East Anglia Excursion

Thursday 10th - Saturday 12th June 2010

Swallowtail, How Hill

I spent a few days in East Anglia last week, with two nights camping at Yaxham, near Dereham. The location of the campsite was chosen for being roughly equidistant between Lakenheath Fen RSPB reserve, and the Norfolk Broads; the trip being primarily to see Golden Oriole and Swallowtail respectively. In terms of those two species, my success rate was 75% - i.e. I didn't actually see an Oriole, they were just too elusive, but I did hear one in full song, that was magical in itself. The Swallowtail butterflies were superb and much more cooperative. Here are the highlights of the trip:

Thursday 10th
Mainly cloudy and breezy.
Lakenheath Fen RSPB Reserve
c2:30pm-5:00pm
6+ Marsh Harriers, two Bitterns - one booming and another in flight, three Cuckoos, c15 Reed Warblers, three Sedge Warblers, a Cett's Warbler, five Reed Buntings and, eventually, 1-2 GOLDEN ORIOLES calling from the western Poplar plantation but not seen.

Poplar plantation, Lakenheath Fen RSPB - I know you're in there somewhere!

Friday 11th
Light rain turning to warm sunshine and breeze reducing as the day progressed.
Titchwell Marsh RSPB Reserve
At least five Bearded Tits collecting
non-biting midge (Chironomid) larvae in front of Island Hide and returning to the reeds presumably feeding young, c80 Avocets, a first-summer Little Gull, 300+ Knot, 50+ Bar-tailed Godwits and 400+ Black-tailed Godwits, two Marsh Harriers, two Little Egrets, a Little Tern fishing on the tidal marsh, six Sedge Warblers, c15 Reed Warblers and c30 Oystercatchers.


Bearded Tits, Titchwell Marsh RSPB


Avocet, Titchwell Marsh RSPB


Little Tern, Titchwell Marsh RSPB

Cley Marshes NWT Reserve
Two Marsh Harriers, c25 Avocets, c30 Knot, c30 Black-tailed Godwits, five Bar-tailed Godwits, four Little Ringed Plovers and off the beach an immature Gannet, a Kittiwake, four Little Terns, five Sandwich Terns, c10 Common Terns and c30 Dunlin. Also Yellow Horned-poppy Glaucium flavum in flower on the shingle beach.

Yellow Horned-poppy, Cley Next The Sea beach

Saturday 12th
Sunny intervals, breezy.
Yaxham Waters Campsite
5:00am
A Turtle Dove purring and displaying.

Lakenheath Fen RSPB Reserve
6:45am-9:30am
Two GOLDEN ORIOLES not seen as extremely elusive but one heard singing briefly in the southern Poplar plantation towards Trial Wood viewpoint, and another in full song for several minutes at a time from the western Poplar plantation. Also a Nightingale singing, two Marsh Harriers, 3+ Cuckoos, two Common Terns and a Cetti's Warbler.


Marsh Harrier, Lakenheath Fen RSPB

How Hill


Swallowtail, How Hill

5+ SWALLOWTAILS nectaring on Meadow Thistles near the second windmill, also a Small Tortoiseshell a Small White and two Brimstones and a Four-spotted Chaser and two Hairy Dragonflies.

Four-spotted Chaser, How Hill


Hairy Dragonflies, How Hill


Drainage Windmills, How Hill

Strumpshaw Fen RSPB Reserve
Two SWALLOWTAILS, one in the grassy area adjacent to the overflow car park and the other on the raised flower garden near the centre.

Swallowtail, Strumpshaw Fen RSPB

I visited this reserve for another local rarity and successfully found three NORFOLK HAWKERS near the start of the Meadow Trail, also c5 Hairy Dragonflies and lots of Common Blue Damselflies. Birds included two Marsh Harriers and three Cetti's Warblers.

Norfolk Hawker, Strumpshaw Fen RSPB

Links:
Cley Marshes NWT
How Hill Trust
Lakenheath Fen RSPB
Strumpshaw Fen RSPB
Titchwell Marsh RSPB

Yaxham Waters Campsite (make sure you get a key for the gate and let Pablo know if you want to get out early!)

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