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Thorpe St Andrew Marshes - archive

Thorpe St Andrew Marshes – often called Thorpe Marshes for short – is the Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s nature reserve on the edge of Norwich, established in 2011.

This page is to hold photos and information that aren't current. If you've come to it by chance, please go click onto the main Thorpe Marshes page.

Thorpe Marshes through the year

November: the focus shifts to wintering birds. Ducks on St Andrews Broad can include gadwall (now the commonest, though tufted ducks may overtake them later), pochard, teal and wigeon, plus snipe and meadow pipits on the grazing marsh. There can still be bursts of bird song: Cetti's warbler, robin and wren. Water rail returns - see below, right.November view

October: an in-between time, as flowers and dragonflies are just the last-lingering types. It's a good time to see caddis flies emerging as moth-like adults, having spent their larval stage underwater in St Andrews Broad. Few winter birds have arrived, but if you're lucky one morning, you might see flocks of redwings and fieldfares moving west along the Yare Valley, having just arrived in the UK from Scandinavia. The livestock have gone and it's often wet and muddy.

dew on a dead dock flower headguelder rose berriescaddisfly
Mists (well, dew) and mellow fruitfulness: dew on a dead dock flower head; guelder rose berries; and a caddis fly (photos 10 Oct). The caddis is probably Limnephilus flavicornis, a common species found by lakes and ponds throughout Britain. Anglers know the Limnephilus species as 'Cinnamon Sedges'.

September: some of the high summer flowers below are carrying on into early autumn, marsh woundwort and angelica flowers especially. There are still dragonflies, damselflies and a few butterflies on sunny days. Mornings can be wet with dew, of course. Some birds are singing again, notably Cetti's warbler, robin and chiffchaff.

marsh woundwort angelica orange balsam
Flowers to look out for in September: marsh woundwort, angelica, orange balsam. Nodding bur marigold - see right.

August: the season of high summer flowers, with pink and purple dominant. Though there are fewer flowers on the grazing marsh, though there are species such as marsh ragwort and square-stalked St Johnswort. Look in ditches for frogbit, orange balsam, fool's watercress and the poisonous lesser water parsnip. Plus butterflies, dragonflies and, with luck, wading birds on passage.

commapeacock wingcomma underside
Comma, upper and underside, and a close-up of peacock's wing. 4 August 2013.

greater willowherb meadowsweet purple loosestrife

marsh woundwort frogbit rosebay willowherb
Top row: greater willowherb, meadowsweet, purple loosestrife.
Bottom row: marsh woundwort, frogbit in the ditches, rosebay willowherb.

July: bird song is petering out; occasional reed warblers and reed buntings may sing in the first half of July. It's a good month for dragonflies, damselflies and butterflies, when the weather's OK. Water soldiers & frogbit have white flowers in the ditches, and summer flowers like valerian and meadowsweet put on a show.

large skipper small tortoiseshell caterpillars marsh ragwort
Look out for in July: large skipper butterfly, small tortoiseshell caterpillars on stinging nettles and marsh ragwort.

June: bird song continues, though less so than in May. Usually a good month for dragonflies and damselflies. Not much to see on the Broad: swans with cygnets, great crested grebes, sometimes a common tern fishing. Yellow flag irises are dominant over parts of the grazed marsh.

ragged robin yellow flag iris hairy dragonfly exuvia
Wildlife in June: ragged robin, yellow flag iris and exuvia (shed larval skin) of hairy dragonfly. Timing and the small eyes are the ID clues.

May: the best month for bird song, with all the warblers in. Cuckoo, marsh harrier, passage birds ... these can all be absent, or nice surprises. Marsh marigolds and lady's smock remain the best flowers in the first half of May; sheets of buttercups and yellow flag irises later. Late this month, a chance of Norfolk hawker. Ducks still appear on the broad, but few and rather sporadically.

lady's smock sedge warbler large red damselfly
Wildlife in April/May: lady's smock, sedge warbler (Derek Longe) and Large Red Damselfly.

April: winter wildfowl, tufted ducks especially, are still here in the first half of the month, at least. Chiffchaffs sing and the next migrant warblers to arrive will be willow and sedge warblers, though perhaps later than usual this cold spring. Marsh marigolds and lady's smock are the star flowers later this month. Large Red Damselfly is the first damselfly to emerge, in late April or early May.

March: the first half of the month is still pretty wintry, with wintering ducks still using the Broad. Bird song is increasing, especially on bright days, with the prospect of the chiffchaff in the second half of the month ... and the first spring flowers, namely these below.

coltsfoot pussy willow lesser celandines
Flowers to look for in March: coltsfoot, pussy willow and lesser celandines.

Thorpe Marshes floods, March 2013, view from the railway bridge
Thorpe Marshes floods, 14 March 2013. Upper: view from the railway bridge. Lower: the marsh by the railway line.

Winter — December to February: the refuge value for birds of both marshes and broad increase when it's cold. Pochard numbers are increasing, and at times may outnumber tufted ducks. Teal and snipe numbers build, but vary, and sometimes a scarcer duck like a goosander or goldeneye appears. Cetti's warblers often sing.

view from Whitlingham
View of St Andrews Broad across the river from Whitlingham, Boxing Day 2012.

meadowsweet meadow vetchling valerian
Flowers showing in early July include meadowsweet, meadow vetchling and valerian.

irises and cattle ragged robin
Yellow flag irises, with pink ragged robin for contrast, 31 May.

marsh marigold early wintercress
Left and centre, flowers from April, still out in May: marsh marigold and lady's smock. Right: early wintercress, also known as intermediate wintercress Barbarea intermedia. Keep an eye out for the first few of some later flowers e.g. water speedwell, water forget-me-not and ragged robin.


Fungus feature

Blackfoot Polypore Meadowsweet Rust Triphragmium ulmariae
James Emerson found and photographed the blackfoot polypore, left, growing on a willow in the wooded area between Bungalow Lane and the river (29 June). He also found a name for the orange rust growing on meadowsweet: it is Triphragmium ulmariae, and it's near the gate (photo 30 June). Other meadowsweet plants have a white mildew on them, best guess Erysiphe ulmariae. (Meadowsweet is Filipendula ulmariae, so the names seem to link well.

Spider feature

Larinioides cornutus Larinioides cornutus Larinioides cornutus
Furrow spider Larinioides cornutus. These spider photographs are from 8 May 2015, from the riverside path. The white deadnettle flowers on the right give an idea of the relatively small size of this species. The fourth (right hand column) is the much larger nursery web spider Pisaura mirabilis. Thanks to Pip Collyer for the IDs. In the right hand column (near top) are more spiders, from autumn 2014.

Sightings - older ones from 2012 - 2016

2016


Teals and tufted ducks on the broad, 26 December.

31 December: chiffchaff!

25 December: 4 male shovelers & 52 gadwalls on the Broad; 2 stonechats.

20 December: 2 stonechats, 2 male wigeons on the Broad.

16 December: 2 stonechats, 3 pochard, 1 wigeon, c.345 black-headed gulls. Fungi on edge of wood including velvet shank and jelly ear.

14 December, guided walk: 2 stonechats, water rail, great spotted woodpecker, lots of tufted ducks & gadwalls, 2 shovelers, 2 lapwings.

12 December: 2 stonechats, 190 tufted ducks, 3 lapwings.

7 December: 1 stonechat, 92 tufted ducks, lower numbers of gadwall, mallard and teal.

2 December: female marsh harrier; 2 stonechats, 2 male shovelers on the Broad. Duck numbers seem to be building. 2-3 Chinese water deer.

29 November: 2 stonechats still there this frosty morning, today near the big bramble patch. Wildfowl etc as yesterday.

28 November: 2 stonechats are back, on marsh around flood. Seems to be lots of wrens this bright, frosty morning, and Cetti's warblers singing. Ducks as for 26th Nov; snipe, lapwing.

26 November: a handful of gadwalls, tufted duck and teals.

22 November: peregrine! Most of the duck have gone.

18 November: big arrival of ducks, 220 tufted ducks, 41 gadwalls, 6 teal, 2 pochard, 2 shovelers. Found Willow Emerald egg-laying scars on ash.

ducks on St Andrews Broad
Ducks on St Andrews Broad, the gravel pit, 18 November 2016.

11 November, guided walk: 8 snipe flying, another 7 settled; lapwing, 10 gadwalls, sparrowhawk. Dark bush cricket, Small Stag's Horn fungi, drinker moth caterpillar, various late flowers.

Small Stag's Horn (Calocera cornea) meadow pipit (Derek Longe)Dark bush cricket
Small Stag's Horn (Calocera cornea); meadow pipit (Derek Longe); dark bush cricketMore photos on Facebook here.

9 November: 4 teal. (No velvet scoter, reported yesterday at Whitlingham.)

30 October: female marsh harrier; 6 snipe; water rails calling in 3 places. [Recent reports again of stonechats and yellow-browed warbler.]

24 October, guided walk: snipe, lapwing, c.8 redwings over, 4+ meadow pipits.

Water shrew found dead - ID confirmed later after checking photo.

Water shrew (Susan Weeks). Note black-and-white appearance and white ear tuft.

water shrew (Susan Weeks)

22 October: stonechat, male, around big bramble patch. 6 Common Darters warming themselves on one fence, with more elsewhere, including in the ivy corner. Lapwing, snipe, water rail called.

Common Darter Willow Emerald on ivy
Common Darter and Willow Emerald on ivy, 20 October. 'Dragons and a damsel on ivy' photos on Facebook here.

20 October: bearded tits again, 1 seen; yellow-browed warbler, hawfinch over (MC). Willow Emerald on ivy, Common Darter (CD).

17 October: 2 bearded tits reported (MC).

11 October: snipe and redwing, signs of autumn. Water rail heard, several Cetti's warblers singing. Common Darters still egg-laying; Migrant Hawker; couldn't find a Willow Emerald.

ichneumon Amblyjoppa proteus female?
Ichneumon wasp on hogweed, 11 October: best guess is Amblyjoppa proteusfemale.

21 September, a.m.: Willow Emerald, Migrant and Brown Hawkers, Common Darters. Green woodpecker, little egret, 1 lapwing, water rail heard, Cetti's warbler and chiffchaff singing. p.m. 31 Willow Emeralds counted (DL).

13 September: 2 Willow Emeralds from railway bridge. 2 common sandpipers by St Andrews Broad.

8 September: c.20 Willow Emeralds (DL).

7 September: 6 x Willow Emeralds - without checking Bungalow Lane area.Nodding bur marigold (see right) very obvious, especially around flood area. 4 linnets over, 2 tufted ducks. Several Common Blue Damselflies looked like they'd recently emerged. Brown and Migrant Hawkers.

30 August: common sandpiper, lapwing, Willow Emeralds again.

26 August: minimum of 6, probably 8 Willow Emerald Damselflies at eastern end of the reserve. Also count of 12 today - DL. Ditch running parallel to Bungalow Lane seems to be the best place to see them.

23 August: 4 male Ruddy Darters holding territory, many Brown Hawkers and c.20 Migrant Hawkers, 2 tatty-looking Black-tailed Skimmers, Common Blue Damselfly. Common blue butterfly and other regular species. 2 little egrets in flight; c.21 lapwings on the west beach, a group (probably a family) of tufted ducks with them. Also 4 x Willow Emerald Damselflies (SW) at eastern end of the reserve.

5 August: Common and Ruddy Darters; 2-3 Norfolk Hawkers, perhaps the season's last; Brown Hawker now the commonest dragonfly. Reed warbler feeding two large youngsters. Failed to find yesterday's either of Thursday's Red-eyed Damsel species. Arrowhead in flower. Chinese water deer.

4 August, guided walk: Lots of wonderful high summer flowers. Spear-leaved orache noted.

Rutpela maculata
Angelica with Black and Yellow Longhorn Beetle Rutpela maculata (formerlyStrangalia maculata)

Red-eyed Damselfly Small Red-eyed Damselfly

Big news was after most the group had left: Small Red-eyed Damselfly(right), the 20th odonata species (dragonflies and damselflies) for the reserve. It's a species rapidly colonising the UK following its first appearance in 1999. Interestingly this male was in a ditch, characteristically on surface vegetation, namely some blanket weed, close to a male (Large) Red-eyed Damselfly (left), that was perched on a stick. Both photos were digiscoped.

3 August, evening walk with Norwich Bat Group: little egret. Five bat species: Daubenton's seen welll over the river and a clear sound record of Nathusius's pipistrelle. Noctules seen, soprano pipistrelles seen and heard well, less distinct sound record of common pipistrelle.

Beautiful China-mark (Derek Longe)

31 July: Beautiful China-mark moth; Emerald Damselfly; painted lady (DL).

Beautiful China-mark moth Nymphula nitidulata (Derek Longe). The third China-mark species of micro-moth seen here, after Brown and Small. Larval foodplants bur-reed, yellow water lily and others.

23 July, on the flood: 1 snipe, 1 water rail (did they breed? Yes, as young were seen in the last week on July). Emperor dragonfly.

18 July: small copper, 3 big juvenile gadwalls, kingfisher, Brown Hawker, a late Large Red Damselfly. Gatekeeper, Ruddy Darter (SW).

Black-tailed skimmer
Black-tailed Skimmers on show today, and still lots of Norfolk Hawkers.

15 July: 31 Norfolk Hawkers, Four-spotted Chaser, Brown Hawker, Common Darter (last two first of the summer). Commas looking to egg lay on nettles by riverside path. Little Egret and at least 10 lapwings (DL).

14 July: little egret, male Broad-boded Chaser, Chinese water deer. Buttonweed confirmed by the flood.

8 July, guided walk: grasshopper warbler, tufted duck with ducklings, Norfolk hawkers and more.

7 July, guided walk with CIEEM: two startling invertebrates, below. Also grasshopper warbler singing.

Crab spider Misumena vatia  mullein moth caterpillar
Crab spider Misumena vatia on a marsh ragwort; mullein moth caterpillar, but don't be fooled by the dock, it's actually on a figwort stem, one of its food plants.

4 July: ringlets, 38 Norfolk hawkers, black-tailed skimmers (SW).

2 July, with Society for the History of Natural History: large skipper, comma, grasshopper warbler singing.

30 June: meadow brown, mute swan with 5 cygnets, one a white 'Polish' type, tufted duck female with c.7 small ducklings, grasshopper warbler singing.

Count of 22 male Oedemera nobilis, the Thick-Legged Flower Beetle - right, on valerian.

Oedemera nobilis

28 June: count of 40 Norfolk Hawkers (DL).

clouded birder

20 June, evening, guided walk: kingfisher, clouded border moth, some evening dragonflies, good view of sedge warbler and reed bunting.

Clouded border (Derek Longe)

16 June: Broad-bodied Chaser male, 32 Norfolk Hawkers (DL/SW).

14 June, RSPB Norwich local group: hobby, male marsh harrier, common tern, willow warbler (and other warblers) singing.

12 June: 3 early marsh orchids found.

7 June: 2 x Norfolk Hawkers (SW)

6 June: four-spotted chaser, painted lady, diamond-backed moth - there seems to be a mini-invasion of these (DL/MC)

30 May: 2 common terns, c.30 house martins, 16 Canada geese. Ragged robin in flower.

Red-eyed Damselfly, immature, on telescope 23 May 2016
Red-eyed Damselfly, immature, on telescope 23 May 2016 ... see Trapped!

23 May, guided walk: 5 species of damselfly, including Large Red-eyed. Hairy Dragonflies mating. Lots of singing warblers. Harlequin ladybirds and many larvae.

22 May: 2 hobbies, male marsh harrier and egg-laying Hairy Dragonfly.

17/18 May: gadwall with chicks, peregrine (RC). 17/19 May: 4 x species of damselflies (DL, SW)

10 May: cuckoo, heard from home, dawn.

5 May: lesser whitethroat, reed warbler. Orange-tips, green-veined white. Large Red Damselfly (DL). Garden warbler (MC). 6 gadwalls: will last winter's management encourage them to nest?

24 April, evening: c.70 hirundines (c.60 swallows, 10 sand martins) over Broad. 2 green sandpipers, common sandpiper. "Possible but frustratingly distant pale phase booted eagle" I wrote ... but later shown to be buzzard.

Pale buzzard, photo by Drew Lyness

21 April: 7 warbler species, including grasshopper warbler. Common sandpiper.

19 April: first whitethroat, 1 grasshopper warbler (08:30), lots of sedge warblers, willow warbler and more.

18 April, dusk: 3 grasshopper warblers singing, 1 of which just off reserve to E. 46 tufted ducks. 3 noctules over river, 3 over west marsh. Several snipe (c.6).

13 April: 3 little ringed plovers, 3 green sandpipers, oystercatcher, 3 lapwings. Sedge warbler and blackcap singing; 8 lesser black-backed gulls. First lady's smock flower.

10 April: loud water rail and pair of gadwalls on extended flood: late winter birds or staying this year? Time will tell. 22 hirundines (c. 8 house martins, c.14 swallows), also sand martin. 51 tufted ducks still, 2 oystercatchers, 1 lapwing, great crested grebes displaying on Broad.

5 April: garden bumblebee, hairy-footed flower bee and smooth newts (JE).

4/5 April: sedge warbler, willow warbler, house & sand martins, swallows (RC).

30 March, guided walk: chiffchaffs, lapwing, gadwall, teal, tufted ducks. Flea beetles, small tortoiseshell, 7-spot ladybird. Marsh marigolds, coltsfoot, alexanders.

27 March: common scoter! Also 2 oystercatchers, weasel.

Right: common scoter on St Andrews Broad, with black-headed gull.

25 March: chiffchaffs and reed buntings singing. Lapwing and 4 oystercatchers. Two kingfishers flying around. 28 tufted ducks, just 2 teal. Coltsfoot still looks good.

common scoter

11 March: 60 tufted ducks, male shoveler, siskin over. Coltsfoot by the river looks great.

coltsfoot

24 February: 2 oystercatchers - a sign of spring?

great spotted woodpeckers

19 February, guided walk: 2 male shovelers, Chinese water deer, scarlet elf cup & yellow brain fungi.

Left: 2 male great spotted woodpeckers tussling (Derek Longe).

Cormorant confirmed as sinensis subspecies - below, with gadwalls.

12 February: lots of bird song first thing, reed bunting on territory. Low numbers of ducks. Scarlet elf cup by path from Bungalow Lane.

11 February: 58 lapwings (SW). Pintail x domestic mallard at River Green - see News, right.

3 February: firecrest reported near the river: wonderful picture on Twitter.

scarlet elf cup fungi

25 January: probable brimstone on Yarmouth Road, little egret, 10 cormorants, 8 lapwings.

Influx of ducks from Whitlingham CP: 218 tufted ducks (minimum), 51 pochards, 44 gadwalls, 1 shoveler, 1 goldeneye, 47 teal. Also Aythya hybrid (pochard x ferruginous duck) on the broad (MC) - reference photo on Yare Valley Wildlife website here.

21 January: 5 woodcocks at dusk, barn owl disturbed a jack snipe (MC).

18 January, guided walk: at least 2 Chinese water deer, 2 buzzards.

buzzard  Chinese water deer 
Buzzard, guided walk group, Chinese water deer (photos, 18 Jan, Derek Longe).

13 January: weasel on Bungalow Lane. 33 pochards (again!).

8 January, dusk: night heron heard (MC).
8 January: 133 tufted ducks, 33 pochards. Marsh marigold in flower (right)!

4 & 6 January: barn owl at dusk (MC).

2015

28 December: tufted duck 60, pochard 33. Lesser celandine and meadowsweet in flower! 2 Chinese water deer - an increasingly routine sighting.

22 December: shelduck, tufted duck 50. Excavated edges on the Broad popular for loafing gulls, including 47 herring gulls, also 3 lapwing. Kingfisher over new ponds. Another small tree with Willow Emerald egg-laying scars discovered.

11 December, on guided walk: weasel high in dead vegetation hunting a harvest mouse (identified from photos). Mild weather so still flowers: hogweed, cow parsley, angelica, white dead-nettle, perennial daisy, bramble, ivy-leaved toadflax and hedge mustard. Teals, gadwalls, tufted ducks, 2 herons. Several fungi including velvet shank, jelly ear and blushing bracket.

weasel and mouse (Derek Longe)
Weasel and harvest mouse (Derek Longe)

2 December: warm weather, a common carder-bee feeding in a white-dead-nettle flower and other insects on late-flowering hogweed. 8 meadow pipits.

28 November: male goosander flew over the broad, heading west.

25 November: green sandpiper, lapwing, snipe. 2 goldeneyes.

22 November: 4 goldeneyes, 15 teal. Grey wagtail, kingfisher, 2 redpolls. Snow!

November snow

20 November: 5 goldeneyes flew off, and 3 wigeons arrived. One pochard with the tufted ducks. Water rails squealing and Cetti's warblers singing.

4 November, on guided walk: 8 whooper swans flying over (several times, photo by Derek Longe below), 40+ snipe, 10 tufted ducks, single wigeon and shoveler females, sparrowhawk. Plus 31 flower species, listed here.

whooper swans overhead

1 November: comma butterfly, goldcrest, tufted ducks, snipe, still lots of caddis-flies.

29 October: comma butterfly, female goldeneye, redwings and skylarks over, several meadow pipits.


Autumn colours on guelder rose, with excavator behind.

23 October, guided walk: redpolls, redwings and skylarks over. Little egret.

  
Challenging conditions; male goldeneye; green woodpecker, all on guided walk today. Photos by Derek Longe.

22 October: 2 redpolls, 3 redwings over, water rail heard, hornet, caddis flies, Migrant Hawker. Diggers hard at work.

October sightings, various dates: 21 October, caddies flies showing (DL); 17 October, red-legged partridge (JE); 15 October, goldeneye, green sandpiper, water pipit, brambling over, 18 skylarks over, 173 redwings over (MC); 11 October, short-eared owl, ring ouzel (MC).

30 September: kingfisher on the river. Management work is underway.

meadow management
Cutting the marsh by the railway line where c20 years ago early marsh orchids were in good numbers before they disappeared as coarser vegetation took over. Let's hope this does the trick. More information here.

20 September, Willow Emerald update: 10 found by Derek Longe. I saw 3, but also found an additional five sets of egg-laying scars to the two known previously. Also Common Darter, Migrant & Brown Hawkers. 5 gadwalls.

18 September: Southern Hawker. 3 snipe (minimum), flew when a buzzard came near.

11 September: 2 male Willow Emerald damselflies. Tip: look for them on a sunny, sheltered spot, on branches or other vegetation over a ditch.

10 September: 3 curlews, 2 marsh harriers, c15 gadwalls, 30-40 teals, 3 snipe (IH). Water rail called, 2 buzzards, sparrowhawk, 2 tufted ducks, 2 chiffchaffs. 3 Willow Emeralds and lots of Migrant Hawkers. Also Common Darter, Common Blue Damselfly on river. Butterflies included holly blue and speckled wood.

female Willow Emerald Migrant Hawkers
Willow Emerald. Egg-laying? But not in tandem, yet a strange pose. And a pair of Migrant Hawkers.

4 September: a cool and grey morning for the monthly walk. Groups of feeding house martins and swallows. Lesser marsh grasshopper. Plenty of flowers still - those above and more, including skullcap still out.

1 September: Brown Hawker and Common Darter. Cetti's warbler singing. Nodding bur marigold in flower (right). Recent reports of Migrant Hawker, Willow Emerald Damselfly and Roesell's bush-cricket.

23 August: windy, but still very tame Ruddy and Common Darters, plus Red-eyed (still) and Common Blue damselflies. Several harlequin ladybirds. Angelica attracting wasps and hoverflies. Holly blue.

Ruddy Darter Common Darter
Ruddy darter: note the narrow waist and the black legs can be seen well against the pale stone. Common Darter on a reed.

16 August: common lizard, ruddy darter, green-veined whites and other usual butterflies, female tufted duck. Flowers in fine colour still.

orange balsam
Orange balsam against the river.

3 August, guided walk: 2 grey herons; large numbers of greylags (2 family parties?) on Broad. Goosander at River Green - see right. Flowers at their high summer best in the ungrazed areas, especially. Dragonflies: Brown Hawker, Emperor, Four-spotted Chaser, Black-tailed Skimmer, Common Darter (Ruddy Darter yesterday, SW).

Damselflies: Common Emerald (male), Common Blue, Red-eyed, Banded Demoiselle. Butterflies included small skipper, green-veined white, comma and peacocks.

Skullcap sawfly larva Athalia scutellariae. Photo (right) and ID thanks to Derek Longe.

skullcap sawfly larva
skullcap

1 August: 9 tufted ducks and 1 pochard came and went. Reed warbler singing.

Lots of flowers of high summer (as above); also skullcap (left) and the unusual white-flowered form of greater willowherb.

16 July: a good day for butterflies, with 10 species including small skippers, ringlets and green-veined white. The buddleia near the bridge is flowering attracting commas and others. Too early in the day for Norfolk Hawkers (18 in the afternoon, SW). Emperor and Brown Hawker dragonflies. 12 lapwings, pheasant family, common tern.

10 July, on guided walk: still lots of Norfolk Hawkers, 3 common terns. Flowers included celery-leaved buttercup and square-stalked St Johnswort. Fungi: buttercup rust and Dryad’s Saddle on a fallen poplar Polyporus squamosus (left)

30 June: 46 Norfolk Hawkers counted on a survey (SW).

18 June: 2 oystercatchers, some bird song still. Five species of damselflies, including Blue-tailed. Lots of celery-leaved buttercup around the now dry flood. Large skipper and painted lady: there's talk of an invasion year for the latter, though it won't be as dramatic as 2009.

7 June: 2 little egrets, 2 oystercatchers, lapwing. Willow warbler (and others) still singing well. Norfolk Hawkers and Hairy Dragonflies. Early marsh orchid - just the one.

27 May: at least 18 Red-eyed Damselflies on lilies in the river (+ 4 other damsel species, as below, and Hairy Dragonflies). Little ringed plover, 3 lapwings, garden warbler. Yellow flag irises looking gorgeous (below).

23 May: little egret, buzzard, nightingale nearby here (RC).

21 May: Banded Agrions emerging, by the river. Also Large Red Damselfly and Hairy Dragonfly. Also 'reed beetles': see picture, right. Plus (on 20/5) Azure and Red-eyed Damselflies (SW).

Common Blue Damselfly
Scores of Common Blue Damselflies around: many are blue, but lots are straw-coloured immatures.

18 May: about 20 house martins, two pairs of great crested grebes on a rather wet guided walk.

17 May, dusk: two nightingales singing just east of the reserve.

11 May: orange-tip transect - 16 males, 13 females. Green-veined white. Damselflies: Common Blues, and Large Reds, also one distant dragonfly (Hairy?). 2 gadwalls, 3 lapwings, 6 stock doves.Large Red Damselfly
Large Red Damselfly: the pink mountains are my knuckles. I was creeping up on it, and it landed on me.

10 May, evening: nightingale heard from the mooring basin area over in Whitlingham Country Park. Common sandpiper, 2 common terns, cuckoo. Chinese water deer.

4 May: nightingale singing still, just off the reserve. Hobby, female cuckoo with bubbling call, 2 little ringed plovers (RC).

3 May: otter!

2 May: cattle are back on the marshes today, mostly shorthorns, one red poll. Definitely two garden warblers in riverside scrub, with blackcap and whitethroat.

Left: egg-laying scars of Willow Emerald Damselfly, photographed today. Full size picture here.

30 April, with Rackheath WI: nightingale heard, 8 species of warblers, cuckoo.

29 April, late afternoon - nightingale in Bungalow Lane.

Photo, right, by Ricky Cleverley.

29 April, morning guided walk: cuckoo, garden warbler, buzzard, swallows and house martins. Eggs of orange-tip, egg-laying scars of Willow Emerald Damselfly. SpiderLarinioides cornutus.

nightingale
stickleback nest

29 April, continued: 3-spined stickleback 'nest'.-Photo, left, by Derek Longe.

27 April: first damselfly: a Large Red (JH). Broods of Canada goose and mallard on the broad and two teal - surely they'll go soon?

24 April: orange-tip butterflies, and an orange-tip egg on ladies smock (right).

23 April: 7 swifts in Yare Valley, also seen yesterday evening. Lots of warblers in song, including willow warblers, scarce last year.

orange-tip egg

22 April ... various dates and observers in previous week: reed warbler, nightingale in Bungalow Lane (gone now), green and common sandpipers, little ringed plover, orange-tip and green-veined white butterflies, alder fly.

11 April: sedge warbler in full song (also reported 10/4), first lady's smock flowers, Chinese water deer. Passage waders reported in last few days including green & common sandpipers, little ringed plover and greenshank (MC).

5 April: first marsh marigolds in flower, near mooring basin.

2 April: red kite (MB), also swallow yesterday (TB), coal tit.

31 March, on a blustery guided walk: chiffchaffs, reed buntings, buzzard, tufted ducks, 4 oystercatchers, small tortoiseshell, scarlet elf cup fungi.

29 March: very vocal chiffchaff, a visit that was supposed to be between showers ...

26 March: Chinese water deer flushed a jack snipe; recent report of barn owl at dusk (MB). Duck numbers declining.

20 March: kingfisher over the Broad; sunshine (once the eclipse had finished) brought out small tortoiseshells; flowers as above, especially a nice display of coltsfoot by the riverside footpath.

19 March: four (later 5) displaying oystercatchers, though they are unlikely to nest - much the same happened last March.

Last week (various dates): firecrest, woodcock, up to 5 oystercatchers, ringed plover, curlew, whimbrel, bittern seen flying over (17/3) and first butterflies on sunny days.

5 March: great crested grebes displaying (JH).

4 March: dunlin on gravel bank (MC).

1 March: 3 oystercatchers - 2 displaying.

20 February: on guided walk: chiffchaff, reed bunting singing, oystercatcher. Later: barn owl at dusk flushed a jack snipe; 3 water rails heard, chiffchaff, 2 x Chinese water deer (MC).

Scarlet elf cup velvet shank
Two colourful fungi this morning: scarlet elf cup (L) and velvet shank (R).

19 February: at least 3 reed buntings, including one singing. Also: merlin, woodcock, jack snipe, 3 bullfinches (RC) - quite a morning!

16 February: jack snipe and marsh harrier (JE).

6 February: buzzard, 19 lapwings. Mediterranean gull still at River Green.

2 February: unusual count of 29 herring gulls. Similar duck and lapwing numbers, though pochards down to 3 and no shovelers.

30 January: 22 pochards; 3 shovelers; 87 gadwalls; 100+ teal; 20 coots; 20 lapwings; c250 black-headed gulls and 2 herring gulls (JH).


Ducks concentrated on the unfrozen part of St Andrews Broad, 23 January 2014.

22 January: record count of teal - 257. Also, 121 gadwalls, 28 tufted ducks, 11 coots, male pochard. (JH) Broad mostly frozen.

Yellow Brain fungus

19 January: 3 wigeon (1 male). Fungi on guided walk: Velvet Shank, Hairy Curtain Crust, Oyster Mushroom, Blushing Bracket, Southern Bracket, Yellow Brain (left) & Smoky Bracket.

18 January: 120 gadwall, single male shoveler and female pochard.

15 January: 10 lapwings, 99 gadwalls, 91 teal; 38 tufted ducks and 1 little grebe on the Broad.

4 January: kingfisher on river; 2 water rails calling; male bullfinch; redwing. Counts (minimum, probably more) of 69 gadwalls, 17 teal and 21 tufted ducks, but goldeneyes gone.

2014

29 December: 2 goldeneyes, 8 lapwings, gadwall and tufted duck numbers building.

27 December: 4 shovelers, 1 male wigeon, 4 lapwings, 1 goldeneye.

23 December: 2 goldeneyes; other winter duck numbers building up, namely 30 gadwalls, 35 tufted ducks, a few teal and 2 coots. Dead swan on the marshes.

15 December: kingfisher on a ditch (distant shot, above), Chinese water deer, goldeneye, lots of snipe, song thrush eating guelder rose berries.

11 December, on guided walk: goldeneye, 2 wigeons, gadwall, tufted duck, teal. Water rail heard. Lots of snipe: c.40, probably lots more, 4 lapwings.

5 December: water rail showed. Tufted ducks, gadwalls, little grebe on pit.

26 November: redwing, goldcrest, grey wagtail, vocal water rails again.

crocodile

24 November: c.25 snipe, water rail vocal, green woodpecker. Heron, tufted duck, gadwall and cormorants on the broad.

Crocodile in the River Yare. Or it might be a log.

24 November: c.25 snipe, water rail vocal, green woodpecker.

Limnephilus lunatus

19 November: goldeneye has gone. Feeling wintry. A red admiral reported.

Last few caddis flies around: this one on hogweed probably Limnephilus lunatus, with the half-moon shape at the wing end.

18 November: goldeneye still there, with 7 tufted ducks and a little grebe.

15 November: female goldeneye reported, on the Broad.

ruby tiger moth caterpillar

10 November: on guided walk, some 30 species of flowers found (list here). c20 snipe, 6 meadow pipits on the marsh. Hoverflies (as below), common carder bee, nursery web spider.
Ruby tiger moth caterpillar (photo, Derek Longe).

Today's warmth brought out Common Darters, this one sunbathing, others in tandem and egg-laying (10 November 2014). Seen again on 12 Nov but not since.

4 November: Common Darters still egg-laying. Every hogweed flower seems to have a hoverfly and/or a caddis fly. Teals, snipe, Migrant Hawker.

marmalade fly Episyrphus balteatus Syrphus ribesii Eristalis tenax
Three November hoverflies on hogweed: marmalade fly Episyrphus balteatus; Syrphus ribesii; Eristalis tenax (not to scale) . . . unless anyone can come up with better IDs?

1 November: Common Darter, 3 stock doves but not many birds, plenty of last lingering flowers and insects.

24 October, on guided walk: long-winged conehead, caddis flies, hornets, common carder bees. Little egret (2 sightings), snipe, water rail heard, c.120 teal, 5 shovelers, Cetti's warbler singing. All without going across the flooded marshes.

Nursery web spider Pisaura mirabilis, 24 October.

nursery web spider Pisaura mirabilis

23 October: marsh paths still under water (pics below), but riverside footpath OK. Water rail heard x 2, c.100 teal, 4 shoveler over, lots of snipe.

23 Oct 2014

22 October: reserve flooded in the wake of hurricane Gonzalo.


Photos by Jeremy Halls

17 October: 3 Willow Emeralds, again including a mating pair, but in a different area. Common & Ruddy Darter, Migrant Hawker. 3 buzzards over the wood, c. 30 teal, lots of snipe and several meadow pipits.

3 October: 5 Willow Emeralds, including a mating pair (right). Common Darter & Migrant Hawker also egg-laying. Buzzard, kestrel, sparrowhawk, 4 snipe (minimum); Chinese water deer. Frog - surprisingly scarce, I find.

30 September, with BESL team: long-winged conehead and dark bush cricket; otter spraint; great view of a buzzard. Several kingfisher sightings on the river. Common & Ruddy Darters and Migrant Hawkers. Common lizard reported.

long-winged conehead dark bush-cricket
Long-winged conehead and dark bush cricket; the latter also has long antennae but cropped from this photo.

27 September: Ruddy Darter and other late dragonflies still showing.

26 September: Cetti's warbler & chiffchaff singing. Snipe. Whinchat reported.

18 September: Willow Emerald (my first ... another photo, left, also see NWT Blog). Ruddy and Common Darters in tandem, Migrant and Brown Hawkers.

17 September: whinchat. Also 2 green sandpipers and first snipe reported.

16 September: Willow Emerald Damselfly! New species for the reserve, though I missed it. It's recently colonised the UK but is already known from Strumpshaw Fen and west of Norwich, so we were looking and hoping to find it. Also lots of Migrant Hawkers, 14 lapwings and skullcap (photo in July, below).

Right: Willow Emerald Damselfly (Susan Weeks)

Willow Emerald

5 September: on guided walk, 4 dragonfly species (as 3 Sept) and lots of 4-spot orb web spiders Araneus quadratus (and a male garden/cross spider, ID after looking at photos); nodding bur marigold, both with and without flower 'rays'. Old lady moth, dead on railway bridge.

3 September: at least 10 male Ruddy Darters, similar numbers of Brown Hawkers (right) and 20+ Migrant Hawkers. Also common darter. Orb web spider.

Ruddy Darter
Male Ruddy Darter, 3 September - landed on my hand!

19 August: blackcap and chiffchaffs with mixed tit flock (long-tailed, blue, great). Late summer swallow - migrants? - especially with the cattle. A few Brown & Migrant Hawkers, but chilly and they soon disappeared.

red bartsia water mint with common carder bee
Red bartsia; water mint with common carder bee. Both 19 Aug (see NWT blog).

12 August: guided walk, again blustery. Lots of house martins and several swifts. Water boatmen; 3 darter species. 3 damsels: Banded Agrion, Red-eyed and Common Blue (right, in tandem, digiscoped).

9 August: windy morning, but still 6 dragonfly species. Migrant Hawkers the most common: some emerging females, I think. Brown & Southern hawker, Black-tailed Skimmer and both Common & Ruddy darters. No Norfolk Hawkers gone. Lots of pink and purple flowers - as in photo selection above, also red bartsia.

Common Blue Damselflies

2 August: a selection of invertebrates found and photographed by James Emerson.

Dock Bug, late instar Dingy Footman longhorn beetle
Dock Bug, late instar (they go through several stages); Dingy Footman moth; Spotted Longhorn Beetle Rutpela maculata.

23 July: a bit windy but still five species of dragonflies (Norfolk & Brown Hawkers, Emperor, 4-spot Chaser and Black-tailed Skimmer) and six of damselflies (Emerald, Common Blue, Azure, Red-eyed, Blue-tailed, Banded Agrion). Must be missing some dragons: no sign of the Ruddy Darters of last week, nor the Common Darter and Southern Hawker that have been in my garden up the road.

Skullcap, right, on a ditch edge near the stile a nice find - I don't remember seeing this for a while.

skullcap

16 July: great morning for dragonflies and damselflies, five species of each. Dragons: Emperor, Brown Hawker (newly on the wing), Norfolk Hawkers (plenty, but fewer), 4-spot Chaser; Ruddy Darters just out. Damsels: Common Blue, Azure, Banded Agrion, Red-eyed and at least 4 powder blue & green male Emeralds. Also small skipper and many other butterflies.

Emperor dragonfly ruddy darter female ruddy darters Emerald damselfly
Emperor dragonfly; Ruddy Darter female, just emerged; pair of Ruddy Darters; Emerald Damselfly (= Emerald Spreadwing). Also see NWT blog.

Rhagonycha fulva

12 July: Norfolk Hawkers still there in good numbers, plus 4 species of damselfles, including Azure. Painted lady on buddleia. Buzzard over, 5 lapwings.

Common red soldier beetle Rhagonycha fulva: this red beetle is everywhere on hogweed and other invertebrates, though here on goldenrod.

11 July: a flock of lapwings over - very autumnal! Oystercatchers, common tern. Lots of summer flowers, but a gloomy day takes away their impact. Emperor dragonfly, 4 x damselfly species. Ringlets in dry, grassy places (photo, right). Evening on guided walk: curlew! Also noctule bat later.

1 July: at least 20 Norfolk Hawkers. Five damselfly species: Common Blue, Large Red-eyed, Blue-tailed, Banded Agrions and my first ever Emerald.

Common Emerald Damselfly, female.

See also garden tiger moth caterpillar in right hand column.

23 June: a lot of Norfolk Hawkers. Red-eyed Damselflies and Banded Agrions still on the water-lilies on the river. Evening guided walk: close up views of Norfolk Hawkers; tufted duck with brood of 4 on Broad.

18 June: little egret flying over. Kingfisher on the river; they seem to be flying past fairly regularly, suggesting a nest somewhere on this part of the Yare.

17 June: lots of Norfolk Hawkers. Large skippers. Cuckoos quiet now.

2 June: kingfisher, cuckoo, oystercatchers.

31 May: marsh harrier, kingfisher, Norfolk Hawkers (JE). Early marsh orchid and white ragged robin. Swan with 5 cygnets on the broad.


New damselfly for the reserve today: Blue-tailed Damselfly, immature form rufescens. One of six species today: also Large Red (JE), Banded Agrion, Common Blue, Azure, Red-eyed.

26 May: Red-eyed Damselflies - at least 17 - on lily pads on the river (poor photo, R), with Banded Agrions and Common Blue damsels. 2 x shelduck, 2 lapwings, cuckoo singing.

red-eyed damselfly

19 May, guided walk: 2 hobbies, lots of warblers of 7 species, common sandpiper on river, common tern, 2 oystercatchers. Four species of damselflies, including 4 male Banded Agrions, Hairy Dragonflies, small tortoiseshell caterpillars.

Right: large jawed orb web spider Tetragnatha montana with prey, a Common Blue damselfly.

large jawed orb web spider

18 May: water vole! Azure damselfly and hairy dragonflies, again. Now 5 reed warblers. 2 x shelduck, 2 x common tern (JE).

azure damselfly
Azure damselfly, 14 May

14 May: now 4 reed warblers, and cuckoo. Four damselfly species today: 100s of common blue, azure, large red and banded demoiselle.

Also hairy dragonfly - female, right, with water soldier.

hairy dragonfly

11 May: 3 reed warblers singing. Ragged robin and yellow flag iris in flower.

6 May: swifts, bullfinch, garden warbler, oystercatcher. Two broods of greylags (still).

2 May: common sandpiper, oystercatcher, kingfisher. 2 cuckoos (MB).

30 April, guided walk: 2 common sandpipers, 4 lapwings over, 2 buzzards, sparrowhawk. Lots of warblers including garden warbler by the river and lesser whitethroat heard, though it's the vocal whitethroats and sedge warblers that are most obvious. 5 butterfly species, freshly emerged damselflies, 2 unidentified dragonflies. Lady's smock and marsh marigold looking great.

28 April: cuckoo! A female - bubbling call heard.

25 April: whimbrel (RC)

24 April: seven species of warblers, especially lots of sedge warblers & whitethroats and the first reed warbler. Dozens of orange tip butterflies - mostly females laying on lady's smock (see pic, right). 35 tufted ducks.

orange tip egg

10 April: 4 swallows, 3 oystercatchers, 6 lapwings, 105 tufted ducks. Water boatmen in a recently excavated ditch. Lots of butterflies - small tortoiseshells, peacocks, orange-tips. And a rather tame chiffchaff - right.

6 April: sedge warbler singing (also reported earlier this week). Reports of willow warbler, little ringed plover.

30 March: much as two weeks ago: chiffchaffs, lady's smock on one corner, first marsh marigolds if you know where to look.

14 March, guided walk: two chiffchaffs singing, comma as well as small tortoiseshells. Duck numbers (4 species on the Broad) down on yesterday, though a pair of mallards was back on the marshes.

13 March: chiffchaff singing, water rail, buzzard, two pairs of oystercatchers displaying on the recently rotovated shingle. Small tortoiseshells, first lady's smock in flower - and the flowers in the pictures above.

25 February: 164 tufted ducks, but hardly any other wildfowl. 2 jack snipe.

21 February on guided walk: displaying sparrowhawks, c.20 snipe, singing reed bunting, 4 duck species, 4 gull species, 3 great crested grebes in breeding plumage.

19 February: 2 male shovelers on the Broad, 3 meadow pipits.

18 February: two wigeons on the Broad; c100 snipe.

16 February: a seal (probably a grey seal) reported in the river.

13 February: buzzard over the reserve. Pochard numbers have risen to 38, 70 tufted ducks, 10 teal, 55 gadwall. A dog walker reported water vole.

4 February: a sparrowhawk disturbed at least 80 snipe. Gadwalls up to 77 and 5 pochard - mostly not there this winter.

2 February: mild and rather birdless; 59 gadwalls. Ditching underway.

digger on the path path closed ditch
Digger on the permissive path; closed path; after ditching work.20 January: colder

20 January: colder weather, bringing more snipe onto the marshes for weather, bringing more snipe onto the marshes for today's monthly walk. Great crested grebes displaying on the river.

16, 18 & 19 January: goldeneye again, seen to fly to Whitlingham on 18/1. 16/1: Teal calling hidden from view near the permissive path.

10 January: 1 goldeneye with 107 tufted ducks and, briefly, 10 pochards. 57 gadwalls, 8 lapwings and c28 snipe on the edge of the Broad - probably many more hidden from view. Great crested grebe on the river in spring plumage.

3 January: mild weather, and duck numbers remain quite low: 62 gadwalls, 23 tufted ducks. 6 lapwings.

2013

29 December: 110 snipe flushed by a sparrowhawk (Justin Lansdell).

14 December: two peregrines; influx of tufted ducks and pochard when disturbed at Whitlingham CP. (James Emerson)

12 December: c25 snipe (probably many more present) and c25 teal.

6 December: teal flock and many gulls on the flooded marsh. Cetti's warbler singing.

NWT Thorpe Marshes from the railway bridge
View over NWT Thorpe Marshes from the railway bridge, 6 December.

1 December: 25 teal on flood, several snipe, a few tufted ducks and gadwalls on the broad; 2 water rails calling.

9 November, on guided walk: flock of fieldfares, two water rails heard, several flocks of starlings heading west along the Yare Valley, c20 snipe. How many flower species can you find in November? Find out here.

1 November: redpoll, snipe, but no winter ducks yet. Common darter. Several late lingering flowers, especially hogweed re-growth.

common green shield bug 5th instar

14 October: 2 kingfishers; one perched briefly on the gate by the stile. More redwings moving. Goldcrest and treecreeper with mixed tit flock in Whitlingham Lane.

 

Left: common green shield bug Palomena prasina, 5th instar (larval form), on a stinging nettle, 14 Oct.

13 October: caddis flies on late-flowering hogweed flowers. First wintering gadwalls: 6 on the flood. Redwings on the move overhead.

6 October: many scores of emerging caddies flies.

They appear to be Limnephilus lunatus from the half-moon shape at the wing's end.

Limnephilus lunatus caddis-fly

23 September: 70 lapwings, 4-5 snipe, meadow pipit ...all signs of autumn. Buzzard, Cetti's warbler singing, still plenty of migrant hawkers and common darters.

18 September: ruddy darter, lots of migrant hawkers and common darters, 55 lapwings on a much wetter flood.

9 September, on guided walk: ruddy darters mating, common darter, southern and brown hawkers. Willow warbler & whitethroat seen, chiffchaff and Cetti's warbler heard. Kingfisher on the river.

It's not the best of photos - digiscoped - but it was exciting to find this pair of ruddy darters on the guided walk.

pair of ruddy darters

23 August: strong bat detector readings at 55kHz shows they are soprano pipistrelles feeding over the marshes.

21 August: ruddy darter (below), emerald damselfly and clouded yellow (Ricky Cleverley & James Emerson). New reserve blog.

ruddy darter (Ricky Cleverley)

18 August: 18 lapwings on the dry flood. Odonata: brown and southern hawkers, common darter and common blue damselflies.

Eight butterfly species: large, small and green-veined white, small tortoiseshells increasing in number and peacocks decreasing, meadow brown, comma, common blue. The semi-parasitic red bartsia is in flower, though tricky to find.

8 August: two green sandpipers flew over; a male tufted duck as well as the brood on the gravel by the Broad. Southern and brown hawkers, but Norfolk hawkers seem to be gone. Lots of butterflies: small copper an additional species. Twin-lobed deerfly, Chrysops relictus, a type of horse-fly.

4 August: 4 lapwings on the dry flood, a common sandpiper on the Broad's edge and the female tufted duck still has with 6 young on the Broad.

Buddleia is alive with butterflies: at least 50 peacocks, painted lady and comma among 10 butterfly species. Red common darters are out; also black-tailed skimmer and emperor dragonflies.

common darter
Common darter, close-up: note two large yellow patches on the thorax and pale stripe on legs (4 Aug).

24 July: small tortoiseshell caterpillars on nettles, still lots of Norfolk hawkers. Lots of flowers: white flowers of frogbit in ditches, meadowsweet, marsh woundwort, greater (marsh) birdsfoot trefoil and much more.

large skipper small tortoiseshell caterpillars marsh ragwort
Look out for in July: large skipper butterfly, small tortoiseshell caterpillars on stinging nettles and marsh ragwort (but there's also common ragwort on dry paths).

16 July: counted 17 small tortoiseshell butterflies. Whitethroat and reed bunting still singing.

7 July: tufted duck with 6 young on the Broad.

30 June: dragonflies are out, at last. Lots of Norfolk hawkers, hairy dragonfly, emperor, plus banded demoiselle and common blue damselflies in their hundreds. Tree bumblebee - a recent Norfolk colonist - see right. Warblers still singing, including sedge, reed, Cetti's and blackcap and whitethroat and the garden warbler is still there. c10 small tortoisehell butterflies, and 16 lapwings on the dried flood.

Small tortoiseshel
Small tortoiseshell butterflies seem to like valerian (30 June).

13 June: garden warbler singing in scrub by the river, and other warblers also singing. Common tern, lapwing (non-breeder or failed breeder?), lots of common blue damselflies.

29 May: fox, oystercatcher and common tern on today's slightly damp walk. Some 50 house martins hawking for insects, mostly over the broad, and lots of warblers in song.

reed warbler whitethroat blackcap
Warblers to look for: reed warbler, whitethroat and blackcap (Paul Davidson).

29 April: several swifts (about 10), and many swallows. Whitethroat, lesser whitethroat and sedge warbler on today's NWT walk, and a Cetti's warbler sang and showed very well by the bridge. Marsh marigolds are superb.

14 April: just one Cetti's warbler singing: it seems likely that this resident warblers has been hit hard by the cold winter. Lots of chiffchaffs and a swallow, but no other warblers yet. First lady's smock (cuckoo flower) in a protected corner and a small tortoiseshell butterfly. Reports in the last week of goldeneye and little ringed plovers.

7 April: 4 shovelers and 88 tufted ducks on the broad, plus a bulky mute swan nest in the reedmace. Male marsh harrier, water rail; 4 green sandpipers and at least 14 teals on the flood. Chiffchaff (at last!) and reed bunting in song.

14 March: ducks numbers have declined – 42 tufted ducks, 19 pochards – and the usual gadwalls are absent, though mallards have appeared on the flooded marshes. (And lower numbers of ducks subsequently.) First coltsfoot and celandines – see pictures above.

2 March: still very good numbers of ducks on the Broad: 134 tufted ducks, 73 pochards, 42 gadwalls and 10 teals on the flood and broad.


Winter ducks on St Andrews Broad, 2 March.

4 February: about 120 teal on the almost inaccessible marshes (due to flooding).

30 January: 2 male wigeons among many ducks on the broad.

21 January: 2 Chinese water deer; 2 water rails; still a high numbers of ducks on the broad.

20 January: count of 178 of gadwalls, pochards and tufted ducks on the unfrozen Broad. Ringtail hen harrier, water rail, siskins.

11 January: 2 male goldeneyes (below). About 70 teal, mostly males.

9 January: how many snipe are hidden on the marsh? I'd struggled to find nine — three at the back of the Broad and six moving around the flood. Then at 10:45, flocks of birds, so dense that at first they looked like starlings, but were snipe. I estimated 200, including one in the claws of a peregrine, which headed west towards the cathedral, explaining the disturbance causing the snipe to take to the air. A second peregrine showed, very briefly. Then distant skeins of c.70 geese: too distant for a certain ID, but almost certainly pink-feet.

2012
26 December (a.m.): male goosander on the Broad, gone in the afternoon. About 150 siskins and redpolls in a mixed flock.

16 December: female goosander on the Broad. No sign of yesterday's grebe. Note: there's a ring-necked duck (e.g. here) at Whitlingham: will it visit us across the river?

15 December: Slavonian grebe on the Broad (photo in right hand column).

13 December: some nine-tenths of the Broad frozen. Male shoveler and c25 teals have joined the other ducks in the open water. Noisy water rail again, and a marsh tit in the sallows.

11 December: in icy conditions, at least 60 snipe around the frozen flood. Water rail and redpolls close to the railway bridge. Green sandpiper flew into the broad's edge. Tufted ducks (30), gadwalls (21) and one male pochard on the broad.

22 November: not a single duck on the pit. OK, it's mild, but where are they?

13 November: noon, a large bat, probably a noctule, flying at tree-top level over the broad and river, chased by black-headed gulls.

9 November: water rail calling (picture, top right). Keep eyes and ears out for redpolls (the bird, not the cattle!) - see pictures, right.

12 October, guided walk (a wet morning): wigeon flying to Whitlingham, gadwall, teal, tufted duck, redwing. Water stick insect (thanks, Vicki!) Cetti's warbler singing.

10 September: robins and Cetti's warbler singing, tufted duck, great crested grebe and cormorant on the broad.

7 September, guided walk: green sandpiper; common darter, migrant hawker and brown hawker dragonflies, and common damselflies; orange balsam and nodding bur marigold (see photos right and above).

10 August, guided walk: much as yesterday, lapwing count of 50 when they flew, but no green sandpipers; square-stalked St John's-wort and orange balsam in flower (right).

9 August: c.45 lapwings and four green sandpipers on the flood. Dragons & damsels: emperor, 4-spot chaser, black-tailed skimmer, lots of common darters, banded agrion, abundant common blue damsels.

upright hedge parsleyupright hedge parsley fruit
Upright hedge parsley: the fruit have purple hooked bristles (9 August)

27 July: lapwings on the flood, Norfolk hawker still (but for how long?), black-tailed skimmers.

peacockcommon lizardlarge red damselfly

Recent sightings & photos from Julia Weaver: peacock butterfly (30 May); common lizard on railway bridge (10 July); large red damselfly on water soldier (25 July)

9 July: mullein moth caterpillars (see photospot, below), ringlet butterfly, four little ringed plovers, purple loosestrife flowering; grasshopper warblers singing at dusk on NWT walk.

Photospot: mullein moth caterpillars on figwort, 9 July 2012

mullein moth caterpillar mullein moth caterpillar mullein moth caterpillar

5 July: little egret, wood sandpiper, lots of dragonflies.

30 June: four dragonfly species (see below) on the NWT open day in national insect week, plus their larvae and other aquatic life found in the pond-dipping, including a stickleback, leech, water boatman and various beetles. Plus water vole!

Dragons and damsels

It's the ideal time to see dragonflies and damselflies. Dragonflies: look for the green-eyed Norfolk hawker, big emperors, hairy dragonfly and four-spot chasers, all in and around dykes. Black-tailed skimmers tend to land on stones on the path to the gate/stile (e.g. right).

common blue damselfly

Norfolk hawker
Norfolk hawker Aeshna isosceles (Ian Lovering). The triangle - as in the scientific name - is visible, on the body between the hind wings, but in the field its green eyes are a better ID feature.

Left: male common blue damselfly, often abundant, with browner females. The pink behind is ragged robin.

26 June: wood sandpiper reported, also on 24/6; little ringed plovers; still lots of bird song, including grasshopper warbler; common tern; dragonflies and damselflies showing, at last (see right).

21 June, on RSPB Norwich local group walk: two singing grasshopper warblers among eight warbler species; a distant flying little egret; common tern.

15 June, on evening NWT walk: wonderful views of barn owl, two marsh harriers, two little ringed plovers, cuckoo singing still.

grasshopper warbler
Grasshopper warbler, 9 June.

7 June, dusk: grasshopper warbler singing by the railway bridge; cuckoo. Barn owl, marsh harrier and garden warbler reported by other birdwatchers. Valerian in flower.

31 May, evening: at least four reed buntings singing, and a barn owl. Yellow flag irises looking gorgeous in the evening light.

23 May: I was lucky enough to see a female orange-tip butterfly laying eggs on lady's smock. She seemed to be selecting those in bud - presumably the freshest and most nutritious for the caterpillar.

female orange tip
Left: the egg is on the stalk of the right hand flower bud. Right: female orange tip taking nectar on early wintercress.

21 May: lots of low-flying feeding house martins and swifts over the broad and the flood on a cool and overcast NWT walk (see full list in the RH column).

Right: this slightly tatty eyed hawkmoth Smerinthus ocellata was found by a group member. The 'eye' is just visible on the left hindwing. Larval foodplants include sallow (pussy willow), common on Thorpe Marshes.

eyed hawkmoth

20 May: a cuckoo was seen and heard singing its two-note song with a musical interval of a major third - rather than the classic minor third of a spring cuckoo. Follow the link for more on the minor third in cuckoos, other birds and culture. Two birdwatchers reported a marsh harrier. Sedge, reed, Cetti's and willow warblers, whitethroats and reed buntings all singing.

7 May: reed warblers and whitethroats are in, lots of swifts and house martins. Hobby and yellow wagtail.

20 April: on NWT walk: grasshopper warbler heard, sedge & willow warblers, meadow pipit in song flight, 38 tufted ducks.

17 April: 2 swallows; single sedge & willow warblers singing; 2 male red buntings. Eight tufted ducks, 3 of which were females, on the broad: will any stay to breed or are these a non-breeding group? The cattle are back - this year including red polls, a hardy breed. Later: 2 cuckoos, 2 buzzards over, 6 swallows, 3 little ringed plovers, 2 teal (RC).

8 April: single sedge & willow warblers and a handful of sand martins reported, but main arrivals not yet in (though willow warblers over the river at Whitlingham CP yesterday).

2 April: goldeneye has gone! 5 stock doves (they are regular here).

1 April: male goldeneye still there, gadwalls in display flight.

31 March: 4 little ringed plovers, 6 Cetti's warblers singing, 1st willow warbler heard (MB)

28 March – goldeneye still, 4 oystercatchers (2 on territory, perhaps), first lady's smock flowers. Picnics and BBQs in the warm weather - and why not?

23 March (on guided walk) – several chiffchaffs, goldeneye, brimstone buttterfly, reed buntings and Cetti's warblers singing.

20 March – first chiffchaff singing, first marsh marigold of the year

15 March – 112 tufted ducks, 1 immature male goldeneye, 1 black-tailed godwit, kingfisher.

14 March – 1 avocet swimming on the gravel pit

1 March – 30 lapwings, 47 pochards, 2 oystercatchers, water rail calling, red admiral butterfly.

29 February – 1 green sandpiper, mallards back having been absent all winter.

Fungus feature

Blackfoot Polypore Meadowsweet Rust Triphragmium ulmariae
James Emerson found and photographed the blackfoot polypore, left, growing on a willow in the wooded area between Bungalow Lane and the river (29 June). He also found a name for the orange rust growing on meadowsweet: it is Triphragmium ulmariae, and it's near the gate (photo 30 June). Other meadowsweet plants have a white mildew on them, best guess Erysiphe ulmariae. (Meadowsweet is Filipendula ulmariae, so the names seem to link well.

Our main Thorpe Marshes page.

Photos on this page taken by Chris Durdin at Thorpe St Andrew Marshes, unless otherwise noted.

News, old

koniks

This sign was displayed during September 2016. It reads:

"Please be aware that, after a calf was killed in a dog attack on this site recently, all cattle have been removed.

They have been replaced by Konik ponies. Do not approach the ponies and keep your dogs on a lead or under very close control."

Management work, autumn 2015: expect to see reserve management underway, including marshes cut, ditches managed and excavation. Subject to ground conditions, naturally. More information here.

Drownings at NWT Thorpe Marshes: two teenagers drowned in St Andrews Broad on 12 August 2015. More, including comment from NWT and emergency services, in the EDP here. Inquest verdict of accidental death, October 2016, more here.

Goosander at River Green: the group on 3 August 2015 was tipped off (thank you, Drew) about an immature male goosander with the semi-domestic ducks and the swans (see pic) at River Green. Its tameness and origins are a mystery.

goosander

Fenced area on shingle spit: this is because there is a patch of the invasive alien Crassula helmsii (New Zealand pigmyweed or Australian swampcress) that could spread if trampled, and the fence is pending safe removal of the plants. (June)


small tortoiseshell on watermint

Small tortoiseshell on watermint

nodding bur marigold

Nodding bur marigold, photographed 7 September

Broad-bodied Chaser

Broad-bodied Chaser, male, 16 June 2016 (Derek Longe). Also seen 29 June (JM), 14 July (CD) and 18 July (SW) and later dates.

Only occasional at Thorpe Marshes, additional to the regular 18 species of dragonflies and damselflies. It looks like the new ponds and dug out ditches have attracted this as a regular visitor ... but will it breed? Please keep an eye out, especially for a female.

skullcap

Skullcap, so named as the flowers resemble “miniature medieval helmets”, but that takes some imagination to see.

Ichneumon wasp - Amblyteles armatorius

Ichneumon wasp Amblyteles armatorius 30 June 2016

reed

Reed, in the foreground, and trees near the railway line.

path and meadowrue

The permissive path that runs parallel to the railway line, with meadow-rue.

Photos on this page taken by Chris Durdin at Thorpe St Andrew Marshes, unless otherwise noted.

Thorpe Marshes archive materialhere.

blushing bracket fungus

Blushing bracket fungus, 11 December 2015

Azure Damselflies

Azure Damselflies egg-laying, 6 July 2015

chiffchaff

Above: chiffchaff (Derek Longe)

yellow brain fungus

Yellow brain fungus, on ash, 19 February 2016

Willow Emeralds

A pair of Willow Emeralds, 3 Oct. She seems to be egg-laying into the bark of this ditch-side alder.

water rail
Water rail, 7 April 2013

nursery web spider

Nursery web spider Pisaura mirabilis

Araneus quadratus

4-spot orb web spider, Araneus quadratus 30 Sept 2014. Interesting to see how much darker this is than the one photographed in early September, below.

Araneus marmoreus var pyramidatus

Araneus marmoreus var pyramidatus, an orb web spider. In Whitlingham Lane, 18 September 2014.

Brown Hawker

Brown Hawker, 3 Sept 2014

orb web spider

4-spot orb web spider, Araneus quadratus 3 Sept 2014

Migrant Hawker, female

Migrant Hawker, female. Note the 'golf tee' mark just behind the wing bases.

Norfolk Hawker

Norfolk Hawker, 23 July 2014

ringlets

Ringlets

common hemp-nettle

Common hemp-nettle: rather dull-looking flower at first glance, but with a subtle beauty when magnified. Haven't yet named the hoverfly

mayfly

Mayfly (Ian Lovering), May 2014

large red damselfly

Large red damselfly, 14 May 2014

migrant hawker

Migrant hawker, male, 18 Sept 2013.

nodding bur marigold

Nodding bur marigold, photographed 7 September.

peacock, comma and painted lady

Three-in-a-row: peacock, comma and painted lady on buddleia, 8 August 2013.

branched bur-reed

July: look for branched bur-reed (above) and Norfolk hawker (below) in ditches.

Norfolk hawker

yellow flag iris

Yellow flag irises, at their best in June.

orange balsam

Orange balsam: a colourful non-native species.

Black-tailed skimmer

Norfolk hawker excuvia

Norfolk hawker exuvia - the larval case left behind when the dragonfly has emerged. June 2011. Search for these on water soldier.

whitethroat

Whitethroat (Ian Lovering).

meadowrue

Common meadow-rue

purple loosestrife

Purple loosestrife

reedmace

Reedmace, sometimes known as bullrush, or Typha to botanists.

 

swans with purple loosestrife

Mute swan family with purple loosestrife

Flammulina velutipes Velvet Shank

An orange fungus on dead wood (Paul Davidson), 26 December: Velvet Shank Flammulina velutipes.

Slavonian grebe

Slavonian grebe, 15 December 2012, with gadwall ((James Emerson).

lesser redpoll

Lesser redpoll feeding on mugwort seeds, 11 November 2012 (Paul Davidson)

water rail

Heavily zoomed, cropped & sharpened, but still recognisable as a water rail, 9 November 2012.

garden tiger moth caterpillar

Garden tiger moth caterpillar, 1 July

coenagrion spur

Azure damselfly Coenagrion puella: In the middle of this crop is the 'coenagrion spur' extending part of the way across the thorax. This is one way to separate this genus from the abundant common blue damselfly.

The mud on the legs of these red poll cattle remind us that keeping to paths is a good idea.

Bombus hypnorum

Bombus hypnorum, tree bumblebee, on valerian. First recorded in the UK in 2001 and in Norfolk in 2007.

"The strikingly rapid spread of the Tree Bumblebee in Britain could be occurring because the bees readily live alongside humans in towns and villages," according to research from the University of East Anglia. More here.

path and meadowrue

The permissive path that runs parallel to the railway line, with meadow-rue.

under water

The same path under water, January 2012, when the River Yare over-topped its banks.

Thorpe St Andrew Marshes

The path running through the grazing marshes, looking north.

Our main Thorpe Marshes page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

immature male goldeneye

Immature male goldeneye (record shot by Ricky Cleverley) - present until 1 April 2012.

 

 

 

 

 

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