Monday, 28 June 2010

Strumpshaw Fen and Pensthorpe

Wednesday June 23
We visited Strumpshaw Fen, an RSPB Reserve, in the morning. There is plenty of parking, they open a field on the opposite side of the road and there is a car park by the path leading to the railway line which must be crossed to access the visitor centre. It is a wild and interesting reserve. The owner of a cottage allows visitors to access his open garden to see and photograph Swallowtails when they are present.
Golden-bloomed Grey Longhorn, Agapanthia villosoviridescens
Small Tortoiseshells were everywhere
We saw this famous Norfolk Hawker which has a yellow diamond on its back. The warden showed us pictures of it before we set off.
Swallowtail with a missing tail nectaring on a mass of blackberry flowers. I will upload a video of this.

Milk Parsley, the Swallowtail caterpillar's only foodplant
Small Tortoiseshell

Beautiful Demoiselle, Calopteryx virgo
Coots and cootling

Lapwing (Peewit)
Black-headed Gulls

Marsh Harrier

After a cup of tea at the cottage we set off for Pensthorpe Nature Reserve for a guided walk with head gardener Imogen Checketts and warden Edward Bramham-Jones. This lasted from 5:30 to 7:30pm, was well attended, informative and covered all aspects of Pensthorpe’s activities.. The gardens are well designed to accommodate the wild creatures that inhabit Pensthorpe’s grounds. Many of these were seen during the recent BBC Springwatch series. They had about a hundred people and hi-tec vehicles on site to create the programme.
Barnacle Geese
and gosling
An Avocet on the Scrape.
The Avocets became famous for raising their chicks in front of the Springwatch cameras
Hundreds of finger-sized frogs crossed the path during our tour
A Cuckoo chose this prominent perch to make its call

This is the view of the River Wensum where the Springwatch rivercam showed us otters and bats
Wilderness lake
The wild garden on the opposite bank has been replanted ten years after it was first created.
View from behind the Wild garden
Apart from offering a beautiful wild environment to nurture and view the local fauna and flora, Pensthorpe carries out captive breeding on a number of endangered species. This includes Red Squirrels which are released into a reserve in North Wales where the population is thriving. Another breeding programme involves Lady Amherst's Pheasant and the chicks are reared by a hen. Someone told us that the restaurant serves good food.

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