Sunday, 6 July 2014

Scorpion Fly's, autumn migrants and 72 million year old squid

A busy few weeks and although the weather has been mixed it has felt like summer with some wonderfully warm days. 

Avocet at Titchwell Marsh where they seem to be having a good breeding season.
 Saturday 21st June saw me in Holkham Park with our two small boys trying to show them Fallow Deer, this was achieved with a bit of effort as the deer seemed mostly to be lying up in the nettle beds presumably with their young. The sunshine brought out good numbers of Ringlet's and Meadow Brown butterflies here.

The following day Sunday 22nd we had a great encounter with a young Hedgehog in a Brancaster garden as it fed on the lawn in the afternoon and allowed the boys a great look at it before it disappeared into the bushes.

After work on Wednesday the 22nd I had to visit a friend who lives near North Elmham and who has two pairs of Little Owls nesting close to his house. I was lucky enough to see one of these birds on my way out.

Thursday 26th saw me heading west into Cambridgeshire to the Village of Over in the Ouse valley for a work meeting, at lunchtime I had brief views of one of my favourite British Dragonflies the Banded Demoiselle.

Saturday 28th saw me taking the boys around Ken Hill Wood in Snettisham and although this was a pretty quiet walk for wildlife in the cool air I did see some nice Ringlets sitting around waiting for the air to war up.

On Saturday afternoon I took our five year old for a walk at Titchwell, he had a lot of fun playing with my camera and asking questions about the war [sparked by some of the interpetation around the site]. Couldn't really do too much birding but nice to see a summer plumage Spotted Redshank and a Riff plus a couple of Spoonbill, highlights though were the good numbers of Avocet chicks and watching a female Marsh Harrier bringing in prey and do an aerial food pass with one of this years young. Also here was a very tatty Painted Lady.

An extremely tatty Painted Lady at Titchwell Marsh

Spotted Redshank in summer plumage at Titchwell Marsh, autumn passage underway?
Tuesday 1st July and a work meeting over coffee in a Snettisham garden was enlivened by the presence overhead of three thermalling Common Buzzards and two Sparrowhawks. Later a lunchtime  walk around Ken Hill Wood was good for butterflies with Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Red Admiral, White Admiral, Comma and what I am pretty certain was a Purple Hairstreak high up in some oaks.

White Admiral in slightly faded condition, Ken Hill Wood
Thursday 3rd another lunchtime walk in Ken hill woods and even more White Admirals and my first Grass Snake of the year, plus a Scorpion Fly one of the three species of Panorpa found in the UK.

Scorpion Fly, Panorpa sp, Ken Hill Wood

Saturday 5th July I saw my first Gatekeepers of the year in Brancaster and in the evening I had another great encounter with a young Hedgehog this time in the Sensory Garden in Hunstanton. Interesting that I have struggled to see Hedgehogs in recent years and this past few weeks I have seen two, I wonder if their numbers were hit by the run of heard winters we had ad are now starting to pickup.

Young Hedgehog, Hunsatnton Sensory Garden

Then today Sunday 6th an afternoon with the family on Hunstanton beach, very quiet for birds with a few Sandwich and Common Terns offshore and a single adult Kittiwake being the bird highlights. Whilst building piles of rocks with the kids we found some small fossils which I think are Neohibolites which were a type of Cephalopod from the Cretaceous about 72 million years ago, in other words very old and very tough calamari.

Fossil Neohibolites, Hunstanton beach