Saturday 20 August 2022

Thorpe Marshes with Hickling Broad U3A group, 18 August 2022.

This account is by Chris Foster, who arranged a visit to NWT Thorpe Marshes for the University of the Third Age (U3A) Hickling Broad group. This is for their monthly newsletter and shared here as a guest blog.

This month we had a guided walk around Thorpe Marshes with the brilliant and enthusiastic Chris Durdin as our leader.  Chris has intimate knowledge of this recently evolving reserve (established in 2011) and he visits so frequently he knows which leaf to turn over to reveal a rare bee or a mating damselfly.  He can hear a bird, identify it and locate it in his telescope before you have even established which tree it is in. His knowledge extends to all things wild. On our visit in August it was the plants that were the main headliners and the variety of marsh plants was dazzling. 

Bee wolf on angelica.

Personally I was especially interested in how the enthusiastic naturalists of Norfolk are recording the changes in species as a result of climate change.  Chris and others who explore the marshes have been the first to record some continental species that are spreading into the county.  One example of this was spotting the bee wolf (a wasp) which is new to Thorpe Marshes.  These meticulous records that have been and are being collected by specialists and local experts once again illustrated the impacts of climate change on the natural environment.  They also offer undisputed evidence of these changes. 

Migrant hawker.

Chris keeps a constant record of all the happenings at Thorpe Marshes so if you are interested in his work or want to see some great photographs, need tips on what to look for (most of the plants etc. can be found in and around Hickling) or are thinking of a visit, do click on the link above.  Entrance to the marshes is free and Chris offers monthly wildlife walks booked through NWT which I would highly recommend. 

We also saw four migrant hawkers hanging from a willow, a black-tailed skimmer, red-eyed damselflies, mating common blue damselflies, banded demoiselle, also red bartsia bees were still present.  Birds included whitethroat, chiffchaff, robin in autumn song, great spotted woodpecker, long-tailed tits, juvenile stonechat, cormorant and buzzards.

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