February Red Admiral

5th March 2019:

Saw a Red Admiral butterfly in my garden on 15th February 2019 this year, feeding on Winter Flowering Honeysuckle in my garden.

Also 3 different large Queen bumblebees on the winter honeysuckle, winter flowering Heather and early crocuses. Hearing Tawny owls at the moment, at night.

Sarah Palmer

Broad-bodied Chaser

Here are some photos (not too good as taken on my phone) taken in my garden in New Cut yesterday (12-05-2018).
I believe it to be a Broad-bodied Libellula dragonfly having just emerged from its nymph case. Probably from our garden pond.
Keith Balkham
Thanks Keith, yes a Broad-bodied Chaser Libellula depressa. Nice to find one recently emerged and in the process of expanding and drying its wings.

Wildflowers – to pick or not to pick?

Some wise words from the wild plant conservation charity ‘Plantlife’….

“There is a prevalent sense that picking flowers is a bad thing.  Many of us are unsure what’s OK and what’s not and so err on the safe side.  Plantlife’s new code of conduct shows us that wild flowers don’t have to be out of bounds – and out of our lives.  We are very used to picking some species (daisies, dandelions and wild garlic) but there are other wild flowers that are commonplace and even increasing in number.

Rachel de Thame is keen to add, ‘What we know and love we are more likely to conserve. It’s about children starting a relationship with wild flowers. It’s in a child’s instinct to collect, but today that means collecting stickers, toys or those must-have gadgets. Yet it wasn’t so long ago that children were just as keen to collect wild flowers, whether it was to take a posy home, press them, or make petal perfume, they were part of children’s everyday life. We need to ensure that this next generation is just as engaged and passionate so they will understand why wild flowers need to be cherished and protected for not only the beauty they bring to our lives but for their vital role as life support to all our wildlife.’”  Hear hear!

Plantlife’s “Code of Conduct” for picking wildflowers

“Eight things to remember when picking any of twelve wildflowers marked with the “Twelve to Pick” icon” (on 3 beautiful identification charts downloadable here) which are Dandelion, Daisy, Yarrow, Ox-eye Daisy, Cow Parsley, Buttercups, Meadowsweet, Common Knapweed, Common Dog Violet, Greater Stitchwort, Primrose, Red Campion. See also Mark Avery’s blog with photos of the 12 pickables here

  1. Make sure you’re not trespassing on any private land.
  2. Never pick flowers from nature reserves or any other protected sites (such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest) without prior permission from the landowner.
  3. Only pick from large patches of abundant flowers, leaving plenty of flowers for others to enjoy, to set seed, and to provide other wildlife with pollen, nectar, seed or shelter.
  4. Follow the one-in-twenty rule, picking one flower out of every twenty you find. You should never diminish the display.
  5. Only pick a small handful of flowers for personal use, you must never pick for commercial gain.
  6. Don’t trample other flowers or vegetation.
  7. Never uproot any plant unless you have the landowner’s permission, and be aware that some plants (listed on Schedule 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act) cannot be picked without a licence
  8. If in doubt, don’t pick. If you don’t know the identity of a plant, leave it where it is. Take a photograph instead and try and identify it at home first.

Plantlife is running the Great British Wildflower Hunt which, with its helpful ID tips, can give anyone the confidence to identify flowers. It will also provide Plantlife with much needed information about how well they are doing (also on first of the two links above).

Happy hunting now that spring has well and truly arrived!


Fieldfares and Redwings move into gardens

Yesterday on facebook people from all parts of the country were posting photos of Fieldfares and Redwings coming into their garden seeking food! And our area was no exception.

This lovely set of photos was taken by Don Frost yesterday from his Three Oaks window feeding on Cherry Crab Apple (or Cherry-crab) berries, along with a Song Thrush and a fuzzy Wood Pigeon in the background. If they are in Three Oaks they are probably in Westfield too!








This Cherry-crab tree has a story behind it because some 30 years ago I went to see Waxwings whilst visiting relatives in Ipswich, and they were feeding on these same berries on a tree I couldn’t identify at the time. So I saved a few and grew them from seed in the hope that one day I could attract Waxwings to my own garden! In the event I raised two young trees in pots and gave one to friends Don and Rosie to add to their tree collection, especially as their garden’s a lot bigger than mine! I transferred mine to a large tub.

Now 30 years on mine is still only about 7 ft tall and has never flowered let alone produced berries! Theirs on the other hand quickly grew into a 20 foot plus tree that has berries most years, but only ever attracted the likes of Blackbird and Song Thrush – til now! Waxwings one day maybe!

In my own garden in Westfield at least I managed to attract Waxwings a few years ago by also growing a Guelder Rose specially, but I’ve only ever had a single Fieldfare come down to feed – on a conventional Crab Apple!


Curlew lands in Westfield!

01/03/2018 – Was pleased to see solitary Curlew in the field at end of New Cut turning down on the footpath at mid day today.

Mary Ashbolt

Ooh that’s a great sighting Mary, no doubt weather related – looking for soft ground to probe I reckon!


Butterflies in the garden

A fresh looking Painted Lady turned up in our front garden today [10/09/2017] which stayed for a few minutes sunbathing on the concrete drive. Also this  Comma emerged today that I reared from a caterpillar found on the weeping elm last month. 3 Red Admirals were also on the over-ripe bananas.

Also last month a couple of female Common Blues paid us a visit [13/08/2017] – you can just see the second one in the background which had more blue on it.  The underside view confirms this is not a Brown Argus as I initially thought, which lacks the black spot clearly seen on this individual towards the base of the fore-wing.






Spotted Flycatchers, Linnets, and Goldfinches

Thursday, August 24th: As I approached the footbridge on the 1066 Path on my return to Sprays Bridge I noticed a bird flying out of the hedgerow, catching an insect then returning to the hedgerow. To my delight it was a Spotted Flycatcher. I was able to get closer to the bird & sometimes I could hear the snap of its bill as it caught an insect.

I then noticed a nondescript little bird sitting on top of a rather leafless Alder tree. At first I did not know what I was looking at. The bird was then joined by a bird with a pink breast so I realised I was looking at a pair of Linnets. All of a sudden these birds were joined by at least a dozen Goldfinches & Linnets. In the next few moments a huge flock of what I guess were a mixed flock of Linnets & Goldfinches flew up from the Knapweed in the field. I counted at least 60 birds.

I was then rewared by the arrival of a small flock of Long-tailed Tits. These delightful little birds are always such fun to watch. To add to my pleasure there were a few Willow Warbler or Chiffchaff in the hedgerow.

I then realised a bird had landed on a dead branch a few feet away from where I was standing. It was the Spotted Flycatcher. I had the most superb view of this bird. Imagine my surprise when it was joined by not one but three other Flycatchers. I was then able to watch the five birds darting out of the hedgerow catching insects. I have not seen Spotted Flycatchers for several years so to see a family was a very special occasion.



Saturday 8th July: After a long absence I went on an evening walk on the 1066 Path towards the A21. I had just climbed over the stile at Sprays Bridge when I heard the scratchy call of a Whitethroat. For the next half an hour I watched a pair of these birds catching insects & dropping down into the deep undergrowth where I assume they had a nest. The birds found insects within a few feet of the nest & they called constantly.

At the footbridge I watched Blackcap collecting insects & after a long search I saw the Chiffchaff that was calling from the big Oak Tree. There wa a Green Woodpecker in the Oak but I failed to see it. A Song Thrush was singing in the background.

On my return I again watched the Whitethroat & this time noticed Warblers deep in the Blackthorn. Whether they were Willow Warbler or Chiffchaff I could not tell.

I crossed the road & walked on the 1066 Path along Forge Stream. Gathering over the river by the logs were large numbers of Beautiful Demoiselles.

Sunday 9th July We were woken up at 5.30 am by two noisy, juvenile Green Woodpeckers. They were preening themselves in the Fir Tree outside our bedroom windows.

We have seen Warblers in the garden. Again I am not sure whether they are Chiffchaff or Willow Warbler. They are in an Olive tree & in the plants around the pond. We have noticed before that Warblers visit the garden in high summer. My husband has been trying to photograph the birds but without success.


Black Kite

At 11 am this morning [29/05/2017] I saw a Black Kite over the village heading south fairly high up. This is a new addition for the parish list. Also there are a few Buzzards to be seen so it is worth keeping an eye on the sky. There have also been a few sightings of Red Kites in Sussex recently.


Grass snake photos

Further to my two previous postings here are two pictures of the two snakes. Sorry about only a part of the middle body of the second snake, but just not able to get a complete shot quickly enough.


snake length bestC_0025 Brok a

snake-dark 2nd Brok a

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    WESTFIELD WILDLIFE has been created for Westfield residents and visitors to submit news and photos of any wildlife observed in the Parish. We also aim to post our own sightings and topical wildlife news as often as time allows.

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