Friday, 12 June 2015

June 12th Norwich

Fish in the River Wensum
Norwich is enjoying a warm sunny day today, perfect for a walk along the city's river. I took Mum to see if we can see any fish. Once you get your eye in, there were a lot of them. The river looks very clear at this time of year, the only problem are the bright reflections on the surface making it hard to see a bit. A pair of sunglasses should help with the glare, but Mum still struggled to see anything fish-shaped for some time. Me on the other hand, could see them well and I don't have sunglasses! I think most of these are chub and roach, but I'm not a fish expert. After posting these pics online to be ID'd, I found out I was right and there might be some dace and a tench in there too. It doesn't really matter though, watching so many fish swimming in relatively clear water is enough to tell me that this river is healthy.

The aquatic plants glow green from the sunlight. It looks like an underwater forest down there with the odd traffic cone and bottle tucked in amongst it all. Water-lilies float on the surface beneath the steady flow of traffic on Whitefriars Bridge. It feels like a true summers day in the urban jungle.
Water-lilies under Whitefriars Bridge
Mallard having a preen
Moorhen and chick
Yellow Flag Iris
Ivy-leaved Toadflax
The walls along the river should not be overlooked when wildlife watching. The dainty purple flowers of ivy-leaved toadflax covered the old brick walls. The two yellow dots in the centre of each flower reminds me of two fried eggs. Either that or two eyes with long eyelashes on the top two petals and the three petals below reminds me of a fancy beard parted in three and dyed purple.

Male Banded Demoiselle
You'd be surprised what amazing wildlife you can find in a city like Norwich if you look closely enough. There could be living jewels flying along the river. I love banded demoiselles, they are dazzling to look at. They are a species of damselfly and would put birds to shame. In birds, it is usually the male that has the looks, while the female is drab in comparison. In banded demoiselles, both males and females, though are different in colour, are spectacular! Males are a shiny blue with a black band on the wing, females are a shiny green. Besides their appearance, they move as graceful as a ballet dancer, floating above the river's surface as if they were moving in slow motion. A real gem of the city!

Another graceful creature of the river is, of course, the swan. By Pull's Ferry, several of these lovely birds swam towards us from down river. These are mute swans, the only native swan you will see in the UK in summer. They are looking wonderful with the light reflecting all around them.
Mute Swan

Peregrine chick
We couldn't end our walk without checking on the peregrines on Norwich Cathedral. There is great news. All three chicks have fledged! Two left on June 9th and the third left a day later. From the Hawk and Owl Trust's telescopes, you could only see the adult female. The chicks were round the otherside and we could see two of them from one of the cathedral's cafe windows. They are browner with lots of streaking on the breast feathers. They are not ringed, as the volunteers apparently had a problem with the long ladder that takes them to the nesting platform. By the time the problem was fixed, the chicks were almost ready to fledge and to reduce the risk of them falling out by accident as they try to escape the volunteer trying to grab them, they decided to leave them be. The chicks will still be around for another few weeks, learning vital flying and hunting skills to survive. Peregrine watch is not over yet.
The second chick I saw
The proud mum

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