The very hot weekend gave way to cooler conditions this week, although sunny spells made it have a very pleasant feel and continued to produce good wildlife sightings, particularly the invertebrates.

The favourable conditions this weekend gave many visitors good swallowtail butterfly encounters, with at least ten separate butterflies seen on Saturday. This is slightly more than I would expect for this time of the year, so it looks like they may either be having one last hoorah, or having an extended season due to the warmer weather conditions.

As well as the swallowtails, we have also seen the first wave of white admirals and silver washed fritillaries, these are best found feeding in the woodland clearings or anywhere that bramble is in flower. Keep an eye out for white letter hairstreak too.

 Bitterns have continued to be seen in flight across the reserve and occasionally on the deck from Reception Hide, we have confirmed one nest and a second nest looks very likely too, which is fantastic news. Marsh harriers are still busy over the reedbed, it won’t be long before the juveniles start to appear now. Kingfishers continue to dart back and forth to their nest sites, but still have not been seen perched for long periods… again any day now! Hobbys have been enjoying the warmer conditions as it has offered them plentiful feeding opportunities, these have been observed most from Tower Hide, but can be seen anywhere on the reserve.

 Dragonflies are starting to rule the skies now (as long as the hobby isn’t about!) Norfolk, brown, southern and hairy hawkers can all be found as well as broad-bodied and scarce chaser, black-tailed and scarce chasers, ruddy and common darters, the available damselflies include blue-tailed, common, azure, large-red, variable and red eyed, finally the magnificent banded demoiselles are also on the wing.

 The meadow trail is looking rather splendid at the moment with lots of common-spotted and southern marsh orchids, particularly in the second/riverbank compartment, there are many different wildflowers to enjoy throughout the meadow at the moment, there are also lots of dragonflies and other invertebrates in the meadows to be enjoyed.

 The wet grassland at Buckenham has seen its first passage waders of ‘autumn’ in the past few days, there have been 134 black-tailed godwits, three green sandpipers, common sandpiper, four little ringed plover, six ruff as well as avocets, lapwings, redshanks, hobby, marsh harriers, kestrels and a barn owl.

 The paths are in good condition and even the meadow trail has mostly dried out now so has become easier to walk though and enjoy. The cattle will be going into the Sandy Wall compartment on Monday, but will be out again by the weekend, the second compartment will still be open while the cattle graze and can be accessed via the new ramp, please follow on site instructions/signs.

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