Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Strumpshaw Fen/Lakenheath (4th July 2010)

There was me thinking that trying for a scarce dragonfly was going to be difficult, but oddly it was dead easy!

I left home at 5.15am and arrived about 3 hours later at the Strumpshaw Fen reserve. I then walked through the meadow, along the river, down past Fen Hide, back through the meadow and along the river again. A quick look near Fen Hide and finally continued along the river until the path turned back towards the visitor centre and followed it back to the visitor centre. Finally another quick jaunt through the meadow.

The first damselfly I saw was an Emerald Damselfly (later there were a lot more). I wasn't until the time I visited Fen Hide that I found what I came to see, a Norfolk Hawker, which showed exceptionally well clinging to a reed. I counted at least another 10 Norfolk Hawkers around the reserve (identified at least 3 females and a male). It's jizz was fairly striking with the large green eyes looking like head lamps on the end of a brown dragonfly, lacking the yellow tinge to the wings of the Brown Hawker and quite a strong fairly direct flight.

Other species around the reserve included:

Blue-tailed Damselfly
Four-spotted Chaser
Black-tailed Skimmer
Southern Hawker (my first of the year)
Common Blue Damselfly
Azure Damselfly
Common Darter
Red-eyed Damselfly

Birds included:

Marsh Harrier (136)
Green Sandpiper (137)
Little Egret
Kingfisher (perched in front of the visitor centre briefly)

It was a shame I couldn't find any Swallowtail butterflies.

I phoned birdline to hear that a River Warbler had been found near Norwich - the shame was that access wouldn't be granted until the evening. As I had already seen one I decided to give it a miss and drove to Lakenheath.

I wasn't expecting to see any Golden Orioles as it was far too windy - and I was right!

I walked down to the far screen and on the way encountered a large Grass Snake making its way across the path into the reeds (the 3rd sighting of Grass Snake in as many weeks). I estimate it was about 2.5ft in length.

There were a few Brown Hawkers flying around I managed to get a quick photo of one that alighted briefly.

Birds included:

Marsh Harrier (male + female)
Bittern (138) (seen when watching the harriers and it flew past them!)
Photos: Black-tailed Skimmer, Southern Hawker, Norfolk Hawker, Emerald Damselfly, Brown Hawker

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