Aylmerton Nature Diary


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Wednesday 29th June

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Red-eyed Damselfly, distant shot – Felbrigg Lake

With the current weather pattern of cloudy mornings, with occasional sunshine, followed by wet afternoons¬†continuing, I did manage a quick walk out before lunch. Nothing of particular note on the birding front but there’s obviously been an emergence of Ringlets – there were quite a few on the rough grazing field, west of the sluice, together with a few Large Skippers. Very few dragonflies in evidence though – several Common Blue Damselfly,¬†what I think was a Variable but I didn’t really get satisfactory views and a single Red-eyed on the lake – my first this year.

Ringlet, one of a recent emergence

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Sunday 26th June

Fed-up with the current poor selection of dragonflies available at Felbrigg, I called in at Hickling Broad NWT on my way back from twitching the Caspian Tern at Breydon Water. Turned out to be a good decision – adding two more species to my growing list, as well as seeing a good variety of other species.

Hairy Dragonfly

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Black-tailed Skimmer

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First new species – a terrible shot of Norfolk Hawker. Just couldn’t find a static one

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Ruddy Darter

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Common Darter

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Second new species – Variable Damselfly. I surprised myself by being reasonably confident in my initial id.

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As with all my dragonfly id. I’m happy to be corrected if I’ve goofed-up!

 


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Friday 24th June

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Dog rose and beetle thing!

Went for a walk in the afternoon to clear my head of all the nonsense from the previous 24 hours. Noticeably more insect life about, including a Banded Demoiselle down The Street, plenty of Common Blue Damselfly, Black-tailed Skimmer, Emperor and, I think Brown Hawker over the lake. Also Large Skipper, Meadow Brown and Ringlet were on the wing. A lone female Mandarin was in the trees by the lake, the female Grey Wagtail was feeding along the western edge, the family party of Lesser Whitethroat were along the hedge from the dam and the first juvenile Reed Warblers were much in evidence in the reed-bed.

Male Black-tailed Skimmer, devouring a ‘green bottle’

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First Meadow Brown I’ve seen this year

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Wednesday 22nd June

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Azure Damselfly on water lily, Felbrigg Walled Garden

Spent most of yesterday afternoon in Felbrigg Park, looking for Dragonflies. Despite the odd patch of bright sunshine, there were very few insects about. Plenty of Common Blue Damselfly, several Four-Spotted Chaser, a few Emperor and, in the walled garden, Azure Damselfly. Got back to the allotment to find yet more Azure mating at my wildlife pond.

Azure Damselfly, mating

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Lesser Whitethroat – one of a family party, seen whilst dragon hunting (wrong lens!)

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Freshly emerging damselfly, allotment wildlife pond

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Tuesday 21st June

 

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On the road this morning, a Mole – sadly dead. This is the second in the last couple weeks.

In complete contrast to recent weeks, this morning’s walk was enjoyed in warm, sunny and still conditions – although the ground remains pretty soggy after yesterdays down-pours. Too early for any insects to be about, there was, however, plenty of evidence of successful bird breeding, with family parties of Chiffchaff, Whitethroat and Grey Wagtail all observed. The male Pochard was still on the lake, along with a couple of female Mandarin and the family party of Mute Swan. A lovely walk to start the day.

Male Pochard, Felbrigg Lake

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A couple of young Chiffchaffs, preening in the early morning sunshine

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Sunday 19th June

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A pair of Common Blue Damselfly

After mowing the grass at the allotment this afternoon, I took a stroll around Felbrigg Park, hoping to find a few dragonflies. Not for the first time this summer the weather was rather mixed, with occasional periods of sunshine – bright enough to create shadows, but mostly it was warm and cloudy. I did find three dragonfly species – Four-spotted and Broad-bodied Chasers and Emperor, together with three Damselflies – Common, Azure and Blue-tailed.

What I assume is a rufescens-type female, Blue-tailed Damselfly

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On the bird front, not a great deal to report. The best birds on the lake being a couple of female Mandarin, a pair of Tufted and an unexpected male Pochard in partial moult. There was a juvenile Grey Wagtail feeding on the dam wall and a Red Kite drifted over the water meadow. A couple of Reed Warbler occasionally gave brief bursts of song from either side of the top sluice path.

Proof-positive that Grey Wagtail have again bred at Felbrigg

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On the way back up the lane I saw a couple of Muntjac grazing in the rough meadow – Aylmerton Common, I now discover it’s called on a few early maps. Not sure if either was our visitor from a couple of days ago.


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Friday 17th June

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Muntjac, recuperating under our garden bench

We’ve got a visitor! Jane was just on her way to the allotment this afternoon when she spotted a female Muntjac in the middle of the road, opposite our drive. The poor beast was obviously traumatised, having been in a skirmish with either a car or more likely, judging by the marks on it’s body, a dog. I lifted it over the wall into our garden, gave it a drink and made a bed for it under the garden bench, for it to rest. It’s still there this evening – we’ll have to see how it is in the morning.