Wednesday, 21 May 2014

A Norfolk Wildlife Menagerie

It never rains but it pours. The last week and weekend have been so wildlife filled, I don't really know where to start!

7-spotted ladybirds

Nature Area

Wednesday 14th May 2014

At work, we are very lucky to have a nature area, an orchard and wildlife garden. Unfortunately, none of these have been managed for some time. A group of teachers, other staff and pupils have come together to sort it out, and we decided to take photos of any interesting biodiversity we found to stop the whole thing being weed killed for us to make a fresh start. Here are a few examples of what we found...

More 7-spotted ladybirds
Blue shield bug (thank you

Foxley Woods

Friday 16th May 2014
It had been a long week last week, so after work on Friday, a teacher friend of mine and I decided to go for a relaxing walk in Foxley woods. She had never been there before, and we had great fun exploring, identifying things and watching small animals busy themselves about their day to day business. My real aim was to catch the last of the bluebells, but they were mostly a bit too far gone, with the exceptions of the photos below. However, we also saw a baby coal tit that must have fallen from its nest far too early and a very cute harvest mouse, who decided that we weren't a threat when we'd stopped making any noise. Here are a few examples of what we found.

Early purple orchid

Baby coal tit

Native bluebell - they smelled amazing

Greater stitchwort
Mixed flower 'meadow'

Mystery mammal paw print - any suggestions appreciated!
Butterfly orchid - this was fenced off with mesh to prevent damage

Strumpshaw Fen

Saturday 17th May 2014

On Saturday afternoon we met some friends for a wander around Strumpshaw Fen. I love this place, but this weekend's visit surpassed all others. For the first time ever we saw a bittern fly across and land in the reeds near the reception hide, then we heard another booming when we were on the opposite side of the reserve! I was very excited! We also heard our first cuckoo of the year, and I managed to track it down and take a long distance look at it. Also the first time I have ever seen this bird, even if it wasn't clearly. To top it off, we even saw a crane flying across the water, being mobbed by a band of gulls. Every time it moved, it was mobbed. There was also a common tern fishing at the reception hide, and we saw a good number of Azure damselflies, with the odd large red thrown in. For butterflies, the most numerous were silver-studded blues and brimstones, along with a few peacocks and tortoiseshells. Here is a selection of my best pics from the day.

Mating Azure damselflies
Brown-banded Carder bee (I think...)
Slightly battered peacock butterflies
Female Azure damselfly
Large red damselfy
Silver studded blue

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