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EFC Centre at Wat Tyler Country ParkOur centre is available for visits on a pre-booked basis on Wednesdays between 10am - 4pm. The Club’s activities and displays are also usually open to the public on the first Saturday of the month 11am - 4pm.

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This forum has now been more or less replaced by the Club's Facebook page at
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The weblog below is for naturalists to use to report interesting sightings, ask questions, report on field meetings and generally post pictures and any information or questions generally relevant in some way to the wildlife and geology of Essex. You will need to register and be logged-on to post to the forum, and you need to upload pictures first, for use in posts. Find out more

Thu 27th August 2009 08:06 by Ben Sale
Hedingham Riverside Walk Steering Group
We're looking for an enthusiastic and knowledgeable person to come along to our 'Bat and Bug Day' event in North Essex on Saturday September 5th to talk to members of the general public. Would you be interested in inspiring people to share your interest in entomology? Anyone who has more than our groups basic knowledge, willing to spend an hour with us between 11 and 4, would be valuable to us.

I've contacted most of the local organisations who might be able to help us with no luck so far. Can you help us? Regards, Alexander Martin on behalf of Hedingham Riverside Walk Steering Group

contact if you can help out at this sort notice.


Sun 16th August 2009 07:40 by Ben Sale
Thanks for the info Peter!

Back to Moths, had a Scarce Bordered Straw last night in my Garden, very surprised!

Sat 15th August 2009 07:33 by Peter Harvey
Thanks for GR. Only females of horseflies such as Chrysops relictus bite - so you might be safe. Their biting parts are so sharp that you probably wouldn't feel it anyway!
Fri 14th August 2009 20:14 by Ben Sale
Yes the Grid refrence is TL546166

I've also had a Twin-lobed Deerfly - Chrysops relictus chase me around outside whilst washing the car, I assume they are biting flies that have a taste for blood!

Fri 14th August 2009 06:45 by Peter Harvey
Ledra aurita
This planthopper is not often seen and there are few records in Essex. Have you got a grid reference?

It is usually associated with oak, or lichen-covered trees, and the nymphs especially have excellent camouflage (see link).

I myself have only ever found this on 3 occasions.

Fri 14th August 2009 06:33 by Ben Sale
Ledra aurita
I don't usually take much interest in Leafhopper's but this one caught my attention, is this a good record for Essex?

Tue 11th August 2009 18:43 by Peter Harvey
The highest point in Essex?
According to Wikipedia the highest point of the County of Essex is Chrishall Common near the village of Langley, close to the Hertfordshire border, which reaches 482 feet (147 m). This is just west of High Wood. How reliable this is I'm not sure, but certainly not the Danbury Ridge or Langdon Hills, which don't come close to the heights in the northwest of the county.

Try link and GR TL424367 or TL443362

Tue 11th August 2009 17:42 by Mary Smith
The highest point in Essex?
Where is it, please?  Some say High Wood near Arkesden, near Saffron Walden, others say the top of the Danbury Ridge, and others say in the Langdon hills.  OS maps do not seem to give accurate spot heights in the gently undulating hills of Essex, so who really knows??
Mon 10th August 2009 17:06 by Mary Smith
answer to bee orchid query
Sorry I did not see this piece earlier about finding bee orchids.  They are wonderful exotic-looking plants, but actually they are now quite common, increasing in the whole of UK, especially in the more northern areas where they have been scarce. In the area I am familiar with, eastern part of LB Havering and western areas of Thurrock especially, I could take you to at least 6 places where bee orchids would be found in June, some places having over 100 plants. These orchids are abundant in the Mediterranean area, so it is not surprising that global warming is allowing them to thrive in UK.

It is hard to conserve them, since each plant does not last long, mostly dying after their first flowering. But the sort of places that you find them most are slightly disturbed areas of rather poor soil (sand or chalk especially), such as by footpaths or in lightly trampled areas, or where the sward is very thin, as the bee orchids cannot compete against the big perennial grasses. But an area grazed by horses often has small bare patches where a hoof has made a dent or hole in the vegetation, and if the grazing pattern you use is continued the bee orchids may well appear for years, but mostly in slightly different places each year.

More interesting than the normal flowers are the frequent mutations that occur. This is because in Britain every flower pollinates itself, as the pollinators (a kind of bee in the Genus Eucera) are very rare in UK, but common in the Med area. Even in the Med area, bee orchids often self-pollinate if a Eucera bee is too late arriving at the plant. The self-pollination means that many mutations occur as there is insufficient variety in the genetic stock so damaged genes often combine and cause a novel plant.  Recently a plant was found in my area with no 'bee' at all, but 3 pink sepals, as usual, and another set of identical pink petals, so it looked more like a small lily with 6 simlar 'petals'. Because bee orchids are getting more common, we would expect the number with mutations to increase too, so keep your eyes peeled!



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