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!
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.
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.
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