Saturday, 26 June 2010

Swallows and Amazons

We arrived back today from our holiday in the Norfolk Broads. I last visited this enchanting area in my third year at secondary school and Sue had never been there. The major objective of the holiday was to photograph the famous Swallowtail Butterfly which only breeds in the Fens of East Anglia. The larval food plant is Milk Parsley and this largest of our butterflies survived the last ice age in this one area. 
We stayed in a cottage at Clippesby Hall, a lovely complex which caters for campers, caravans and has large houses and cottages with plenty for kids to do. Our cottage was right on the edge, with a country walk out of the door and peacocks and partridge wandering by. It was clean and spacious with quality furnishings. We left Littlehampton on Sunday at 9:15am, arrived 3pm, motorway and dual carriageway most of the way (M23,M25,M11, A11, A47).

Monday 21st June
We arrived at Hickling Broad National Nature Reserve at 9:30 and it turned out to be the best of the Swallowtail reserves we visited. It is run by Norfolk Wildlife Trust and is very well laid out with bird hides and boardwalks across the fen parts. The warden was very helpful and advised where to find the Swallowtails. 
As soon as we arrived on the prescribed boardwalk a cluster of people told us we were at the right place. A Swallowtail had landed on the warm boardwalk and posed for some time. The sightings came steadily along this one area of boardwalk. The butterflies were seen flying above the reeds then landing on the yellow Flag Irises and feeding in the nectar.
The other food plant in the reserve is the Ragged Robin, but we only saw a few patches of this from the pathway and never saw Swallowtails on it.

We had a lunch break at The Greyhound where I enjoyed Woodforde’s Wherry Bitter (ABV 3.8%), one of the beers I have brewed at home.
I saw a Marsh Harrier (above), a Heron,  a Mallard with two ducklings hidden in the reeds and a Pied Wagtail also in the reeds.
A Chinese Water Deer looked at me from the path before dashing off into the reed beds.
There were lots of Garden Tiger Moth caterpillars, large very furry critters 7cms long and fast moving when we saw them on the path, probably looking for a place to pupate.
sedge warblers were constantly heard trilling away in the reeds
damsel and dragonflies were everywhere

Outside the cottage later Sue spotted a Red-legged Partridge with three chicks. An employee said partridge have always been around the area.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please select 'Name/URL' from 'Comment as' drop down box and add your name, thanks.