Thursday, 23 April 2015

April 23rd Ranworth Broad NWT

A walk through the Carr Woodland
The weatherman got it wrong today. What was suppose to be a day of of dark threatening clouds turned out to be quite a nice day with barely a cloud in sight. Making the most of it, Mum and I decided to make a short visit to Ranworth Broad. There is a small nature reserve here run by the NWT (Norfolk Wildlife Trust), which has a wooden boardwalk that takes you to a floating hide/visitor centre, walking past carr woodland and reedbeds along the way.

A patch of forget-me-nots
Marsh Marigold
Carr woodland is a habitat that is a big part of The Broads. It is basically a wet, swampy woodland dominated with  alder, sallow and birch trees. If you leave reedbeds untouched for many years, eventually it will turn into carr woodland. The ground is boggy and the trees are covered in lichen and mosses that it makes the place look like a mini Everglades minus the alligators. This habitat is full of wildlife hidden in a maze of dense vegetation. The vibrant yellow of the marsh marigolds is easily noticeable, making full use of the sunlight before the leaves of the trees grow and smother the canopy. Willow warblers, chiffchaffs, wrens, robins and more sing somewhere closeby, hidden in the density of branches, only giving teasing glimpses as they flit through the gaps. Brimstones and peacocks gave the wood more colour as they fly over the boardwalk.

Turkeytail fungus (I think)
Willow Warbler
Common Tern
Black-headed Gull
As we left the carr wood, we immediately walk past reedbeds with the sound of shouting Cetti's warblers hidden somewhere in this equally dense habitat. The calls of common terns and black-headed gulls made you look up as they flew above you in the vast open blue sky. From inside the floating hide/visitor centre, windows allowed you to see what is out on the broad. Wooden platforms were popular amongst the black-headed gulls as they were busy sitting on nests. The common terns have only recently arrived from migration, so for now were posing on posts, diving for fish, flying or reforming their bonds with their mates. Common terns are much more agile than the gulls with forked tails and pointed bills with black tips to them. You can also tell them apart from gulls with those black caps. They are such a graceful bird to look at.

Grebe making a delivery
Elsewhere on the broad, many great crested grebes were out on the water. My attention was then directed to one individual carrying nesting material. He took it to a floating nest where it's partner sat waiting for him. He handed it over for her to place it on the nest. They then switched places. There were few swallows here at the moment, as I only got to see the odd one or two dart across the water during our visit. As we left the building, a male marsh harrier soared over the reedbeds on the otherside of the broad, while a reed bunting made an appearence in the bushes below.
Great Crested Grebe on nest
Great Crested Grebe
You could go on a short boat trip round the broad if you wanted

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