Holt Country Park, 3 July 2014

The hottest day of the year with temperatures reaching 30 degrees had me heading up to Holt Country Park again. I seem to spend more time there now than I did when I lived in Holt because there was never much to see at the site back then!
My main quarry was Silver-washed Fritillary which have established a small population here over the last 3 or 4 years. Opinions are divided on whether they arrived here naturally or not but they are doing well and in a couple of hours I saw c20. With the high temperatures they were here, there and everywhere and it was ages before I saw one settled at all. Amazingly the only ones I saw settled for long enough to get any sort of photograph were a mating pair of which the female was of the very distinctive grey 'Valezina' form which was a first for me. White Admirals were also pretty conspicuous with about 10 seen whilst the day also yielded Small Skipper, Large Skipper, Common Blue, Large White, Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, Ringlet, Meadow Brown and Small Tortoiseshell. I also stumbled upon a single lingering Broad-bordered Bee Hawkmoth close to the woodland pond.
Holt CP is also known as the only East Anglian site for Keeled Skimmer and sure enough there were loads out in their usual spot. The pond in the same valley also had a couple of Ruddy Darters, my first ones this year.

A stop at Cley for a coffee had me watching several Spoonbills at distance on Billy's Wash before I moved on to Beeston Common, near Sheringham for my only other significant stop of the day. Here, despite precise directions the single Lesser Butterfly Orchid which was flowering just a week ago has completely disappeared! Carl Chapman and I had a thorough search and found the spot but no orchid. We can only hope it's not been cut or dug up and that an animal has eaten it instead. Luckily I saw it a few years ago and didn't make the trip specially for it! There were plenty of orchids about though with huge numbers of Marsh Helleborine, Common Spotted Orchids and Southern Marsh Orchids plus a smattering of Marsh Fragrant Orchids. A male Broad-bodied Chaser and a couple of Four-spotted Chasers were also around a small pool.

 Silver-washed Fritillaries incl female of the 'Valezina' form

 White Admiral

 White Admiral

 Broad-bordered Bee Hawkmoth

 Keeled Skimmer, male

 Keeled Skimmer, transitional male

 Marsh Fragrant Orchid

      Marsh Helleborine

1 comment:

  1. Great post about holt park. your pictures are awesome but you did not show wild life pictures. i visit this park last year in nyc to niagara falls bus.Great place for walks . There are a range of walks with varying distances. Whe have been on numerous occassions but when we were last there the addition of half a dozen wild ponies wandering around were a great addition