Saturday, 23 June 2012

Cley Marshes, Norfolk

On our way from Hickling to Holt we stopped at Cookies Crab Shop in Salthouse for a crab sarny, then onto the Cley cafe for a cup of coffee and a delicious brownie. At Cley Marshes, we saw Marsh Harrier, Avocets, Green Sandpiper, Bearded Reedling (nowhere near as obliging as those at Hickling Broad), and the reeds were full of nesting Warbler and Reed Bunting.

We only had the briefest of visits as we were on our way to check in with the lovely Viv at Willow House B&B in Holt, which we can highly recommend.

Here are a few more pics taken on our wander round the boardwalk.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Hickling Broad additional sightings

I must post the additional sightings found during our wander around Hickling Broad Nature Reserve, including these two female and juvenile Bearded Reedling (well done Andrea for spotting these, I'd wandered off to look for the Swallowtail butterflies at this point and missed them completely). We've only ever seen them once before at Blacktoft Sands RSPB and then only momentarily at a distance.


These male and female Black Tailed Skimmer dragonflies darted around the boardwalk and perched oblingingly on the deck in front of us.

Three Azure Damselflies perched on a reed.

A male Large Red Damselfly, identifying features, black legs, black pterostigma, the lower yellow antehumeral stripes just visible.

I'm pretty certain that this is a female Red-eyed Damselfly, eyes brownish red, short antehumeral stripes, "all black abdomen (except for narrow blue rings between the rear segments) seperates females of this species from other damselflies"
Brooks, Steve and Richard Lewington.  Field Guide to the Dragonlfies and Damselflies of Great Britain and Ireland, BWP, 2004

Always nice to see a Marsh Harrier, one of four spotted over the reserve.

A view of Hickling Broad Nature Reserve overlooking the reed beds.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Swallowtail at Hickling Broad

We've just returned from a weekend in Norfolk, where we visited Hickling Broad, a wonderful reserve run by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, and one of the few places to see Swallowtail butterflies.

Our first sighting was the briefest of encounters when one zipped across the path in front of me, and we assumed that was probably as good as it would get until we reached a warm sheltered boardwalk bordered with tall reeds and grasses and occasional patches of Yellow Flag Iris. Here we watched half a dozen swoop across the reed beds, disappearing for minutes before taking to the air again and virtually impossible to photograph. A passing warden recommended that we keep our eyes focussed on the Yellow Flag Iris a favourite nectar source of the butterfly and a potential resting spot.

And eventually, after a considerable number of obscured shots, I managed to get one reasonably clear view, phew!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Ilkley Moor Mipits

Meadow Pipits perched on stony outcrops above the bracken, heather and bilberry at Ilkley Moor.

A Warbler (Willow Warbler perhaps) hopped from branch to branch on a conifer gathering insects.

I spotted 20+ Small Tortoiseshell caterpillars on nettles.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Rodley Nature Reserve Blackcap

Rodley Nature Reserve provided this year's first clear sighting of a Blackcap. We watched this female hop tirelessly from branch to branch gathering insects, presumably to take back to the mouths of hungry nestlings. I was quite taken by its beautiful grey plumage.  The distinctive chestnut cap easily distinguishes it from the black cap of the male.


Thursday, 7 June 2012

Rodley Nature Reserve damsel updates

Banded Demoiselle (juvenile male)

Having finally resolved some technical glitches, here's the first installment from last weekend's jaunt to Rodley Nature Reserve which provided a great opportunity for damselfly sightings. My favourite was this lovely juvenile male Banded Demoiselle, basking on pondside vegetation. Last summer, we found good numbers of Banded Demoiselle on a stretch of the River Aire near Kirkstall Abbey, only a couple of miles downstream from Rodley.

There were lots (20+) of male Azure Damselfly amongst the vegetation bordering the ponds and along the hedgerow leading up to the visitors centre.

And smaller numbers of Large Red Damselfly in closer proximity to the ponds.

We also caught sight of a pair of Broad Bodied Chaser dragonfly, too quick for a pic. Here are views of some of the dragonfly ponds at Rodley, well worth a visit.

Rodley Nature Reserve,Dragonfly ponds

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