Aylmerton Nature Diary

Monday 9th July

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Weekend wildlife highlight – Purple Hairstreak – The Street, Aylmerton

I spent last week with my brother cycling from Flamborough to home, following part of the NCN 1 (and NCN 30). The route keeps mostly to minor roads and by-ways, which is a good way to see the local birdlife. I was surprised and pleased to encounter a good number of Whitethroat and Yellowhammer in the hedgerows and in a couple of places we came across small pockets of Cornbunting – though none I’m afraid in Norfolk. The potato fields of Lincolnshire held reasonable numbers of Yellow Wagtail (I did see one locally, on my return, near the Stone Cross) and Red Kite could often be seen drifting overhead.

We arrived back home mid-afternoon on Friday. Opening up my emails I’d received one earlier in the day from Andrew advising me of an unidentified wader at Felbrigg. Despite  being rather fatigued from the cycle ride I did take a look around the lake that evening but unfortunately I couldn’t relocate it. From the description, rather grainy photo and date, I suspect it was a Greenshank – a nice record, pending confirmation. Showing my brother around Sustead Common on Saturday the most obvious wildlife interest came in the number of butterflies – plenty of Ringlet and Meadow Brown still, with several Large Skipper, a single Essex Skipper and a couple of Large White. I managed to miss Phil’s Spotted Flycatcher in Felbrigg Park yesterday morning (the only record this year I believe), whilst I took Bry to the station – failing to relocate it when I looked in the afternoon. However, my weekend wildlife highlight came, as it not infrequently does, along the lane, on my way home. I was looking at the shimmer of butterflies in the hedge, trying to find Gatekeeper (which I didn’t) when I noticed a small dark individual, resting high up on an Ash. A nice specimen of Purple Hairstreak!

I was surprised to find this female Gadwall with six chicks on the lake – a species not reported since May

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There were plenty of butterflies at Sustead Common, including this Essex Skipper

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