Sunday, 9 July 2017

Norfolk in July

Sunday July 9

Not a productive day on the bird scene. Still no Spotted Flycatcher at our usual haunts, a very low tide with very  waders as yet returning from their summer sojourns. A few handsome deep red Bar-tailed Godwits, an almost white Ringed Plover and a few small flocks of Dunlin.
Snettisham was a holidayers hotspot to-day. Several cars and groups of cycling children swept onto the reserve, abandoning their transport to cut samphire along the tide's edge. What next?
Poppyland showed well, swathes of deep orange/red flowers backed by saltmarsh, dunes and wind turbine strewn sea. A picture of coastal Norfolk.


Notable Moths - July

Sunday July 9

Our mothing group has  been responsible for some notable records this month. A very productive and pleasant session for Abbey Farm Open Day on July 2, run for the Butterfly Conservation Group by Greg B, produced a new moth for most moth-ers present. A Breckland speciality, Royal Mantle. It was kept potted so that it could be made available to others. I didn't photograph it. 
It looked like this :

 There were also many Micro moths of interest - and new.

Our regular Natural Surroundings session on Tuesday July 4 had the excitement of a fourth record for Norfolk, the immigrant  Splendid Brocade. Again, it was potted and taken away to Norwich to be shared with others. As it's an inmmigrant, it can be released away from the trapping area.

Greg trapped a very rare Plume (micro moth) in his Overstrand garden. It had to be confirmed by Jon Clifton (its genitalia detail inspected )as a Crombrugghia laeta, itself a sub species of the very rare Breckland Plume. A first for Norfolk, well done Greg.

Our own garden produced some nice July moths too.

Clouded Magpie

V Pug

Varied Coronet

Rodophaea formosa Beautiful Knothorn (Micro)


Saturday, 8 July 2017

Timing Problems

Friday July 7

We'd planned a day's birding along the North Coast - until we both overslept. Neither will wake the other as 'they must need the sleep'. And we'd not put the moth trap out the night before.
Pam did have a couple of urgent chores, a blood test at Cromer Hospital after yesterday's doctor appointment and a, getting old, cheque to pay in. HSBC have closed their North Walsham branch, Cromer is the nearest of the three remaining branches.
Cromer is a drop in clinic for blood tests, Pam had 17 waiting before her turn came. They do up to 150 every week day. The bank was a walk from the parking place where the nearest half to town was occupied by market stalls. During my long car waits I finished reading, Birdwatch and British Birds magazines and, three copies of a Wildlife magazine Greg passes on to me. Not wasted time. 
I then suggested that we visit Holt Country Park for butterflies. The sun was out and the car park almost empty, we were able  to park anywhere and at whatever angle we liked. 
Watching the Buddleias in the centre was fruitless, the bramble clump and Buddleias at the top end eventually proved fruitful. A White Admiral was active in the bramble although never perched for long nor in a convenient place. Why should they?

 This little fellow and two male Blackbirds did not help them to settle.

Distant orange brown flits  became an obliging Comma 

 and eventually, two sparring Silver-streaked Fritillaries. 

They were much more interested in fighting each other than in settling on the deep purple flowers which set off their colour beautifully. This is the best I managed, using my 300 mm lens on my Canon D70 from the car. Must go back with more time and patience.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Long Anticipated

Friday June 30

Our annual Brecks birding visit usually happens in May or early June. Although we have already mothed there a few times, Weeting and Lakenheath birding hasn't happened. I wasn't over hopeful as it's a bit late in the season for optimum sightings. Birds will have fledged, no more regular parental parental visits with food etc.
Weeting first, where we opened the flaps of West Hide to view an expanse of tall meadow - over the tall waving strands of the hedge immediately in front of the hide. Ah well, here goes. It didn't take me long to find a lone adult Stone Curlew, which appeared in a sparser vegetated area in front of the fenceline on the right-hand side. Much to the delight of the two ladies who were in the hide when we arrived. We had good scope views before Pam found a second bird in a similar area. The sitting bird - pin-pointed by the CCTV camera direction - was occasionally visible.
Back to the Centre for a hot drink, no sun and rather cool. Reading the moth species book was interesting, particularly the two Royal Mantle trapped last Saturday. A tick for us and one we are hoping to see at Abbey Farm to-morrow. (Sunday July 2). A trap is opened at Weeting every Saturday morning from May to October, £3 for members, £3.50 for others. The price for members is exorbitant, in my opinion.
The car park - a piece of rough grassy land - had small bees disappearing into holes in the ground. The female warden told us that they were Five-barred Digger Wasps, which I photographed.

On to Lakenheath Fen, one of our favourite reserves  as there is so much more than birds to see.
We drive as far as New Fen, park and walk to the hide overlooking a pool and reedbed with a bank of trees on three sides.
We sat for over an hour and a half, watching not a lot - but loved it. A Great Crested Grebe with two well grown stripe-headed young played games with a stroppy adult Coot. The latter was chugging about finding food for its young, taking exception to the Grebes if they got in its way - which was frequent. At one time, the Coot appeared to be standing on something with its wings half open balancing. I think that its legs were being held by a young grebe.
A family of Reed Warblers spent the whole time flying between reed beds and the reed island. A Little Grebe spent its time scooting rapidly from the left to the right, beak holding food, and back again, disappearing into the reeds each time. The scooting was flying low across the water, its feet paddling the surface.
Always superb to see, a Kingfisher made three appearances, once perching for ten minutes. That was a male, its beak all black.
Hardly believable.......our first Bearded Reedling of 2017 first called from the far end and then flew in front of us.We haven't walked at Cley nor Titchwell where we usually see them. 
At last, a very tatty Hobby put in a short appearance, high above us.

On a good day earlier in the year, several birds can usually be seen, performing aerial hunting manoeuvres  over the pool and trees.
Large White, Comma,

Red Admiral, Ringlet and Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies, various Bugs and a Broad-bodied Chaser enhanced the experience. 
A super few hours out. It always seems like a long way in anticipation - only the same travel time as Snettisham though. Pam always says that we should visit more often - when driving home.