Work was tough this week, with several people off sick and the intense humid weather, I was exhausted by Friday evening and slept in late today. So late, that I had lunch at home and went out in the afternoon.
A beautiful sunny day with blustery south west winds and showers.
Sculthorpe Moor Nature Reserve
I had not been here for ages and I knew my membership had expired, so re-joined this fabulous reserve. The nature garden next to the visitor centre was a mass of colourful flowers, but with no butterflies! A few honey bees were around, but best of all were two Wasp Beetles on the tree stump. I was disappointed to find earlier this morning when I looked on the Sculthorpe Moor website that the sightings list was way behind - the last sightings being October 2011! I pointed this out politely to the staff.
The lack of butterflies around is very sad indeed – I only saw a single Ringlet, Red Admiral and a Speckled Wood! Azure Damselflies were mating in the first pond on the way to the Woodland Hide. Next to this pond a single Southern Hawker was flying - my first this year. Heard chiffchaffs and blackcaps on route to the 'Whitley Hide'. Had lovely views of a Hedgehog who was making his way along the board walk path - got some cute pictures before he disappeared into the undergrowth. From the hide I had fabulous views of a pair of Bullfinches feeding on the bird table, along with chaffinches and a Marsh Tit with yellow colour rings on each leg. A marsh harrier was also seen over the reed bed.
The long dyke didn't produce any dragonflies, BUT it did produce a Kingfisher and juv. perched on an upturned tin bucket!!! Unfortunately though, they were quite a distance away so no pictures. From the 'Paul Johnson Hide' I saw 4 Black-tailed Skimmers and got a photograph of one resting on the wooden fence. Also 2 reed warblers, sedge warbler, 2 reed buntings, mallard and young, marsh harrier, kestrel, common buzzard, heron, house martins and swifts. On the way back I photographed a Silver-ground Carpet Moth. I had tried to open the RBA Website on my phone several times, whilst on the reserve, but there wasn't enough bars to open the internet, so I text Pete S. to ask him if I had missed anything and he replied with Red-vained Darter Dragonflies at Kelling...... hmmmmm..... wouldn't mind seeing these, but a bit late in the day now.
When I got back to the carpark I was able to open the internet to find that at 3.27pm a message had been added to RBA about a Squacco Heron at Welney - had I seen that message I would have made it before the reserve closed at 5pm. Just as annoying was the fact that both Pete S. and Eddie M. didn't get that 3.27pm message on their pagers as they were out of range – if they had, they would have text/rung me on my other phone! Working all tomorrow, BOTHER!!! I have seen Squacco Heron in Lesvos, but I dont think/can't remember having seen one in Britain, never mind Norfolk!!! Just looked Squacco Heron up in previous records on RBA - since I was born, there have only been three records in Norfolk: one in 1966 at Rollesby Broad, one in 1998 at Pensthorpe and one at Brograve Levels/Horsey Mere in 2001.
An 18th century mill set in beautiful gardens. A really pretty spot and had lovely views of a Grey Wagtail bobbing on a rock in the cascading River Wensum. See here for details of the Mill which is a Greene King Inn and has a very good reputation.
I noticed that Warden Paul Eele had mentioned on Birdforum last night that an Otter had been spotted in the pools alongside the main path. It was a beautiful evening and there was no one else here! I walked very slowly along the main path searching for Squacco Heron number 2 and otters!!! Just before the Island Hide at 8.15pm a Hobby flashed past me - stunning, although brief view – this had occurred so quickly I hadn't even been able to react in time to lift the camera! Loads of birds on the pools including loads of Canada Geese, black-tailed godwits, avocets, shelduck, mallard, coots, black-headed gulls and young etc. There were 2 Common Terns on an island and a few pied wagtails were flitting about. I could also hear bearded tits pinging and a Cettis Warbler. I walked back along the main path and through the Meadow Trail to Fen Hide - every single window, top and bottom had been left open - people are so lazy! I closed every window when I left. Open windows/hide flaps means wet seats for people the next day if it rains during the night - shut the windows please! (sound like Eddie now!). Nothing of note from the hide. A few moments after getting back to my car a fox trotted towards me and then diverted through the hedge and across the fields.
Visited my parents for a short while and then went home and watched the rest of Andy Murray's match against Marcos Baghdatis. The match finished at 11.02pm and Andy Murray won taking him through to round four!!!!
Highlights in Norfolk today:
SQUACCO HERON seen from Reedbed Hide at Welney WWT
Alpine Swift seen at Blakeney Point, Walsey Hills and Salthouse.
6 Red-veined Darter Dragonflies seen at Kelling Water Meadows, see pictures here
Sacred Ibis remains at Cley.
PHOTOGRAPHS TO BE ADDED