I spent last week cruising the Norfolk / Suffolk Broads with Mrs T and the girls. It was a thoroughly enjoyable and relaxing holiday in a wonderful landscape that was full of wildlife.
Female Stag Beetle, Surlingham, Norfolk – 15 Aug 10
We moored up for the first night at How Hill on the River Ant where we were treated to views of Barn Owl and Mash Harrier hunting on the adjacent reserve. They were sights that were repeated throughout the week.
How Hill, Norfolk – 13 Aug 10
As well as regular sightings of good resident species we also had large numbers of waders on Breydon Water that included a flock of thirteen Common Sandpiper (lower River Bure), 450+ Avocet and 800+ Grey Plover.
There was also a hint of autumn migration with sightings of at least five Yellow Wagtail at Berney Marshes and a Whinchat at Thurne. One species that was very numerous was Egyptian Goose. They were everywhere. I first noted two birds in flight but after I had spotted flocks of 26 and 43 on the river bank I stopped taking notes.
Juvenile Egyptian Goose, Irstead, Norfolk – 19 Aug 10
The target species for the holiday was not a bird but the Swallowtail Butterfly. Although the best time to see the species is in May and June there is a second generation on the wing from mid-August and as we cruised along the River Bure around Horning and Wroxham I spotted four individuals fly across the river. They were the only Swallowtail that we saw from the boat but during a visit to Hickling Broad NWT we saw another two.
Swallowtail, Hickling Broad NWT, Norfolk – 19 Aug 10
Although I refrained from buying a moth trap that would operate from a battery I did encourage moths with limited success each evening by leaving the curtains open as we played cards on the boat. I was rewarded with Silver-Y, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Straw Dot, Common Rustic agg and Rustic.
Straw Dot, Somerleyton, Suffolk – 17 Aug 10
Away from the boat I was rewarded with two new species of macro moth. The first was a dead Antler Moth that I noticed on a window sill at a pub where we had dinner one evening. I don’t know if the landlord / lady had noticed a customer collecting dead insects from the pub’s window sills for identification but when we returned to the pub a couple of days later for lunch the window sills were spotless!
Antler Moth (dead), Stokesby, Norfolk – 14 Aug 10
The second new species was a large, colourful specimen that I spotted in flight that came to rest on a nearby telegraph pole. I took it onboard in a plastic container, that I now always have to hand, and identified it as a Red Underwing.
Red-underwing, Irstead, Norfolk – 19 Aug 10
A sighting of an Otter swimming and diving on the River Waveney that all four of us were able to enjoy was the ‘champagne moment’ of the holiday. However, the accolade of ‘best sighting’ belonged to the stunning Red Underwing Moth because unlike the Otter and Swallowtail Butterfly it was completely unexpected.
Common Lizard Hickling Broad NWT, Norfolk – 19 Aug 10
Tony T Bsc (Hons) Geosci (open)