Thursday, 26 April 2018

April 26th Fairhaven and Ranworth Broad

At Fairhaven
Today, Dad took me out to see the gardens of Fairhaven, South Walsham. Dad happens to be a keen gardener, so this place was right up his alley. The gardens here are the main attraction as well as the boat trips around the broad that is part of the estate, but there are also two hides and an ancient woodland for a keen birdwatcher like me to enjoy, too. Some of the trees here are remarkable, especially one particular tree known as King's Oak, which is over 800 years old! The other attractions of these gardens are the candelabra primulas, that were just beginning to come into flower on our visit today, but will form a spectacular display of purple next month. Fully in flower right now, however, were the skunk cabbages, an arum-like plant from Florida that had a very strong onion smell to them. You could smell them from several yards away!
View of the water gardens

King's Oak
Queen's Oak

Candelabra Primula 

Some other kind of Primula

Skunk Cabbages

Marsh Marigold

Some kind of Anemone?
The broad at Fairhaven
While my dad was enjoying the gardens, I was on the lookout for wildlife. The hides here were located beside the broad but were also surrounded by parts of the woodland with feeders placed out to attract the birds. From these hides, though, I only managed to see a couple of coal and great tits, mallards and a rat with tufted ducks, common terns and great crested grebes out on the broad. I also saw chiffchaffs and orange-tip butterflies.

Tufted Duck
Coal Tit
A very scruffy Coal Tit
Great Tit
Brown Rat
Common Tern
After lunch, we made a short visit to Ranworth Broad. The common terns and black-headed gulls were the most abundant out of the birds here as the broad was noisy with their calls as they claimed a spot on the nesting platforms to build their nests on. I also saw swallows and great crested grebes, but it was the display of marsh marigolds behind the floating visitor centre that peeked my interest. These bright yellow flowers were attracting many insects, including hoverflies. The more I was watching these insects, the more I noticed what they were doing. I witnessed aerial group fights just above one of the flower heads as one was busy feeding. These were males fighting over a female while she was busy drinking the nectar. They were pretty aggressive to one another, but it was quite fascinating and entertaining to observe.
Great Crested Grebe
Black-headed Gull
Otter print

Lords and Ladies Lily

Hoverflies fighting for a female

Some other kind of Hoverfly

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