Wheatfen, 29 August 2021

A Sunday to myself and I'd been meaning to return to Wheatfen so it was the ideal opportunity. Armed with a new app - iRecord, I planned to do a full plant survey and record everything I could find. 

Top of the wanted list were 2 rare plants which occur only here in Norfolk having been introduced there by the late great Ted Ellis many many years ago. I found the first, and least obvious, first. Along the track from the carpark was Greater Burnet Saxifrage which I carefully checked in the Wild Flower Key. The second was the very obvious (and huge) Broad-leaved Ragwort which was growing in good numbers in the closest part of the marsh. I then embarked on a good exploration of the reserve with the most notable plants find being Orange Balsam, Yellow Oxeye, Small Balsam, Small Teasel, Bifid Hemp Nettle, large numbers of Common Hemp Nettle, Skullcap, Upright Hedge Parsley, Wild Angelica, Water Pepper and the absolutely massive (and rare!) Marsh Sow Thistle. In all I identified and recorded 45 species of plant. 

There was also some odonata interest with Willow Emerald and Southern Hawker both photographed. Birdwise a Water Rail was heard squealing and Marsh Tit seen but little else. 

One of the coolest but most gruesome sightings on my walk was the fluke worm Leucochloridium paradoxum parasiting an Amber Snail

                                                                                                                      Greater Burnet Saxifrage

                                                                                                                              Broad-leaved Ragwort
                                                                                                                                      Small Balsam
                                                                                                                              Orange Balsam

                                                                                                                                      Marsh Sow Thistle
                                                                                                                                    Yellow Oxeye
                                                                                                                     Scarlet Pimpernel, blue form
                                                                                                                                     Small Teasel
                                                                                                                              Willow Emerald

                                                                                                                                   Southern Hawker
                                                                                 Leucochloridium paradoxum parasiting Amber Snail

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