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Snettisham and Dersingham, 13 September 2021

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We arrived at Snettisham an hour before high tide and parked up on the sea bank overlooking The Wash. The tide was coming in quickly  –   T he Wash has the greatest tidal range of any east coast estuary at 6.5m during spring tides  –   and there was a constant movement of wading birds in front of us as the mudflats were covered by the incoming tide. Swirling waders, Snettisham. There was a large flock of oystercatchers out on the mudflats and several small groups of redshanks flew over our heads to roost on the islands in the lagoons - the flooded remains of old gravel workings. Although the high tide wasn’t high enough to fully cover the the mudflats, we still enjoyed the spectacle of swirling flocks of knots.  Swirling waders, again. More swirling waders. There were also some large mixed floc ks of waders closer to us on the mudflats and we were able to pick out dunlin, sanderling, knot, ringed plover, grey plover and bar-tailed godwit. A mixed flock of common and Sandwich terns sat

Potter Heigham Marshes and NWT Hickling, 1 September 2021

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A day of two halves, starting with three of us walking the circuit around Potter Heigham Marshes on a morning that followed the recent pattern of cloudy and relatively cool weather for the time of year. We moved fairly quickly along the back of the chalets that line this part of the River Thurne, reaching the elegant, converted mill, now a rental property, its traditional drainage role now replaced by an electric pump in a functional building nearby. Drier marshes had dozens of Egyptian geese. These were greatly outnumbered by greylag and Canada geese once we arrived at the series of lagoons, created here by a partnership of the Environment Agency and Norfolk Wildlife Trust to offset losses on the coast driven by coastal change. Little egrets with greylags and ducks, Potter Heigham Marshes (digiscoped). A great white egret was a very good bird, though these days no longer a surprise, and soon there were about four little egrets as well. Scanning the countless greylags revealed a sing

Southrepps Common and Pigneys Wood, 23 August 2021

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Two new sites for Honeyguide days out today, the first thanks to our guide for the morning, former Southrepps resident Helen Crowder. For an August morning it was decidedly chilly, in case anyone reading this blog wonders why there is no mention of invertebrates this morning. Angelica, Southrepps Common. For a wet site, it couldn’t be easier, as a boardwalk runs right through Southrepps Common, now a nature reserve managed by Norfolk Wildlife Trust. The first stretch was dominated by reed, though with many fine umbels of angelica by the boardwalk. The floristically rich area was a little farther along, where it was more open and, on the far side, recently cut as part of the site’s management. We found lots of marsh lousewort, also called red rattle, sometimes alongside yellow rattle, the latter in flower and in seed, the two rattles a combination you don’t often see. There were dozens of spikes of marsh helleborines, seed heads this late in the year, plus eyebright. Eyebright. Marsh he

Two days in North Norfolk, 17 & 18 August 2021

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Chris Durdin joined long-time Honeyguiders Sue & Peter Burge and Helen & Malcolm Crowder for two days out in north Norfolk. They were staying at The Pheasant Hotel in Kelling. 17 August – Blakeney Harbour and Holt Country Park Where was the late August heatwave that was once forecast? On a wet morning, with a boat trip booked for noon, we started by driving to the beach at Salthouse, then a brief stop to overlook Cley Marshes from NWT’s visitor centre. Here, from a fairly sheltered spot, a volunteer guide had his telescope on a pink-footed goose, a very early arrival for the winter. There was also a good number of black-tailed godwits, an avocet and a marsh harrier. Mostly harbour seals; the blotchy one is a grey seal. After a short detour to see Blakeney Quay we arrived at Morston in good time for the Blakeney Harbour seal trip. A surprise was seeing spoonbills flying around, firstly a group of four then singles in various directions. Once in the harbour there were curlews

Thompson Common guided walk, 14 August 2021

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This was a joint event between Honeyguide and RSPB Norwich Local Group. This report is by Doug Arkell. Including Chris Durdin and myself, a party of sixteen assembled for what was, for most of us, a first visit to Thompson Common. Although signage was poor, we all managed to find the car park and arrive in good time.  Thompson is the ‘local patch’ of recently joined member Phil Childs. He has known the reserve for many years and was good enough to offer to show us around. Luckily there were also several butterfly and dragonfly experts in the party, as the visit was heavily weighted towards those taxa. Dusky sallow moth on black knapweed. Our first sighting came in the car park with a white admiral butterfly briefly descending and settling on one of the cars. We joined the path onto the common through a mature wooded area. The brambles were in flower and attracting butterflies including peacock, red admiral, speckled wood and two very tatty silver-washed fritillaries. High in an a