Leaving Jus's we called in quickly at Beighton church where we we rewarded with views of 2 Turtle Doves, one of which was singing like mad and undertaking dispay flights between trees.
Next up was a little reserve where we were able to renew our aquaitance with several of the uber-rare Fen Orchid. Into the bargain here there were plenty of Norfolk Hawkers out and loads of Black-tailed Skimmers. A couple of early Ringlets, a single Large Skipper plus Brimstone and Speckled Wood were also seen.
Potter Heigham Marsh has hit the headlines this week with news that the Black-winged Stilt chicks have successfully left the nest so it would have been wrong not to pat homage to this rare breeding event. We got some lovely scope views of the 2 adults and 4 fluffy chicks running about on an island. The adults were constantly chasing off a succesion of gulls, crows etc so fingers crossed these most protective of parents are rewarded for their efforts! Also on the same and adjacent pool were 12 Spoonbills (plus another that flew in later), 2 Garganey, 2 Mediterranean Gulls and no shortage of Little Egrets all lending to the general 'Mediterranean' vibe the place has at the moment! again there were plenty of Norfolk Hawkers buzzing back and forth plus Red Admiral and Small Tortoiseshell.
Spoonbills (featuring Garganey!)
We nipped in to Catfield Fen next where conditions were a bit too windy for clearwing pheromone lures but in 10 mins we scored with c4 Swallowtails and more Norfolk Hawkers before news from Winterton broke and we hot-footed it there!
The news from Winterton was that the White-winged Black Tern which put in an appearance in the tern colony on Thursday had returned after a days absence. A sweaty walk later we were watching this beauty (a full adult) sat in the fenced Little Tern colony and flying around. After we'd had our fill and counted c200 Little Terns we made our way into the dunes and found 3 Red-veined Darters very easily at the first suitable pond we checked! All males and territorial. On the walk back to the car through the dunes we found a pair of Stonechats and then called in to a group of c40 Bee Orchids to finished a stonking day of mixed wildlife!
White-winged Black Tern