Apologies for the lack of updates recently (again), we are currently short staffed and do not have any full time land management volunteers so I have had to prioritise other work streams to ensure the reserve management is happening.
The reserve has been looking fantastic this summer with very good numbers of swallowtails across the reserve. The swallowtails are currently still showing in the warm sunny conditions and the best place currently is in the meadows, due to the abundance of ragged robin a nectar rich plant that the swallowtails cannot seem to resist. Other butterflies have been slightly down in number so far (an observation across Norfolk as far as I can tell).
Dragonflies are everywhere at present, with Norfolk and hairy hawkers being the predominant large species to be encountered, particularly in the clearings around the trails and the entrance to the meadow trail. Other species in abundance are scarce chaser, black tailed skimmer, azure damselfly. Variable damselfly, red-eyed damselfly and along the riverbanks the banded demoiselles can be seen.
The birds have had a fair breeding season, but the beast from the east has certainly affected a lot of breeding species on the reserve, with noticeably lower numbers of reed Cetti’s and sedge warblers and a complete lack of bearded tits. At least two booming bitterns have been present and we are now hoping for the females to start revealing their nest sites to us. Marsh harrier nests have also decreased at the fen, but numbers in the valley have remained much the same as previous years.
A Savi’s warbler (along with at least four grasshopper warblers) has been singing at dawn and dusk, audible only from Fen and Reception hide, the Savi’s has been singing from 5 May until 8 Jun at least.
The warblers are currently still present, but fairly quiet as they are busy feeding their young. The black headed gull colony have enjoyed the work done to the island this winter and at least 22 nests were right in front of the hide, currently there are a good number of young gulls at various stages of life.
The trails are all open and in very good condition, there is plenty of insect life to enjoy on the warm sunny days and still the expected bird species present and correct. Come and enjoy the meadow as the plant life is looking particularly good this year, with lots of orchids, ragged robin and more grasses and sedges that I can mention!
Apologies again for lack of recent updates… must try harder!
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