Wednesday, 27 June 2018

June 27th Strumpshaw Fen

Norfolk Hawker
A great day for butterflies (as well as other insects, too) at Strumpshaw this morning. With the sun out from behind the clouds and bathing everything in warm sunlight, it brought out the insects in force. One corner of the woodland trail, especially, was like a bustling city for insects. The brambles in this location were in bloom and was attracting hundreds of pollinators, from bees to hoverflies. Dragonflies hovered and soared over them like living mini helicopters patrolling this floral metropolis of the invertebrate world. But it were the flamboyant, flashy commuters, the butterflies, that many people were hoping to see and photograph.
Common Darter
Azure Damselfly

Large Skipper
Wasp chewing the Fen Hide
Wild Raspberry
White Admiral
Though the swallowtails were still on the wing (I had at least 3 or 4 sightings today), they are approaching the end of their season. Now, the attention has turned to the brambles and to two other species. The white admirals, with their black and white upper wings and a much colourful under side, are an annual favourite at this time of year amongst visitors are gliding down from the canopy to gorge themselves on the nectar the bramble flowers have on offer. This year, just like last year, they have a newcomer stealing the limelight as a colony of silver-washed fritillaries have re-established themselves after a long absence from the reserve. The fritillaries are much bigger than the admirals and are a bright dazzling orange with a silvery sheen. The males can be recognised with their hooked forewings, while the females are like commas with rounded wings.
While the white admirals were more obliging to photograph, the silver-washed fritillaries turned out to be uninterested in posing for me. And while the admirals were more abundant and frequent, I only managed to have one sighting of one fritillary swooping passed the brambles during a lengthy spell of waiting around for it to show up. So I failed to get a photo of one this time, but at least I've finally seen one at Strumpshaw after failing to see one last year. I shall have to try again next week.

Mute Swans with seven cygnets
As for birdlife, today wasn't exactly bursting with activity on their part. It was typically quiet for this time of year. Though, I did see the odd flash of a kingfisher here and there, a few food passes from marsh harriers to their ever hungry fledglings, several grey herons, swallows, house martins and swifts and a family of mute swans with seven cygnets, it was nothing compared to the hive of activity of the invertebrate life that's outnumbering the birds right now. Today truly belongs to the insects.

Grey Heron
Grey Heron with Mute Swan
Grey Heron with Coot

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