A Broads Blitz, 15 July 2022

I got up early on Friday and set out on a trip to the Norfolk Broads and 3 sites in particular.

First up was a quick stop off at an old stomping ground Coltishall Common - here I found what I was looking for in lightening quick time, mainly because there was loads of it - Marsh Ragwort. A Kingfisher was also heard calling from the River Bure there. The eary morning dew meant I had a soggy walk back to the car with soaked trousers!

                                                                                                                                 Marsh Ragwort

The main site of the day was one I wanted to to take my time exploring - Barton Fen just north of Barton Turf. It's a place I've never visted before and it was amazing. On the walk out to the fen I walked the track of Fen Lane and just after stopping to admire the plentiful Corn Marigold plus Fool's Parsley along a 'managed' field edge I spotted a dragonfly that looked promising. Eventually it settled and confirmed my thoughts - a superb Lesser Emperor. My day was made already! Along the same field edge I also found an unseasonal but pristine Swallowtail and c6 Painted Ladies before I ventured on and down to the fen. The area is open access land so I had a good walk around along the rather overgrown paths. This is really a pristine piece of untouched broadland fen habitat and within a short space of time I'd found Greater Bladderwort, Frogbit, Great Fen Sedge, Greater Water Parsnip, Marsh Yellow Cress and Sharp-flowered Rush. Some seriously good plantage! Into the bargain there were also Norfolk Hawker, Brown Hawker, Variable Damselflies, Cereal Leaf Beetle and Orange-legged Darwin Wasp plus calling Bearded Tits, Sedge Warbler and Reed Warbler to keep me amused.

                                                                                                                                      Lesser Emperor
                                                                                                                                      Painted Lady

                                                                                                                                  Greater Bladderwort
                                                                                                                                  Variable Damselfly
                                                                                                                                  Corn Marigold
                                                                                                                                 Great Fen Sedge

                                                                                                                          Greater Water Parsnip
                                                                                                                             Marsh Yellow Cress
                                                                                                                            Sharp-flowered Rush
                                                                                                                   Square-stalked St John's Wort
                                                                                                                           Broad-leaved Pondweed
                                                                                                                               Cereal Leaf Beetle
                                                                                                                    Orange-legged Darwin Wasp

My last broads site was the south side of Hickling Broad near Rush Hills. I had 2 targets but in the end found only 1 - the uber rare Fen Mason Wasp (Musk Beetle was missed) but that was more than made up for by finding c6 Yellow Loosestrife Bees around a clump of their host plant. These are very scarce insects. Also there I latched on to a confiding Hornet having it's lunch (!), 24-spot Ladybird, Black-tailed Skimmer, Ruddy Darter and Blue-tailed Damselfly of the rubescens form

                                                                                                                              Fen Mason Wasp
                                                                                                                            Yellow Loosestrife Bee
                                                                                                                                  24-spot Ladybird
                                                                                                                          Black-tailed Skimmer
                                                                                                     Blue-tailed Damselfly (form rubescens)
                                                                                                                                Brown Hawker

With time to spare for a quick detour on my way home I ventured to the UEA Broad where I connected with another plant target - Fringed Waterlily plus White Waterlily and strangely the pink Hybrid Waterlily too. On the walk back through the woods the distinctive hoverfly Leucozona laternaria was on some Hogweed flowers 

                                                                                                                           Fringed Waterlily
                                                                                                                             Hybrid Waterlily
                                                                                                                          Leucozona laternaria

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