we now know to be the 2nd generation of the Lime-speck Pug. which would have overwintered as a pupa, last winter.  Photo © Brian Ecott

Autumn harvest

Autumn Harvest photos taken during August  © Brian Ecott. CAUTION Not all are suitable for humans to eat. Sloe fruits for jam making or used with gin above.

 Rose hip syrup rich in Vitamin C.

  Guelder rose berries

 Hawthorn haws - jellies and sweets

 Elderberries - wine or jam

 Buckthorn berries used as a purgative in times past

 Dogwood berries.

 Turkey oak acorns take two years to grow. Favourite of Jays and squirrels. Pigs foraged in olden days for them - a right of Pannage.

 Blackberry Fruit, Wine, B & apple pies, 

  Woody nightshade Poisonous

 Crab apple jelly and jam  See Nov 2015 for recipe

 Walnuts .for eating or pickling

Beech mast






Mallard ducklings -  a late brood. (above). 10th August 2018 These are doing well (left) at the end of the month. 30th August 2018

Photos © Brian Ecott

 Goldfinches on Teasel extracting seed. Youngster on the left.  14th August 2018 Photo © Raymond Small

Young moorhen amongst the lakeside vegetation. Photo © Michael Trump   25th August 2018

 Green woodpecker primary 8 feather. Note the yellowish  tint on the middle leading edge. Total length 128mm. Photo © Brian Ecott

August flowers

 Red bartsia Odentites verna ssp serotina. Appears to be declining. 10th August 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Common reed Phragmites australis Ted's field lake edge.  6th August 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Field bindweed Convolvulus arvensis Climbing a fence in  Harvey's field.

20th August 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Above is Mugwort Artemesia vulgaris, An aromatic plant that is found throughout the forest particularly in waste places. It can grow up to 1.2m. A close up of the flowers shows it to be related to the Compositae i.e. dandelions, daisies and thistles etc. Photo © Brian Ecott 10th August 2018.


While looking at Mugworts I came across one by the lake outfall that appeared different from the others and looked like Chinese Mugwort Artemesia verlotiorum. Enid Barrie, a Botanist from the Essex Field Club confirmed this by pointing out the tripartite leaves (three leaflets on each leaf) at the base of the plant (Arrowed and pictured right)

 Dwarf gorse Ulex minor and Ling Calluna vulgaris in Chigwell Row Recreation Ground Nature Reserve. Photo © Brian Ecott 26th August 2018

 Greater plantain Plantago major along path edges and waste places.

18th August 2018. Photo © Brian Ecott

 Common Knotgrass Polygonum aviculare Paths, pavements and waste places  Close up and flower inset (right)  19th August 2018. Photos © Brian Ecott

Swine cress Coronopus squamatus. Likes horse dung by the gate in Harvey's meadow 28th August 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Bird's-foot trefoil Lotus corniculatus with Common blue butterfly11th August 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott
and finally......

Courtney, who is an asset to the Country Park and a familiar face with his kite collection, has designed two new kites to publicise the forest wherever he goes. Courtney is a very approachable guy and will sort out your kite problems and show you how to set up a kite.  Basic kites are available at the Café. Kite crashes?, Kite won't fly? -  speak to Courtney.



JULY 2018

Lord Carrington dies at 99
Peter Carington, the 6th Baron Carrington, died on the 9th July 2018 age 99. He was a Soldier, Elder statesman, Diplomat, Member of Churchill and Heath governments, Foreign Secretary in the Thatcher government. A full obituary can be seen in most national newspapers.

Lord Carrington was the grand nephew of  the Hon. Earl Carrington, President of the Board of Agriculture who in 1906 declared Hainault Forest open to the public.  

Hainault Forest was lost in 1851 and turned into local farms. The same was to happen in Epping Forest until  Edward North Buxton and others  successfully fought in the courts to restore Epping Forest to the public under the care of The Corporation of London in 1878  which maintains it to this day.

Edward North Buxton set about raising money to purchase Foxburrows Farm, which had just come on the market, together with lands at Chigwell and Lambourne at a cost of £24,000. Many local authorities including Essex County Council, Ilford Urban District Council and The London County Council contributed and the forest was purchased in 1903 and dedicated to the public use in July 1906.

Opening of the forest: http://www.hainaultforest.co.uk/3Opening.htm

Forest Centenery: http://www.hainaultforest.co.uk/55Centenary_index.html

Peter Carington July 2006. Hainault Forest. Picture by  Anne Crabb


Crowds listen to the many speakers including Edward North Buxton (standing)  and including, Earl Carrington, Ewan Spicer Chairman LCC, , Andrew Johnston Chairman Essex County Council, Cllr. John Bodger Ilford UDC. at the Opening of the Forest, Lower Cabin Hill, Hainault July 1906

With thanks to the London Metropolitan Archives for the use of the photograph.


The two Grand descendents John Buxton and Peter Carington are joined by The Mayor and Mayoress of Redbridge,  Councillor and Mrs Ashok Kumar at the Centenery celebrations, July 2006 

Photo © Brian Ecott.

Gone fishing

Michael Trump captured this Great Crested Grebe that was having a difficult time handling a large Perch on the lake. Photos © Michael Trump  12th July 2018

More birds  

Juvenile Swallows perched on the lake edge awaiting insects gathered by the adults as they swoop over the lake catching emergent insects.

Photos © Raymond Small. 29th July 2018.

.Canada geese muscling in to get grain.  22nd July 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott

July's insect highlights

Six spot burnet moths Zygaena filipendulae on grass seed head, Hoghill, 8th July 2018. Photo © Michael Trump

Bishop's mitre shield bug Aelia acuminata in grassland. Photo © Raymond Small  23rd July 2018

Large hoverfly Volucella inanis on Ragwort. 18th July 2018  Photo © Raymond Small.  

  NEW . Box Bug Gonocerus acuteangulatus discovered on Purging buckthorn by Raymond Small.  Originally only located at Box Hill, Surrey on Box Trees it has now spread in southern England and now found on Hawthorn, Blackthorn and Purging buckthorn. Photo © Brian Ecott 28th July 2018.  With thanks to Dr. Tristan Bantock Bug specialist, for the identification.

   NEW The Jersey Tiger moth Euplagia quadripunctaria has expanded its range from the Channel Islands and this one was spotted by Raymond Small on a conifer hedge by the cemetery in Forest Road. He has since seen others on Ivy by Woolhampton Way. Photo © Raymond Small 18th July 2018.
This months flowers

 A large area of Wild Carrot Daucus carota flowering on the meadow by the main gate.13th July 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott.

Wild carrot inflorescence showing an unusually large number of red flowers at the centre. Also on the flower head is a CAPSID BUG Calocorus quadripunctatus. 11th July 2018. Photo © Brian Ecott

Teasel flower head Dipsacus fullonum 3rd July 2018.Photo © Brian Ecott. Originally known as Fuller's teasel it was used for carding wool in preparation for spinning. Teasel has been very common this year

Spear thistle Cirsium vulgare is very common this year. 11th July 2018

.Photo © Brian Ecott

Water mint  Mentha aquatica in Ted's field. 11th July 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott.

Common fleabane Pulicaria dysenterica by the lake. 22nd July 2018 

Photo © Brian Ecott

Stinging nettle Urtica dioica on Dog Kennel Hill. A food plant of many butterflies and other insects. 11th July 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Hemp-agrimony Eupatorium cannabinum in the reed bed near Reynard's inflow. Now all dried out due to two month dry spell.10th July 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Hemp-agrimony flowers (see above) 25th July 2018. Photo © Brian Ecott

The invasive Policeman's helmet aka Indian balsam is invading the reed beds by Reynard's ditch. 25th July 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Sea club rush Scirpus maritimus  in the reed bed and edge of lake. A coastal species, rarely found inland but like brackish water 25th July 2018

Photo © Brian Ecott

   NEW Greater Burdock Arctium lappa 29th July 2018. One single plant in an unmown grass edge near Reynard's ditch. Although looking for many years this is the first time I have seen this plant in Hainault although it occurs in locations close by. 29th July 2018   Photo © Brian Ecott

Lesser Burdock Arctium minus, common around the lake and elsewhere.

27th July 2018. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Gipsywort Lycopus europeaus, a plant of pond edges.

6th July 2018. Photo © Brian Ecott.. 

Plant galls

 BLACK POPLAR  Leaf fold gall.  Agent: Thecabius affinis  An aphid.  Photo © Brian Ecott. 4th July 2018

DOG ROSE Sputnik gall   Agent  Diplolepis nervosa   A Gall wasp. Scan © Brian Ecott Inset photo © Raymond Small  17th July 2018

DOG ROSE  Pea gall  Agent:  Diplolepis sp.  A Gall wasp. 17th July 2018     Photo ©  Raymond Small


WHITE WILLOW Camellia gall. Agent Rabdophaga rosaria  A midge  

Terminal leaves distorted to form a rosette. 27th July 2018 By the lake.

Photo © Brian Ecott

WHITE WILLOW leaves. Rounded pustules caused by a mite  Aculus tetanothrix  Scan © Brian Ecott  27th July 2018

CRACK WILLOW  Kidney bean gall  Agent:  Pontania proxima  A sawfly 

 29th July 2018  Scan © Brian Ecott

SALLOW Coalesced galls  Iteomyia major  a midge 29th July 2018

Scan © Brian Ecott

These small round pustules on Sallow are caused by the midge Iteomyia capreae. Upper and lower leaf surface shown.

Scan © Brian Ecott. 27th July 2018.

SALLOW Hairy pea gall  on underside of leaf with a small circular shiny patch on top of leaf. Agent: Eupontania pedunculi  A sawfly  :28th July 2018

Scan © Brian Ecott

Leaf mines
Pictured are two leaves of Smooth Sow thistle Sonchus oleraceus, found alongside the old barn buildings. They appear to be riddled with insect mines.

Indicated in red is a thick mine on the midrib of each leaf, and branched at the top like a jet of water.

This is caused by the larva of a small black fly Ophiomyia beckeri.

With thanks to Rob Edmunds for confirming the identification of this species.


Also on the leaves and indicated in blue are many thin serpentine (snake-like) mines covering much of the leaf. These were identified by Rob Edmunds as the larval mines of a very tiny  black fly Chromatomyia cf syngenensia.

Most plants carry mines of insects and micro-moths and a very interesting website can be found at



Insect life  

A Drinker moth Euthrix potatoria is disturbed amongst reeds in Ted's field. A nocturnal species, it has these splendid feathery antennae.11th July 2018,          Photo © Brian Ecott

Leaf hopper on thistle stem. 1st July 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott

Footballer hoverfly (striped shirt) Helophilus pendulus 11th July 2018  

Photo © Brian Ecott

Marmalade hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus 11th July 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Tiny, colourful, Cuckoo wasp Photo © Michael Rumble 30th June 2018.    Identity not possible from a photograph

 Black-tipped soldier beetle Rhagonycha fulva. A common beetle of flower heads, and seen here on wild carrot. 11th July 2018. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Purple hairstreak butterfly on oak leaf. 18th July 2018. Photo © Raymond Small  Purple hairstreak butterfly on oak leaf. 22nd July 2018. Photo © Brian Ecott

The Purple hairstreak Quercusia quercus is doing well this month and was seen many times especially in the canopy of oak trees.

Gatekeeper butterfly Pyrosia tithonia 11th July 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott The dark brown smudges on the forewings are scent glands and indicate a male.

Newly emerged Brimstone butterfly on Spear thistle 13th July 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Migrant, day flying moth Silver Y moth Autographa gamma 16th July 2018  Photos ©  Raymond Small

Larva of the Harlequin ladybird Harmonia axyridis on Grey poplar 29th July 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott Pupae of the Harlequin ladybird Harmonia axyridis on Grey poplar 29th July 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott

Remains of the pupal cases (see above). Photo © Brian Ecott

Harlequins hatched from their pupal cased (left) show the distinct W on their faces. They a variable in their spots, patterns and colours but the W is distinctive.  Photo © Brian Ecott
 The RAF Centenery Flypast over Hainault 10th July 2018

A few pictures of the event. For a full sequence see Raymond Small's RAF flypast at  http://www.hainaultforest.net/flypast-raf-100

Helicopters Juno and Jupiter Photo © Michael Trump

Lancaster, spitfires and hurricanes.  Photo © Michael Trump

Dakota  Photo © Michael Trump

Typhoons FGR44  Photo © Michael Trump

Red arrows   Photo and inset © Michael Trump



 JUNE 2018

Photographed 15th June. REMOVED  25th June by Tidy up Brigade


....the ability to think about the future

with imagination or wisdom.

[Oxford Dictionary and Thesaurus]


Pictured left is the wild carrot growing amongst the posts along the edge of Foxburrows Road. This and many plants featured in this and last month are not allowed to be untidy, and have to be removed, including  those of rarity status.

I am told by the upper echelons of Redbridge Vision that this is because the Redbridge Councillors like the area to  give a good impression to visitors!  I am told many times that it is "not what you want", but what others want. What I actually want is for the wildlife to be given due consideration and respect to complete their life cycles. Ecology is the study of an ecosystem and each plant and animal plays a part. Unfortunately there are people employed in Redbridge whose actions destroy our natural history heritage.


In the past two years there has been new wildlife examples being recorded in the forest area - two species of butterfly, One dragonfly (see below) seen the first time this year. Records of these species are sent to Wildlife Recorders and mapped on computers in Essex  A red bug seen in May has only been seen 24 times in the whole of Essex since 1990 and a species of fly occurs in only six places in Essex including Hainault Lake edge. I was the first person in the UK to record a species previously unknown in the UK. Here in Hainault!

Honeybees are having a bad time in this country and legislation is being introduced to help save them. They are very important to our future and our health. Has anyone seen honey bees over here - I have seen around five this month. Hainault Forest needs to recover after the 2012 Olympics. The car park and extended car park has been cut to less than 1" to remove white clover and trefoil and on the 1st July is a dust bowl.


Hainault Forest is now a designated Local Nature Reserve. Does anyone know or care what this means? 

Field madder - only known here REMOVED 25th June 2018

White campion  Silene alba Foxburrows roadside 12th June 2018 Only two plants here.  Photo © Brian Ecott  REMOVED 25th June

  NEW  Banded demoiselle

NEWCOMER The Banded Demoiselle photographed by Raymond Small © 17th June 2018 and seen on the Golf Course the same day by Michael Rumble. It is an unusual site for them as I always associate them with slow flowing rivers like the Rivers Roding and Lea.  If they are spreading their range we must be providing something for them..
 NEW  Large headed fly

NEWCOMER This odd shaped Large headed fly on a thistle head is Sicus ferrugineus. Thanks to Del Smith, Diptera Recorder of The Essex Field Club for the identification. Photo © Brian Ecott  20th June 2018
The two most common wild roses in the forest are to be seen in June. Starting with the Dog Rose Rosa canina  at the beginning of the month and the Field Rose Rosa arvensis following a couple of weeks later. Rosa arvensis easily identified by the female stigmas grouped together in the flowers centre.  © Brian Ecott.
In Memory of Dr. Jan Woodward  

We see many seat memorials in the forest, but while searching on Cabin Plain to photograph Ground elder (see below) we came across a group of Relatives and Friends around a seat dedicated to Dr Jan Woodward, described as a Bug Lady aged 70.

Dr Woodward was an expert on bugs belonging to the Auchenorrhyncha which include planthoppers, froghoppers, cicadas and leafhoppers. She found a species of leafhopper Elymana kozhevnikovi  in Scotland not previously found in the UK..

Elymana kozhevnikovi Zachvatkin (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae) in Britain: identification, distribution and habitat by Eyre, M D Woodward, J C,  2004) British Journal of Entomology and Natural History 17

Photos Brian Ecott and Raymond Small

Umbrella plants  

COW PARSLEY Anthriscus sylvestris

This is the first of the Umbrella plants to be seen in the spring in Hainault. It has an inflorescence that looks like the spines of an umbrella, radiating from one point on the stem. The tiny flowers give the plant the name Queen Anne's lace [See inset]. The flowers are first noticed along the hedgerows of  local roads and is well distributed in the Forest.  Photos ©.Brian Ecott.  2nd June 2018.


Grows in several areas of the lake outflow as part of the marshy border areas. A tall robust plant. A NEWCOMER - a moth caterpillar Depressaria daucella  is associated with the seed heads of the plant (pictured above) Very few records for this moth in Essex.. 7th June 2018. Photos © Brian Ecott


HEMLOCK Conium maculatum

A toxic plant growing to 2-3metres. Stem is blotched purple. Hedgerow along lake outflow. 9th June 2018 Main Photo © Raymond Small





Chaerophyllum temulentum

 Found along the hedgerow of Romford Road, near Latchford Place. The stems are rough and hairy and the stems are blotched purple.

Some of the lower leaves are bronzed. Other pictures show the developing seeds.

Photos © Brian Ecott

WILD CARROT Daucus carota

A beautiful plant - the umbels often have a small pink or purple flower in the centre as in the pictures above 19th June 2018

The developing umbel is a delicate pink colour with many green  bracts .showing beneath.

During seed development  the bracts curl upwards to show a "bird's nest".

"Bird's nest" 25th June 2018

Photo © Raymond Small 16th June 2018.



HOGWEED Heracleum sphondylium

A robust plant with undivided leaves and a strong hairy stem.

Photos 6 - 9th June 2018 © Brian Ecott




Picture © Raymond Small 19th June 2018

Picture © Brian Ecott 18th June 2018 Picture © Michael Rumble 19th June 2018



WILD PARSNIP Pastinaca sativa  

One plant found in the grassland behind the lake on Lower Cabin Hill.

One of a few yellow umbellifers. approx 80cms tall

Pictured right shows the umbel, its individual flowers and  the

the developing seeds.

 Photo © Brian Ecott  30th June 2018



GROUND-ELDER Aegopodium podagraria

Found on Foxburrows Farm and on Cabin Hill. It has a deep rootstock which makes it difficult to eradicate in gardens. Its elder shapes leaves were used to make a medicine for gout giving it an alternate name of Goutweed.

The leaves are said to be edible when boiled like spinach although a little stringy.

Photos © Brian Ecott


19th June 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

19th June 2018  Photo © Raymond Small

19th June 2018 Photo © Raymond Small

FOOLS WATER CRESS Apium nodiflorum  

Water cress is a Crucifer as opposed to Fools Water Cress which is an Umbellifer.

A small patch of this is growing in the mud of Sheepwater

WILD CELERY  Apium graveolens

One or two plants of Wild Celery grow near the Lake outfall in the brackish mud. Although it is a biennial it has survived here for many years.

Photos © Brian Ecott 23rd June 2018



Found growing between short grassland and paving in the Reservoir Estate, New North Road, Hainault.

It is a tiny prostrate umbelliferous plant. Photos © Brian Ecott  23rd June 2018


Insects and Spiders on Ox-eye daisies

A small green flower bug  Lygocoris pabulinus  13th June 2018

Teneral damselfly (i.e. one that has just hatched from nymph and has not developed colours to aid identification  9th June 2018.

Small heath butterfly Coenonympha pamphilus  11th June 2018


Early instar of Spotted bush cricket Leptophyes punctatissima

Note the long antennae. 15th June 2018

All photographs in the section  © Brian Ecott

Mining bee Adrena sp.2nd June 2018

Metallic green flower beetles Oedemera nobilis Males are also known as Thick thighed beetles. Above right is a female. 9th June 2018

Flower beetle pair Rhagonycha sp.  11th June 2018. Hoverfly Melanogaster hirtella female 9th June 2018

 Hoverfly Eristalis arbustorum female

 2nd June 2018

Hoverfly Sphaerophoria scripta

2nd June 2018

Hoverfly Eristalis pertinax

9th June 2018

Hoverfly Eristalis tenax (dark form)

male 2nd June 2018

Hoverfly Eristalis tenax (pale form)  female 2nd June 2018

Tephritid fly Terellia serratulae

9th June 2018

White death crab spider

Misumena vatia   2nd June 2018

Common Ground Crab Spider

Xysticus cristatus .2nd June 2018

Spider Neoscona adianta

12th June 2018

Cucumber spider  15th June 2018

Araniella cucurbitina

Walnut tree



A 3 year old Walnut tree grown by Bob Cable and donated to the Country Park  was planted behind the visitor centre near Harvey's meadow in 2009.




Now in 2018

pictured left,

 it has produced its

 first fruits.


The only known Walnut in the forest was near Sheepwater but was possibly removed during tree work at the turn of the 21st century.


Photos ©

Brian Ecott

Seasonal flowers

Yarrow or Milfoil [pink or white commonly found] Achillea millefolium 16th June 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Cat's ear Hypochaeris radicata on Hoghill 2nd June 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott


Honeysuckle Lonicera periclymenum  Roe's Well 6th June 2018

Photo © Brian Ecott

Smooth tare Vicia tetrasperma grows amongst grass stems in the meadow by the main gate. It is a small pea plant and has tendrils which it curls around stems to support itself. The main picture is about life-size and one inset shows enlarged pea flowers. Below the inset shows enlarged pods containing four seeds, hence its specific name tetrasperma. Scan © Brian Ecott 15th June.2018

Meadow vetchling Lathyrus pratensis 12th June 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Grass vetchling Lathyrus nissolia Meadow near entrance 13th June 2018

Scan and Photo inset © Brian Ecott


Foxglove Digitalis purpurea  Heathland 8th June 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott



Meadow Crane's bill Geranium pratense Hoghill 12th June 2018

Photo © Brian Ecott


Common Bird's-foot trefoil Lotus corniculatus 21st June 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott



Lesser stitchwort Stellaria graminea Hoghill 6th June 2018

Photo © Brian  Ecott

This rare little plant of the Pea family is Bird's-foot Ornithopus perpusillus. It is a prostrate plant growing in sandy patches on Cabin Hill on or near molehills. Flowering time was missed this year but the name Bird's-foot shows in the seed pods far right.

26th June 2018. Scan © Brian Ecott

Dove's foot Geranium molle  Meadow 8th June 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott

Rosebay willowherb  Chamerion angustifolium on Cabin Hill 26th June 2018 was in 1840 scarce and a garden plant. With the coming of the railways and the frequent fires, the seed was spread in the slip stream.  Moving on to the Blitz 1939-45 provided it with ideal habitats in London and big Cities where it got its other name of Fireweed.  Photo and inset © Brian Ecott

Heath bedstraw Galium saxatile 12th June 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Common Mallow Malva sylvestris 12th June 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Hedge woundwort Stachys sylvatica 13th June 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Musk mallow Malva moschata 21st June 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott


Common knapweed Centaurea nigra 15th June 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Fox and Cubs  Pilosella aurantiaca on the heathland

13th June 2018 Photo © Raymond Small

Greater willowherb aka Codlins and Cream Epilobium hirsutum

by the lake 23rd June 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Ivy-leaved toadflax Cymbalaria muralis 24th June 2018 is just about surviving. Used to grow on the fallen walls around Frank's Yard now a staff car park..

Photo © Brian Ecott

Heavy horses  

Martin and other staff members get tuition in handling heavy horses 6th June 2018. This is a Suffolk Punch heavy horse and they have provided cart rides around the forest. Watch for future events. Photos © Brian Ecott.
More insects and invertebrates  

Striped caterpillars of the Cinnabar moth Tyria jacobaeae on Common Ragwort 25th June 2018 This is a UK BAP Priority species. Photo © Brian Ecott

Hoverfly Eupeodes sp. male 9th June 2018 on marsh thistle. Photo © Brian Ecott

This unusual fly resting on a Rush inflorescence is a member of the Ptychopteridae - the Phantom Craneflies  Ptychoptera contaminata 17th June 2018 on the Golf Course Photo © Michael Rumble. With thanks to Del Smith, Recorder of Diptera (Flies) for The Essex Field Club for the identification.


 Midsummer chafer or Solstice bug  Amphimallon solstitiale 20mm. Appears around the time of the summer solstice having spent 3-4 years underground as a grub.   25th June 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Harlequin ladybird Harmonia axyridis 13th June 2018 Identified by the W on the head. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Yellow black longhorn beetle Strangalia maculata  13th June 2018

 Photo © Brian Ecott

Red-tipped flower beetle Malachius bipustulatus 21st  June 2018 

Photo © Brian Ecott

Batman hoverfly Myathropa florae 13th June 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Pair of Common blue butterflies Polyommatus icarus 2nd June 2018

Photo © Brian Ecott

Small copper butterfly Lycaena phlaeas 1st June 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott

Large skipper butterflies on creeping thistle and blackthorn. The male above left has black oblique scent marks on the wings. The female above lacks these. Photos © Brian Ecott 10th June 2018

Yellow shell moth Camptogramma bilineata common in grassland 9th June 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

A tiny Mint moth Pyrausta purpuralis on water mint. 2nd June 2018

Photo © Brian Ecott

Two snails found at the Retreat Estate meadow 19th June 2018 The Garden snail Helix aspera and the Banded snail Cepaea nemoralis. Photo © Raymond Small.

Common toad at the open air screening of GREASE 2nd June 2018 

Photo © Martin Bell

Blue-tailed damselfly male,  Ischnura elegans 18th June 2018  [inset showing colourful Pterostigma on wing tips.] Photo © Michael Rumble


Yorkshire fog Holcus lanatus  15th June 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott Wall barley Hordeum muralis 15th June 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Meadow barley Hordeum secalinum 15th June 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott
and Finally - what a disgrace


MAY 2018

 NEW  Red and Black Bug

Red and Black bug Corizus hyoscyami. Only 23 records since 1990 in Essex. Photo © Michael Rumble 23rd May 2018.

 NEW  Purging buckthorn

Newly found in Hawthorn hedgerow from café, Purging buckthorn Rhamnus cathartica small tree flowering, 24th May 2018  Scan © Brian Ecott

Purging buckthorn flowers. Photos © Brian Ecott

Fungal gall on Purging buckthorn Puccinia coronata  27th May 2018

Hainault after dark 
For a Badger video taken at night in the forest  (2 minutes)  click here


Herb Robert Geranium robertianum  27th May 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott

Cut-leaved cranesbill Geranium dissectum 25th May 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Common storksbill Erodium cicutarium 25th May 2018  Photo and scan © Brian Ecott

Red headed Cardinal beetle Pyrochroa serraticornis.on nettle Photo © Brian Ecott  18th May 2018 Hoghill path.

Black headed Cardinal beetle Pyrochroa coccinea on nettle 15th May 2018

Photo © Raymond Small. Hoghill path.

Red tipped flower beetle  Malachius bipustulatus on May blossom. Photo © Brian Ecott 22nd May 2018

Lily beetle Lilioceris lilii 6-8 mms. 23rd May 2018 Photos © Michael Rumble

14 spot ladybird Propylea 14-punctata. pair On oak leaf. The spots or rectangles often join up to show an anchor. The male on the right clearly shows this.  . Photo © Michael Rumble  4th May 2018

Longhorn beetle Anaglyptus mysticus  23rd May 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott Wasp beetle Clytus arietis  27th May 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott
Nests and nestlings

Robin's nest in Plantation. Robins normally nest low down but here it is on the ground. Photo © Martin Bell  26th May 2018

Left to right: Male and female Greater Spotted woodpeckers feeding chick at nest hole in standing birch tree, Hoghill. Photos © Michael Trump.. 25th May 2018

Crèche of Canada geese goslings differing ages, being looked after by two aunties by the lakeside. Photo © Brian Ecott 28th May 2018..


Nail galls > 8mm on lime leaf  Eriophyes tiliae -  a mite 23rd May 2018              Photo © Brian Ecott

 Pock galls on Hawthorn leaf Eriophyes crataegi - a mite 8th May 2018      Photo © Raymond Small.

Sawfly larvae

Common sawfly larva on oak leaf  Apethymus filiformis 17 May 2018.

Photo © Brian Ecott.

Oak Sawfly larva Periclista lineolata said to be a pest of oak trees..

 Photo © Michael Rumble. 17th May 2018.

More Minibeasts

The Maiden's blush moth Cyclophora punctaria  Forewing 14mm 20th May 2018 on nettles Photo © Brian Ecott

Footballer hoverfly Helophilus pendulus 23rd May 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

White death spider Misumena vatia Female. has caught a footballer hoverfly.  The head of the White death spiders above right has 8 eyes including two on top of the head. 18th May 2018  Photos © Michael Rumble.

Cucumber spider  Araniella cucurbitina gathering up unsuspecting flies on May blossom. 23rd May 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott


Scorpion fly Panorpa sp. male. The male's tail is turned up like a scorpions. On nettle, harmless

Ant on Cow parsley  Photo  ©  Raymond Small 

CAPSID BUG Striped oak bug Calocoris quadripunctatus on oak leaves, 13th May 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

CAPSID BUG Dryophilocoris flavoquadrimaculatus   13th May 2018

Photo © Brian Ecott

Hairy shield bug aka Sloe bug Dolycoris baccarum Photo © Brian Ecott

Cuckoo bee probably Bombus vestalis Photo © Raymond Small

 Squash bug Coreus marginatus on Dock leaf 9th May 2018 Photo © Michael Rumble

Caterpillar of the Lackey moth Malacosoma neustria  Photo © Michael Rumble   Photo © Michael Rumble

Mottled umber moth caterpillar Erannis defoliaria  on hawthorn

13th May 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott

Yellow tail moth caterpillar Euproctis similis on may blossom.

20th May 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott

 Holly blue butterfly Celastrina argiolus. There are two generations a year. This is the spring generation and the open wing shows it to be a female.

17th May 2018 Photos © Colin Carron

Orange tip  Anthocharis cardamines Male on Lady's smock flower - one of the food plants 2nd May 2018  Photos © Raymond Small.

Speckled wood on bramble  Parage aegeria Photo Colin Carron  17th May 2018

Longhorn moth  Nemophora degéerella. Males swarm on still days around shrubs. Photo © Brian Ecott 23rd May 2018

Speckled Bush-cricket (nymph)  Leptophyes punctatissima on nettle leaf  Photo © Brian Ecott 23rd May 2018


Choke  Epichloë typhina  a fungus of short grass stems on Hoghill  26th May 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott.

Caca de luna (Moon's Poo)

This was found on the woodchip piles by the Headland Path. The conservation team has arranged for some of the indigenous trees to be thinned out and chipped for future use. Raymond Small's sister Elaine Wiltshire spotted a strange sight on a woodpile which lead to an extensive Slime mould being discovered covering many of the wood piles Slimy plasmodium of Fuligo septica the colour of peanut butter pictured here. This creeping slime mould which can appear worldwide was named Caca de Luna or Moon's Poo by the South Americans as it suddenly appears overnight and creeps very slowly in amoeboid fashion and changing its form over a few days. Pictures © Brian Ecott 18th May 2018

 View of the aethalium of Fuligo septica. Note the porous, "bread-like" texture and the deep red liquefied areas

Close-up view of the aethalium of Fuligo septica above. Note the porous, "bread-like" texture and the deep red liquefied areas Mature aethalium of Fuligo septica with crusty, powdery surface resembling cement. Just below the surface are masses of spores resembling fine brown dust.

The crusty, powdery surface of this aethalium has been gently scraped away to reveal a spore mass resembling fine brown dust Slime mould are not plants, animals or fungi and have their own Kingdom Myxomycetes.

Seasonal flowers

Bee orchid Ophrys apifera 29th May 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Common spotted orchid Dactylorhiza fuchsii  Lost for several years as a tree fell on it. 29th May 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Ragged Robin Lychnis flos-cuculi 29th May 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

White deadnettle  Lamium album 29th May 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Red campion Silene dioica 29th May 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Yellow rattle Rhinanthus minor  29th May 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Male fern unfurling Dryopteris filix-mas 27th May 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Dogwood flowers Cornus sanguinea 29th May 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Guelder rose Viburnum opulus 22nd May 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Field madder Sherardia arvensis grassland near kerb edges. 28th May 2018

 Photo © Brian Ecott

Bluebells Hyacinthoides non-scripta 4th May 2018 Photo © Raymond Small
and finally - The Pure Gatherers

Ilford North Scout group  now in their 70 year.

Their badge above shows shows the monogram of a letter K with a crown which represents Barking North in which Barkingside once stood in the medieval Hainault Forest. Behind the monogram shows a representation of a cattle skin which were sent to Barkingside to the Tannery which prepared the leather. Tanners Lane stands near the site today.


Part of the preparation of the leather process was tannin which was obtained from oak bark and we know that in 1851 many oaks.  were cut down and their bark removed. Another process used in the curing of leather was the use of Dog Poo or PURE. This littered the pavements and roads in the 1830's to 1930's and old ladies and young girls earned money for their families by gathering it in bucket loads and selling it to tanneries. Top prices were paid for white dog poo which was drier  and contained bones which were eaten by dogs even within my memory. As urine was also used in the industry piss pots were placed on street corners as collection points.      Photo © Brian Ecott 13th May 2018



APRIL 2018

  NEW  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 


MARCH 2018

New Life

The Farm has acquired seven lambs. Come and see them during the Easter holidays.  Photo © Brian Ecott 15th March 2018

On Hoghill an acorn has split and is sending out a root to become an oak tree for the future. Photo © Brian Ecott 15th March 2018

Early flowers

Red deadnettle Lamium purpureum is found flowering somewhere in the forest all year like its close relative the White deadnettle L. album. The deadnettles are square stemmed and their leaves do not sting although the stinging nettles and deadnettles often occur together. 24th March 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Coltsfoot Tussilago farfara pushes its heads up through the hard clay on the edges of the lake. The leaves follow after flowering and are literally shapes like a colt's foot.  23rd March 2018. Photo © Brian Ecott

Ivy-leaved speedwell Veronica hederifolia lucorum. Path rear of Woolhampton Way. 26th March 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Barren strawberry Potentilla sterilis. Roes Well. 26th March 2018,

Photo © Brian Ecott.

Thistle stem gall fly

I photographed this female thistle gallfly Urophora carduii on the spacebar of my computer on the 9th March 2018. It is a small fly with patterned wings which lays its eggs in stems of thistles to produce the swollen stem which I featured in the July 2017 Diary. How did the fly get there, how did it know that I would feed it on sugar for two days and was an amateur Cecidologist (for word-buffs) and would release it in the forest.
 First butterflies seen for 2018

Brimstone, 14th March Hainault Lodge

Nature Reserve

Peacock 26th March 2018 Coppice area

Comma 26th March 2018 [All library pictures].

Myxomycete (Slime mould) Metatrichia floriformis

On the 12th March 2018 Raymond Small photographed a mass of black "eggs" which looked to me like caviar. On closer examination they appeared to be stalked. I had seen Slime moulds before and thought that this what they were and checked with Bruce Ing's book  Myxomycetes of Britain and Ireland. and identified it as a common species of rotting wood in woodlands. Fearing that it might spore we went back the following day to find that many of the globes had split and produced spore-like masses. Photos © Raymond Small and Brian Ecott. 13th March 2018.

 Footprints in the snow

During the snowy period Raymond Small photographed

animal and bird footprints left in the snow.


                                                                                                        Pictured left is a footprint which shows four toes and a back pad.

Could this be a cat, dog or fox?

The print is showing four claws.

Not a cat, but could be a dog or fox,

Drawing a line connecting the back of the outer pads confirms a fox

Dogs have a large back pad which sits partially between the outer pads

Photo © Raymond Small 2nd March 2018


This animal is travelling from right to left. The left forepaw moves to position 1 and the right forepaw moves to position 2 and both hind paws go to position 3. This is a rabbit.  As a rabbit hops the forepaws move together then it hops with the hind feet. In the picture above the forepaws are placed separate which shows that the rabbit was running. Photo © Raymond Small 2nd March 2018


Pictured above is an old gnarled Hornbeam pollard that has fallen recently. It is approx 3.5 metres in height (yellow line) and is several centuries old.  It is shallow rooting, and its massive branches above are too heavy  to withstand windy weather. These are the trees  that earlier in the old millennium were pollarded and the timber used to make charcoal before the industrial revolution. Charcoal burners lived in the forest and were known as Colliers - hence Collier Row.

To maintain these old pollards in the forest they need to be repollarded. There have been various suggesting how this can be done as it is a shock to the tree. A large area was last pollarded in 1990 and few survived. A better result was found in Chigwell Row Recreation Ground. Why maintain these old pollards? Being part of an ancient woodland these old pollards support a variety of flora and fauna that would be lost without them. At the present time The Woodland Trust are carrying out repollarding to hornbeam trees on Cabin Hill. See picture left.  Photo © Brian Ecott 13th March 2018

An old pollard on Taylor's Plain 1915. The branches were cut regularly every 25 years at the crown to maintain a health tree and to provide timber.

Pebbles in Hainault



Michael Rumble found this large pebble in a copse on the golf course. Broken in half it showed red and white jagged edges.


Dr T. at the Natural History Museum wrote:" I suggest it is a flint  pebble that has been subjected to heat - by man or a forest fire? It was either transported by glaciers or rivers draining the Chalk area to the NW.  Flint pebbles are widespread due to extensive river systems south of the southern glaciation limit. Great colour! "

Photo © Brian Ecott  20th March 2016.


A lady at the Essex Gem and Mineral Society exhibition in February 2018 suggested that it could have been used in a cooking pot to heat food by colliers or forest dwellers in times past.

White Vein quartz pebble approx 9cms across originating from ancient rocks in Wales. Found in the Claygate bed - a sandy deposit revealed by a fallen beech on Dog kennel hill. Dates from 600 million years ago and got deposited here by the ancestral River Thames. I broke part of the surface away to reveal translucent crystals of quartz. Photos © Brian Ecott


Loads of Rounded flint pebbles are found on the surface of Hoghill (Claygate beds), Dog Kennel and Cabin Hill (Bagshot beds). These got worn down by crashing about in ancient seas and rolled around by prehistoric rivers. The Thames and Medway flowed out to sea near Clacton about 1 million years ago. Some pebbles opened to show black flint. Photo © Brian Ecott

Flint "Pot lid" pebbles found under the roots of the fallen hornbeam tree (see above) on Cabin Hill. The soil here is known as Bagshot beds. Water has got into cracks and during periods of intense cold during the last ice age 450,000 years ago the ice expands within the stone and a "lid" breaks off leaving a rounded surface. The ice sheet spread down to South Essex,  and carrying large boulders like the one opposite in Havering Park Farm, and leaving a sandy deposit forming our Heathland and over the road to Chigwell Rec.

Photo ©. Brian Ecott


An Erratic boulder or Sarsen stone under an English oak. It measures 1.45m in length can be seen at Havering Park Farm It is composed of silica cemented sandstone and is very hard and possibly the most southerly of erratics transported by the last glaciation.  December 2006  Photo © Brian Ecott


Flint nodule which formed in burrows made by sea creatures between 65 and 100 million years ago. A piece of flint has broken on the lower right of this picture showing a typical conchoidal fracture of flint. Photo © Brian Ecott

Liverwort Metzgeria furcata

Forked veilwort Metzgeria furcata on old ash. The yellow-green patches contrast with other green colours on trunks. Most common Liverwort this year.    12th.March 2018. Photo © Brian Ecott.
On and around the Lake

Magnificent pictures of a male (top) and female Shoveler ducks 13th March 2018, Photos © Michael Trump. During the winter months there were a dozen or more pairs. At the moment an occasional pair may be seen.

Great Crested Grebe 13th March 2018. Photo © Michael Trump

Male Tufted duck - several pairs on the lake this month. 23rd March 2018. Photo © Brian Ecott

Black headed gull on ice 5th March 2018. Photo © Brian Ecott

 Swan and juvenile 6th March 2018. Photo © Brian Ecott

Egyptian geese. The one on the left is a juvenile. 13th March 2018. Photo © Brian Ecott

Ground beetles and others

Violet ground Beetle Carabus nemoralis  Approx 35mm. 8th March 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Ground beetle Cychrus sp. under a log and into the palm of my hand.   20mm.  20th March 2018. On Cabin Hill  Photo © Brian Ecott

Another beetle in my hand  This is the larva of a Devil's Coach-horse Ocypus olens. They have 3 pairs of legs like all insects, but not shown in this picture. Under bark. Instar three before pupation. 25mm.  26th March 2018 Photo © Raymond Small.

These four tiny, strange looking, creatures alongside a woodlouse, were found and photographed by Raymond Small under the peeling bark of a Plane tree opposite Foxburrows Cottages. After an intensive search I sent them to the Natural History Museum and quickly came the answer from "Triops" Looks like a Bruchid weevil possibly B. rufimanus, though why with a Plane I have no idea, except that the peeling bark is a good place for hibernation. And, of course, these are not pupae but fully formed beetle adults!The woodlouse is 12mm for comparison. 18th March 2018.

First this year - a Seven spot spot ladybird 22nd March 2018  Photo © Raymond Small

Centipedes and Millipedes

Blunt tailed snake millipede  Cylindroiulus punctatus. Up to 25mm long. 13th March 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott





Common Cryptops Cryptops hortensis 20 - 30 mm

Found under rocks, stones and woodpiles.

Common in the forest. 13th March 2018.

Photo © Raymond Small

Slugs and snails

Snail/slug eggs under log, The lowest one appears to be hatching 

18th March 2018  Photo ©. Brian Ecott

Brown-lipped Banded snail Cepaea nemoralis  10th March 2018

Photo © Brian Ecott

Slug Limacus maculatus under log  14th March 2018   Photo © Brian Ecott.

Ants and Bees

Ants and masses of eggs within a rotten log on Hog hill. The ants are docile and show no attempt at attack. Peter Harvey, Hymenopterist, Recorder of The Essex Field Club reports "Basically it is quite impossible to reliably identify almost any ant from photographs, and even under a microscope it can be difficult, relying on hair lengths and arrangement, subtle differences in structure of thorax, petiole, post petiole, abdomen etc etc. However, it is probable that your ants are The Brown Ant Lasius brunneus  workers, there is nothing that looks like a queen visible in your photos.  Photo © Brian Ecott 9th March 2018.


Captain Fearless reports " I picked up this Buff-tailed bumblebee Queen on the 20th March 2018 in the grassland. It was happy to see me and tried to give me a 'High Five'"

It was carrying some mites around its neck which is common in hibernating bees. The may carry a disease fatal to bees but generally the mites like to be transported. Mites will attach themselves to Craneflies for the same purpose.

Photos Raymond Small


Fungus Marasmius alliaceus 10th March 2018. Found growing under an old rotting log on Hog HillPhoto © Brian Ecott

Tiny fungus Lachnum brevipilosum growing under a rotten log. Found and photographed by © Raymond Small. Identified by Brian Ecott.

Peter Comber writes "I've not seen it before; its new to me.  I Googled it and the photo is spot on".

elly-ear fungus Auricularia auricula-judae on old stem of elderberry. Hog Hill. 17th March 2018. Photo © Brian Ecott

Martin captured this picture from the newly coppiced area. It shows an old stump with Turkey tail brackets. I tried to tidy the area but moving the bramble made the picture less interesting. I wanted to see underneath the brackets - see inset. 15th March 2018 Photo © Martin Bell.
And finally - Long lost litter in the forest


A horrible red syrupy medicine was dispensed in these bottles in the doctors surgery in 1940-1950's when you has a chesty cough.

Photo © Brian Ecott


Above the thick glass bottle stood at six  inches (15 cms) tall.

Photo © Raymond Small.

Half pint milk bottle with wide mouth which I remember during WW2 war years. Foil caps were not available at this time and a cardboard insert was used similar to the one right. Photo © Raymond Small


 Picture shows part of the feint etching on the bottle. The full inscription is as follows:

Cowslip Farm Dairy





Shrewsbury Road E7

Photo © Brian Ecott






This strange appearance of a Cormorant on the lake island puzzled some of us. It is in fact a male in full courtship and mating condition. Cormorants breed mid-March and now appear to have left the lake to a breeding location. A great photograph. © Michael Trump 15th February 2018

A pair of Green Woodpeckers in the long grassland at the back of the lake. Female on the right. There were several pairs in the area and the pairs appeared to be performing a ritual - possibly courtship. One of several pictures © Raymond Small.  21st February 2018

A pair of Egyptian Green which have been seen regularly around the lake and on the island. Photographed on a frosty morning © Michael Trump

21st February 2018

The Black-headed gulls around the lake are gradually changing to their summer plumage. Photos © Brian Ecott 20th February 2018

Time for a bathe and a wash in the shallows at the end of the lake. Canada geese. Photo © Brian Ecott 4th February 2018

Ring-necked parakeets

I've always wanted to photograph Green Ring-necked parakeets in Hainault. They are spreading in areas of Southern England. I had seen them at Roe's Well, but Raymond Small spotted a large flock along Retreat Path, alongside Woolhampton Way. We watched a female with its head inside a hole in an oak tree looking for a possible nesting site. Photo © Brian Ecott  21st February 2018..

Bracket fungus Chondostereum purpureum on sawn willow at end of Foxburrows Road.  Photo © Brian Ecott


Chewing gum lichen Lecanora muralis Kerb edge, Foxburrows Road. 

 8th February 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott.  Close ups below

Lichen Cladonia fimbriata growing on a rotting log at Roes Well.

8th February 2018. Edited picture © Raymond Small

The golf-tee fruiting bodies are on stalks 10-15mm.

Edge Centre  

Ragged mealy lichen Ramalina farinacea Hawthorn scrub.

7th February 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott

Tufted bush lichen Ramalina fastigiata in Hawthorn scrub

7th February 2018. Photo © Brian Ecott,

Lichen Flavoparmelia caperata on small branch of Hawthorn. The bark and the lichen are dusted with an orange coloured green algae Trentepohlia abietina which is commonly found in the hawthorn scrub. 1st February 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott.

Common feather moss Eurhynchium praelongum on fallen branches and stumps 4th February 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Springy turf feather moss Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus,. Large areas on Hog hill slopes. 4th February 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott

Grey cushion moss Grimmia pulvinata on farm wall. 22nd February 2018.  Photo © Brian Ecott

Wall screw moss Tortula muralis on farm wall.  22nd February 2018.  Photo © Brian Ecott


Liverwort Frullania dilatata growing on several trunks of Ash trees growing on the old Reservoir site, Hog Hill. With thanks to Dr. Kenneth Adams,  Recorder of Flowering Plants and Bryophytes, Essex Field Club for his help in  the procedures necessary to determine the identity. 18th February 2018. © Brian Ecott.

1. Patch of liverwort approx 5 cm across on Ash tree,  2. Close up of upper part of liverwort. 3. Close up Scan of underside, lateral leaves rounded

First flowering

Snowdrops Galanthus nivalis finally opened on the 18th February 2018 on Hog hill. Photo © Brian Ecott

Trees in Winter

Water poplar by the Lake outflow February 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott                   Common oak on grassland, Retreat Path.  21st February 2018.© Brian Ecott
Found under bark

In a space under some rotting oak bark were a flock of Common shiny woodlice sharing their space with a slug Arion sp. 18th February 2018. By comparison in the bottom left-hand corner is a tiny woodlouse featured below. Photo © Brian Ecott

This is the tiny Pygmy woodlouse Trichoniscus pusillus approx 5mm

18th February 2018. Photo © Raymond Small,


The Pygmy woodlouse is one of the famous five:

1.Common striped woodlouse Philoscia muscorum

2. Common rough woodlouse Porcellio scaber

3. Common pill woodlouse Armadillidium vulgare

4. Common shiny woodlouse Oniscus asellus

5. Pygmy woodlouse Trichoniscus pusillus

Also under this oak bark was a tiny snail approx 5mm which appeared to have hairs on its shell in the photograph. A look at books and Google came up with a Hairy snail, Trichia sp.. The photo was sent to Simon Taylor Recorder of Molluscs, Essex Field Club,  who replied " certainly one of the Trichia species (the genus is now generally given as Trochulus). The one which normally retains dense hairs is T. plebeia but without a good view of the umbilicus on the underside it is difficult to be definitive. "

Thanks Simon.

18th February 2018. Photo ©  Brian Ecott


The hoof print is asymmetrical and the length is 3 cms which confirms that this is a Muntjac deer slot. The back right foot is placed almost on the right fore. This is known as a register. Reservoir site, Hog hill.  18th February 2018.

 Photo © Brian Ecott.

Hornbeam seed under log opened by a mouse or vole.

21st February 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott


Ivy berries ripen overwinter providing food for the early immigrants such as Blackcap and Chiff-chaff. 20th February 2018. Photo © Brian Ecott

Winter moods

Towards Hog hill from the lake.  26th February 2018  Photo © Raymond Small. (I send my apprentice out in inclement weather!)

Black and white view except for the dark green evergreen Holm oak (right)  28th February 2018  Edited picture © Michael Trump

"Please, Sir, I want some more."

BUT NOT BREAD. At £1 per kilo or less, bird food is cheaper than a loaf and has the proper nutrients for us geese and ducks.

Also available from the Boatman. Photo © Raymond Small. February 26th 2018

and finally.........where is this pond?

Glass negative of Lambourne End  1902. Raymond Small produced this positive image. But where is it? Note the fencing - is it a cattle pond? Note the cottage behind the trees with the odd window.



The Wolf Moon

The Wolf moon was captured by Raymond Small on the 1st January 2018 over Hainault Forest.

Moonlight picture of a cormorant and two greylags on lake. January 31st 2018 2330h. Photo © Michael Trump

It was a dark and stormy night....   Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Poet (1803-1873)

High winds  brought down this magnificent Beech, possible the largest on Hog Hill. Raymond Small measured it to be 22m tall and it had  a girth of 2.86m  

Photo © Brian Ecott  3rd January 2018

The shallow rooting which measured 3.5m high showed a sandy base. The whole of the grassland and playing areas in the Country Park is London Clay which was laid down under deep seas which covered the area. As the seas became shallow a final deposit of clay was deposited which was sandier and referred to as the Claygate Member or Claygate Bed. It consisted of a fine sandy soil which capped areas such as Hog Hill and Dog Kennel Hill. Where this Beech has fallen it has exposed this layer.  See Forest Topography page

Collective nouns

A small RAFT of Shoveller ducks male and female watched by two Black-headed gulls are feeding on the lake. 29th December 2017 Photo © Michael Rumble Usually at Hainault the Shovellers feed in pairs shovelling up planrt debris and invertebrates - back-swimmers and snails. They are a winter visitor here.

A FLOCK, a SHOP or a GATHERING of Rough Woodlice under bark 20th January 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

The Ugly Duckling  Hans Christian Andersen (1805–1875).

There once was an ugly duckling with feathers all stubby and brown, and the other birds said in so many words," Get out of town."

Get out, get out, get out of town. And he went with a quack and a waddle and a quack in a flurry of eiderdown.

That poor little ugly duckling went wandering far and near but at every place they said to his face "Now get out, get out, get out of here."

And he went with a quack and a waddle and a quack and a very unhappy tear.

Mute swan. January 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Under bark spider

This female spider  Nuctenea umbratica - body length 14mm lives under bark or in crevices. It has a flat abdomen and it tucks its legs under the body which is how I found it.   Pushing it at the back encouraged it to attempt to walk as in this picture. 29th January 2018. Photo © Brian Ecott

European gorse

The European gorse Ulex europaeus  looks at its best in January at the back of the Horse Field.  Photo © Brian Ecott  29th January 2018

This honey bee thought so too, filling its pollen sacs. It was a sunny day and Raymond Small grabbed this great photo.


Lichen Lepraria incana on old birch tree. .It is a powdery lichen, the commonest lichen in Eastern England. Photo © Brian Ecott   23rd January 2018

Tiny lichen on a willow tree in the old farm pond complex. Above and left is Physcia tenella showing a lone fruiting body, not commonly seen on this species.

27th January 2018

Photos © Brian Ecott.


Raymond Small sent me a photograph of a mass of lichens on an old willow trunk which stands on the site of Foxburrow Farm pond by the second car park. I have enlarged and named them on the left of the picture. 24th January 2018

Lecidella elaeochroma

Lecanora chlarotera.

Physcia tenella  

Xanthoria  parietina

Xanthoria parietina with fruiting bodies

Fungus Illosporiopsis christiansenii


Robin 17th January 2018  Photo © Michael Rumble.   Magpie  2nd January 2018, Photo © Brian Ecott.  Ted's Field.

Polypody fern

 The lone Western Polypody Polypodium interjectum continues to grow well, although no sign of other plants in the area.

25th January 2018.  Photo © Brian Ecott

Winter fungi

Witches butter Exidia glandulosa on Beech  23rd January 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott

Velvet shank Flammulina velutipes on dead willow on the site of  Foxburrows Farm pond.  27th January 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott

Willow bracket Phelllinus igniarius on base of old willow  on site of the former Foxburrows Farm pond  28th January 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott

Jelly ear fungus Auricularia auricula-judae on dead elderberry stem. 28th January 2018  Hog Hill. Photo © Brian Ecott

Once in a Blue moon

Mick Trump captured this image of the Super moon or Blue moon. 31st January 2018 2330h.

and finally.......  Colds and Flu in the 1940's

My childhood memories of colds and flu in the forties and fifties was horrible red medicines for colds and chest problems and the smell of eucalyptus oil or Vick on my pillow or vest. The first chemist in New North Road Hainault was Wathens (8 Station Parade) followed by Mr Hooker (208 New North Road) same place but renumbered. Dr Gilchrist was the doctor at 2 Fencepiece Road while Dr A. Findlay was away on War Service.