Saturday, 20 June 2015

RSPB Strumpshaw Fen

I've been keen to see Swallowtail butterflies and Norfolk Hawker dragonflies for several years now, but both species have a very restricted range in Britain, being restricted to just a few sites in East Anglia. So, with a free day, and a reasonable weather forecast, I drove down to one of these sites, RSPB Strumpshaw Fen in Norfolk, to try and catch up with these 2 species.  Although it was slightly overcast when we (Jayne and I) arrived we still managed to see both species and get a few photos.

The Norfolk Hawkers were quite easy to see, patrolling the numerous dykes that crisscross the reserve. We managed to find one that was close to the path, and kept returning to a favourite perch time and time again. I got a few photos, which I've cropped down. Note the green eyes- gorgeous!

Norfolk Hawker

The Swallowtails were much more difficult to see, and we very nearly came away empty handed! As I said, the weather wasn't great, a bit too overcast for this species, but thankfully, the staff at the reserve spotted this individual fly into the reeds, just before we left! The butterfly was about 10 metres away from the reception hide, but I managed to get a few shots, one of which I've cropped. Quite pleased with the outcome.

Whilst looking for the insects we came across 4 Common Lizards that were sat on the boardwalk. They were very easy to approach and we managed to get shots of this pristine individual and a less than pristine one! I think the second picture shows an individual that has lost its tail after being attacked by a predator.

Common Lizard

Common Lizard

As well as the insects we also managed to see several Marsh Harriers hunting over the reedbeds, hear Cetti's Warblers and see this stunning Bee Orchid (1 of at least 6 present near the reception).

Bee Orchid

Afterwards we went for a short drive to Thorpe St Andrew for some lunch, and saw a pair of Banded Demoiselle damselflies and a family party of Egyptian Goose (year tick) on the river.

Banded Demoiselle (female)

On the drive home we saw a Hobby (year tick) flying by the A17. Not a bad day!

Year List update:-
140 - Egyptian Goose
141 - Hobby

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