Basildon Natural History Society
Recent Sightings

If you've seen anything of interest recently then please send us a message about it using our Recent Sightings form.



From: Marion Waters

Location: Basildon

Date: 27th April

Description of what you've seen: Did a double take as was not expecting to see such a big bird on our shed roof so near to the town



From: Colin Humphrey

Location: Garden Pond Langdon Hills

Date: 5th March 2017

The first frog spawn was laid last night.


From: Colin Humphrey

Location: Garden pond in Langdon Hills

Date: 4th March 2017

Pair of common frogs in amplexus by the side of my pond.  The frogs have been gathering in and around my pond since the 16th February, there have been up to 16 at one time. On some of the milder evenings a few of the frogs could be heard croaking.  In past years spawning has started during the first week of March.



From: Colin Humphrey

Location: Garden Pond Langdon Hills

Date: 17th August 2016

A peacock butterfly that appears to be drinking the sticky sap residue that had been excreted by the aphids that are feeding on the waterlily leaf.


From: Colin Humphrey

Location: Garden pond Langdon Hills

Date of sighting: 2nd May 2016

The Large red damselfly is one of the first species of damselflies to take to the wing in the spring. During today's sunny spell three of these fragile little creatures climbed out from the pond, shed their old skin and emerged as adults.

Emerging from its larval skin


 Resting and drying its wings



From: Jane Hale

Item: Snakes-head-fritillary
Location: Willow Park.
Date of sighting: 3 April 2016
Time of sighting: 14:35



From: Peter Furze

Location: Mark's Hill Wood
Date of sighting: 10:23am - 17 March 2016
Description of what you've seen: Great tit with unusually long beak



Name: Peter Furze
Location: Mark's Hill Wood
Date of sighting: 18th January 2016
Description of what you've seen: Yellow brain fungus



From: Luzia Barclay

Location: Vange Hall Pond on Basildon Golf Course

Date: 19th June 2015

Honey bees drinking from the pond. The bees are clinging to the vertical surface of some old brickwork that came from the farm buildings that once stood nearby.


From: Luzia Barclay

Location: Hadleigh Castle

Date: 11th June 2015

Flowering milkthistle (Silybum marianum) growing just below Hadleigh Castle. Plenty of research shows that its seeds are an effective liver remedy. It strengthens a weak liver and it helps to regenerate damaged liver cells.

Flowering milkthistle (Silybum marianum) - Photo Luzia Barclay

 Flowering milkthistle (Silybum marianum) Photo Luzia Barclay


From: Peter Furze
Location: Marks Hill Nature Reserve
Date: Wednesday 4th march 2015

Red elf-cap fungus.

From: Colin Humphrey
Location: Langdon Hills
Date: Wednesday 4th March 2015

A male blackcap has been a regular visitor to the garden since the beginning of February; it's most often seen feeding on the ground picking up the sunflower seed hearts that have been discarded by goldfinches and greenfinches that feed on the tube feeder above, however on two occasions I have seen it feeding directly from the feeder. In previous years we have had visits from a female blackcap as well but no sign so far this year.



From: Colin Humphrey
Location: Pump Road Pond Langdon Hills
Date: 26th December 2014

Orange Peel Fungus.  This is a relatively common fungus that is often found growing on recently disturbed soil; it takes its name from its resemblance to discarded orange peel.  This particular specimen was found growing on the muddy edge of a pond that had recently undergone some restoration work that involved re-profiling the pond margin.


From: Colin Humphrey

Location: Langdon Hills

Date: Saturday 10th August 2014

Southern hawker dragonfly laying eggs under the decomposing logs that surround the small bog garden by our pond.


From: Zoe Allen

Location: Basildon:

Date: Monday 28th July 2014

Oak eggar moth laying eggs on the windowsill of my upstairs toilet. The eggs were collected together for rearing or releasing into a suitable habitat.


From: Colin Humphrey

Location: Langdon Hills

Date: Thursday 24th July 2014

An extremely large and very noisy horsefly (Tabanid sp) trapped between the window and curtain in our lounge. I know that these little beasts can bite so I handled it with due respect. Photographed on a piece of Stachys byzantina leaf (Lambs ear plant). This is ideal for slowing down the movement of insects and spiders when photographing them, the hooks on their feet get caught on the hairs on the leaf.


From: Colin Humphrey

Location: Langdon Hills

Date: Monday 23rd July 2014

Three larvae of the leaf cutter bee found after being ejected from their brood cells in our 'insect hotel' The larvae appeared to be healthy and had no signs of injury, I would be very interested to hear any suggestions as to why this untimely eviction took place.

 Leaf cutter beee larvae stranded below the bamboo brood cells.


A leaf cutter bee returns to a brood cell with a section of leaf.


From: Zoe Allen
Location: basildon
Date of sighting: 13 July 2014

We have got a really old honey suckle plant in our garden with a dilapidated nest box in the back of it. We have been in our house for ten years now and it's never been used. Until, in June sometime, we saw a wren showing interest. It was using the moss from next door's extension roof to make the nest. We hadn't seen her for a while, the, she appeared and was back and forth to the nest with 'a beak full of goodies' obviously for her babies. I was so fortunate to be able to get really quit e close to see the young. I saw at least three young. They fledged when we weren't around, typical. But, our nest door neighbour has seen mummy and babies around which is lovely to know.

 If you look carefully you can see the beak of one of the baby wrens in the entrance to the bird box.


From: K.C Humphrey & P.D Humphrey

Location: Fryerns Basildon

Date: Wednesday 25th June 2014

A pair of mating privet hawk moths found on a concrete fence post in a garden near the Jolly Friar pub.

Privet hawk moths mating.

Close-up of one of the moths


 From: Colin Humphrey

Location: Langdon Hills

Date: Wednesday 11th June 2014

False widow spider (Steatoda noblis) found in its web in our garden arbour.  During the past couple of years there have been some rather unfortunate headline grabbing incidents that have made claims against so called 'false widow spiders'. Rather than being based on fact they are often based on hearsay, therefore I have added a link to the British Arachnological Society Website, where you will find a more scientific account of the situation.  Click here for BAS


From Luzia Barclay
Location: Mill Meadows, Billericay
Date of sighting: 7 June 2014
Time of sighting: 11:30
I have never ever seen so many orchids growing in one place. Beautiful wild flower walk on 7th June 2014


From Luzia Barclay

Male broad-bodied libellula
Location: garden pond in Kingswood
Date of sighting: 7 June 2014
Time of sighting: 11:00

Dragonfly circled around garden pond and settled upon a reed


From: Colin Humphrey

Location: Langdon Hills

Date:Thursday 5th June 2014

Female great spotted woodpecker feeding an immature bird on our rose arch (wisteria arch to be precise).


From: Colin Humphrey

Location: Langdon Hills

Date: 1st June 2014

Azure Damseflies laying eggs in our garden pond. They fly in tandem with the male clasping the female behind her head with the pair of clasping appendages on the end of his abdomen.  In this manner they skim across the water, stopping to allow the female to push the tip of her abdomen through the surface tension of the water, there she will lay eggs, usually on submerged vegetation. Whilst paired together, they are often 'buzzed' by other males who are competing for the female, this often results in a blur of flashing electric blue light over the surface of the pond.  We have been fortunate enough to have had both the blue and green variations of the female azure damselfly.


From: Colin Humphrey

Location: Langdon Hills

Date: 5th May 2014

Large Red Damselflies laying eggs in our garden pond.


From Colin Humphrey

Location: Johnson Meadow One Tree Hill Country Park

Date: 30th April 2014

 Hairy dragonfly (Brachytron pratense) in Johnson Meadow.


Female Redpoll and Goldfinch on garden feeder. (Photograph taken28th March 2014)


From Colin Humphrey

Location: Garden Langdon Hill

Date: 2nd - 27th March 2014

Two Redpolls along with two Siskins seen feeding on sunflower seed hearts also drinking from the bird-bath.  The Siskins were only seen on the 2nd March, however the Redpolls (up to five at one time) have been in the garden every day until 29th March.


Location: garden Lee Chapel North
Date of sighting: 19 January 2014
Time of sighting: 10:00

From Marion Waters

So excited. Just had a pair of greater spotted woodpecker on the pole fat feeder made by Colin. When we bought it, Colin said woodpeckers like them. We said that we only have a small garden and they never visit (hence the heading to this item). To say that this sighting has made my day is an understatement!!

Great Spotted Woodpecker on a similar feeder in the editor's garden.

17th November 2013

From Marion Waters

Pair of dunnock on bird feeders. Do not know if this was a first for our garden, or if we are becoming more observant!


24th October 2013

Two Red Admirals in perfect condition feeding on a Buddleia weyeriana bush in my Billericay garden.

From Ken Williamson

Editor: Buddleia weyeriana will stay in flower throughout the autumn and often into early winter if the weather is mild enough, thus providing an important source of food for the bees and butterflies that take advantage of those last precious days of sunshine.

The picture below was taken in early August 2013, and despite the strong winds of 25th October it is still covered in bright orange blossom.


17th October 2013

Parrot Waxcap fungi (Hygrocybe psittacina)  On the east side of the mown grass bank in Nethermayne Basildon.

Colin Humphrey



21st August 2013

Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum) Garden in Langdon Hills   Male holding female with its claspers before laying eggs in my wildlife pond.


21st July 2013

Elephant Hawkmoth in Fryerns Basildon, the moth had been attracted by the light in the toilet and had gained access through the open window.

From Zoe Allen


16th July 2013 10.00am

Silver Washed Fritillary in the coppiced area Northlands Wood Langdon Hills, also White Admiral.

Photograph courtesy of B.Crowley


4th July 2013

Poplar Hawkmoth in Fryerns Basildon, the moth had been attracted by the light in the toilet and had gained access through the open window.

From Zoe Allen


30th June 2013

Sparrowhawk on roof of house in Botelers Lee Chapel South.

From Emma Neppl


11th April 2013

Whitethoat in garden Lee Chapel North.

10th April 2013

Four Yellowmammers in the hedgerow

Tractor service road to the left at One Tree Hill bridge (approx grid ref TQ 698 856)

The Yellowhammer population is currently in decline and has been given RED status by the RSPB (click here for further details on the RSPB status)


February - April 2013: Garden in Emanuel Road Langdon Hills

A flock of up to 40 Siskins regularly feeding in the company of Chaffinches, Greenfinches and Goldfinfinches on seed feeders in two gardens.  All four species have been seen in good numbers from 16th February to early April.

Male Siskin and Goldfinch on seed-feeder in Langdon Hills


11th February 2013 Waxwings spotted in Langdon Hills

Waxwings are one of the most striking and beautiful winter visitors to be seen in the UK, on Monday 11th February a flock of around 70 to 80 birds visited a garden in Langdon Hills, they gathered in the top of a Robina tree close to the WI hall in Samuel Road.  After a brief rest they continued their way northwards in search of food.


Week ending 16th December:

Redpolls on bird-feeder, garden in Bell Hill

Six Bewick's Swans at Vange Marsh

Recent Sightings form

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