Warham Camp & Stiffkey Fen, 21 July 2021
The chalk grassland flora was at its prime with chalk grassland specialities such as stemless thistle, common rockrose, small scabious, squinancywort, dropwort, harebell, restharrow and hoary plantain all in flower on the chalk banks. A few pyramidal and common spotted orchids were still in flower but most were past their best. In the damper, central area was wild parsnip, cow parsley and meadowsweet.
As we walked along the Stiffkey River we saw male and female banded demoiselles, a patch of yellow Mimulus guttatus or monkeyflower, a nice sized brown trout and we heard some newly fledged marsh harriers. Once on the sea bank, the heat haze made viewing of the fen challenging but we did pick out a small flock of black-tailed godwits, still in their red breeding plumage, and six greenshanks. Around a dozen spoonbills loafed on the lagoon and a little egret fed in a saltmarsh creek.
We continued walking along the sea bank to look out over Blakeney Harbour. We could see common seals right on the end of Blakeney Point and white haze of breeding terns. Closer in among a small flock of black-headed gulls was a single summer plumage Mediterranean gull. A fritillary butterfly - most probably dark green fritillary - flew past but didn’t stop and disappeared into a thick bank of gorse.