Wednesday, 4 July 2018

July 4th Strumpshaw Fen

Silver-washed Fritillary
What's the best way to recover from a night of watching England win on penalties for the first time ever in a World Cup against a thuggish Colombian side? By making another attempt in photographing my first silver-washed fritillary at Strumpshaw of course. The majority of the bramble flowers may have now been pollenated, but they are still drawing in these bright orange butterflies as well as white admirals along parts of the woodland trail. It wasn't until my second attempt of the morning that one actually perched on a flower long enough for me to get what I wanted at long last. I felt as if I had scored a penalty of my own after a second year of trying.

This magnificent butterfly, the third largest in the UK I believe, is a newcomer to Strumpshaw. How they got here is probably controversial and not natural, as if secretly released by someone with a collection, but these butterflies were once native to Norfolk until they mysteriously became extinct to the county. So it is nice to see them back again and even seeing them performing an aerial courtship dance. When a male meets a female, he does this wonderful loop-the-loop dance in which he flies round her like a Ferris wheel while she continues to fly straight, following her by a tail of irresistible pheromones that she produces. It is a flight of fancy in the summer sun. A welcoming sight after many years of absence.
Green-veined White
Dark Bush-cricket
Small Red-eyed Damselfly
Yellow Loosestrife
Reedmace (typha latifolia)
It feels like another lazy summer's day at Strumpshaw this morning. The birds are not as active in their daily chorus as they once were and many of them have young that have fledged many days ago or are at the start of their annual moult. The insects have more or less taken over, including the nasty biting ones. The colour purple resonates through the reed beds as purple loosestrife, thistles and many other flowers are now in bloom in the warmth the summer heat. A flash of electric blue of the occasional kingfisher visit adds a bit of excitement to the lazy scenes, while the swifts, swallows and house martins swoop over the broad to quench their thirst and to fill their stomachs on the mosquitos buzzing above it. The passing of a sparrowhawk with a small bird in its talons had these hirundines in a panic for a short moment and there were also views of marsh harriers and buzzards as well as a little egret at Fen Hide. 
Mute Swan
Grey Heron
Black-headed Gull
Mallard in its eclipse phase plumage
Mallard hybrid

1 comment:

  1. Your "sweet flag" if reedmace (typha latifolia) keep up the good work! Matt