Sunday, August 05, 2007

Dragonfly Fest!!!

Today was something of a real red-letter day for Odonata (Dragonflies and Damselflies) in Norfolk, and it happened in our little Parish! First thing this morning I decided to walk over to Felbrigg Lake, mainly to try and connect with Spotted Flycatcher, which I did just inside the west gate entrance. When I got to the Lake it was already heaving with Damselflies and Darters and Skimmers, they were all over the place! With one species in mind I walked over to the exposed sandy bank, and sure enough, there was a Red-veined Darter briefly on the deck before flying out over the lake. For the next half hour I counted at least 3 male and one female of this species. It was during this time that a big brown 'hawker' with a turquoise saddle buzzed past me and disappeared over the lake. I knew that Lesser Emperor (a very rare vagrant from southern Europe) had a 'saddle' but I was convinced this was a more purple colour, and that Lesser was altogether a smaller, more dainty dragonfly (this thing was big!) I assumed therefore that it was some type of immature variant of Emperor dragonfly (I only started looking at Drag's towards the end of last summer so am really a bit of a novice!) I had rung Rob Lee to tell him of my Red-veined Darters and left for home. At home I looked up my 'immature' Emperor to find that there isn't one! With that, Rob was on the phone saying he'd just had a Lesser Emperor!! I managed to get back down to the lake, and with news out of a rare dragonfly here, people were starting to turn up. With no sign of it in the area it was expected to be in, I decided to check the other side. Shortly after scanning the algae blankets floating near the overhanging trees I saw it, a brown dragonfly with a blue saddle, but this time it was attached to another, yellower dragonfly, a female! After that, all who were there enjoyed excellent views of I believe the first occurrence of Lesser Emperor dragonflies oviposting (egg laying) in Norfolk, and probably East Anglia!
Breeding Lesser Emperor on Felbrigg Lake

The following odonata were noted on Felbrigg today:

Emperor, LESSER EMPEROR, Red-veined Darter, Common Darter, Banded Demoiselle, Southern Hawker, Brown Hawker, Black-tailed Skimmer, Broad-bodied Chaser, Four-spotted Chaser, Common Blue Damselfly, Red-eyed Damselfly and Small Red-eyed Damselfly.
Red-veined Darter

Small Red-eyed Damselfly
PYL 107 Spotted Flycatcher

White Admiral

Whilst the fete was on fellow village wildlife enthusiast Trevor Williams knocked on my door to report that he had seen several White Admirals in the Parish, along the Ridge (Trevor had already done me a favour by inadvertantly flushing a Green Sandpiper over my garden for a year tick- Cheers Trevor!) Armed with his directions I found the spot and eventually saw about five of these woodland butterflies, another new species for me in the parish! I couldn't locate the Frittilery sp. that was also seen here but did see plenty of Large White, Small Heath and Speckled Wood.

White Admiral

PYL 106 Green Sandpiper


The annual fete was treated to some glorious weather and the crowds they did come (n.b. -vast amounts of money will be required in used notes to have any pics removed from the WORLD wide web!...if you know what I'm saying?!)

Busy Busy!

No running please, room for everyone!

Oooh where to start!?

Bargin Hunt

Eyes Down ...two fat ladies 12!

Cake Riots! (Grab 'em while you can!)

'In the Hole!!

Aunt Sally (she's the wooden one! The other one's me mum!)

I trust family were not eligible for this one ?!

Positioned on a particularly bumpey area of grass!!!

Friday, August 03, 2007


Fete starts 2 o'clock tomorrow afternoon

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Lep twitch

Work took me to the North Norfolk coast first thing this morning, then I had to head down to Gooderstone on the outskirts of the Brecks. With some cunning map work I could ensure that I passed Narborough Railway Line Nature Reserve around lunch time, how convenient! My main reason for wanting to come here was to see Grizzled and Dingy Skipper butterflies which are found along the flower rich grass banks. I drew a blank today but the area, as well as being alive with insects and all the commoner species of butterfly, did provide me with a new one in the form of a very tatty approachable White-letter Hairstreak- a total surprise!
White-letter Hairstreak..or whats left of it! (this is its good side!)
Small Skipper


Aylmertons annual afternoon of debauchery (well, raffles, tombola and vegetable competition!) commences this weekend. (which in recent years has coincided with heavy rain!) Hopefully this year the weather will smile on us so everyone can enjoy this quintessential English village tradition, and our one is timeless, no fancy gimmicks...I just hope we've still got Smash the Rat Down a Drainpipe! The proceedings are on Saturday 4th around lunch time, so come along!