Saturday, 1 June 2019
Swallowtails at Strumpshaw
What a start to #30DaysWild! Strumpshaw Fen was literally buzzing with activity. I have never seen so many visitors here, there was no room left for parking, so we continued to Buckenham Marshes and walked back. This was a good choice, however, as I *think* we spotted a couple of Norfolk Hawkers along the lane – brown dragonfly with clear wings – but they were too fast to spot the diagnostic green eyes. Butterflies like commas and orange-tips also graced the hedgerows.
Arriving at the Strumpshaw Fen reception hide, their small ‘wildlife garden’ was surrounded by photographers all snapping away at a single Swallowtail butterfly who was clearly trying to give everyone a good view. I always forget how big these insects are, but being able to compare it to a brimstone and orange tip on the same patch really showed the size difference. Happily feeding on the white flowers of Honesty, these impressive creatures stand out with their bold patterning of yellow and black with the faint dusting of blue near their shocking red eye-spots.
We decided to take the woodland trail leading to the river, then back to the reception hide via Fen Hide. The woodland trail was a good choice for dragons and damsels; countless blue damselflies (a little quick to identify), some large red damselflies and female scarce chaser surrounding the stream. This is only the second time I’ve seen a scarce chaser and it was in exactly the same place as several years ago. The yellow-almost-orange body and wing patches with the bold black stripe leading up the abdomen and tapering to a point near the wings.
A kestrel hovered as we walked the river bank and a family of swans with young cygnets appeared at Fen Hide, alongside a confiding reed bunting who perched on reeds next to the hide.