18
Aug
17

Magnificent Beast

He may look a little coy but don’t let him fool you, this magnificent beast is a predator. He’ll have one of your fingers off in heartbeat. This large male Grey Seal was basking off the boat on one of our tours the other week.

15
Aug
17

Charming Choughs and Delightful Dolphins

As one of my guests put it this weekend: “Charming Choughs and Delightful Dolphins”. She was referring to the Wild Weekend in Wales tour we were on. We got to see both Choughs and Bottlenose Dolphins. Among everything else we saw for me it has to be the Red Kites that topped the list. They are so enigmatic and powerful. To see 250+ of these birds wheeling in a kettle above us is just one of the UK’s wildlife spectacles. Next year’s tour is up on the website and open for bookings.

12
Aug
17

Flity

There have been a few sightings in coastal locations of Broad Bordered Bee Hawkmoth this year. We encountered this individual on tour the other week and although a bit ‘flity’ he did hang around long enough for us to photograph him. Wonderful little beasts.

 

09
Aug
17

Foodsource

On the Butterfly Tour last week we encountered a tree full of Purple Hairsteaks. Now anyone familiar with these butterflies will know that watching them usually requires a considerable amount of ‘neck craning’. More frequently that not they are in the very tops of trees. Not so this tree-full. They were more than obliging; coming down to bask in the sheltered sunshine on an Ash tree.

Now, I’m reliably told Purple Hairstreaks don’t as a matter of course visit Ash. They are more associated with Oak and indeed there were Oaks nearby. However apparently they will visit Ash to take the sugary honeydew secreted by Aphids. Aphids being particularly fond of Ash. Well I searched that tree carefully and I couldn’t find a single aphid. Although I did see the hairstreaks sipping the sap from the tree at leaf buds.

We encountered 23 species of butterfly during the day; perhaps a little below what we could have expected had the cloud not set in during the afternoon. Next years day is up for grabs if you wish to come along make a booking https://www.wildlifetoursandeducation.co.uk/tours/special-day-tours/

07
Aug
17

Kelling Heath and the Chalk Reef

If you have visited North Norfolk to bird watch or you live locally you need to be aware of something. DONG Energy (a Danish Company) have given planning notice of an offshore windfarm development called the Hornsea Project Three.
 
In a nutshell the offshore 342 wind turbines, 19 or so offshore platforms,12 transformer substations and up to 3 accommodation platforms will be located 121km northeast of the Norfolk coast and 160km east of the Yorkshire coast. They will be connected to the shore by up to six undersea cables running in a south-westerly direction from the windfarm to the proposed landfall at Weybourne in North Norfolk via a possible booster station based out at sea. From here it is proposed the cables will be buried in up to 6 trenches, running in a south/south-westerly direction for approximately 55 km and will connect to the national grid between Swardeston and Stoke Holy Cross in South Norfolk. the development area will be up to 200m wide along it’s length.
 
The construction of booster stations along the route may also be required.
There will be construction of temporary haul roads and temporary access tracks, both alongside and separate from the cable route used for the purpose of enabling the underground works
Notice has been given of the required temporary stopping up, alteration or diversion of any street and the permanent and/or temporary compulsory acquisition of land.
A couple of maps are available here Hornsea Project Three_Onshore_Statutory_Consultation_Plan_July 2017 Hornsea Project Three_Project Overview_Phase 2_Statutory_Consultation_Pl.._ showing the seabed route which importantly bisects the offshore chalk reef and also the proposed alternative route across Kelling Heath.
 
Birds such as Dartford Warbler and Woodlark will probably be effected. Adders and butterflies such as Silver studded blue may also be effected. It’s up to you, me and the rest of us to object if we find these plans unacceptable. You have until 20th September to make representation to DONG Energy, by email to HornseaProjectThree@dongenergy.co.uk or by post to Hornsea Project Three offshore wind farm, DONG Energy, 5 Howick Place, London, SW1P 1WG.
I have been sent details in my capacity as an interested party using the county for wildlife tours for my comments.
 
My thoughts: The government has stated that by 2040 there will be a major move away from petrol and diesel vehicles to electric cars and are investing heavily in battery technology to make this happen. This is good. We have to move away from the use of fossil fuels to countermand global warming effects. Power supplies must be developed to enable this change. We have several choices; wind and wave electricity production are two of those choices. So love them or hate them windfarms are part of the resolution. However North Norfolk does not feel like the place development of this kind should take place. I feel we could use the area around Paston to land the cables thereby keeping the heavy industry within Norfolk contained in one place and make the transport of energy to the grid without cutting across an internationally important chalk reef and a nationally important heathland area.
06
Aug
17

Snouty

The Common Shrew is one of the two most commonest mammals in the UK. However despite that they are hardly ever seen; most often observed by cat owners or clutched in the talons of Barn Owls and Kestrels. They are without doubt elusive. When you are just a couple of inches long I guess it pays not to put yourself on general show.

It was Phil who pointed out the grass moving as we returned to the vehicle. We were out on tour in the overflow car park at Hickling NWT. The twitching grass yielded this little fella. Nose or what?

05
Aug
17

National Whale and Dolphin Watch (NWDW)

We’ll be holding this year’s Norfolk’s Sea Watch Foundation National Whale and Dolphin Watch (NWDW) tomorrow  (Sunday  6th August) 11am to 5pm from the broken bench on the eastern side of The Promenade at Overstrand. NR27 0NG If you would like to join us for a while to see if we can find a cetacean or two it would be appreciated. With a couple, if not more, whales seen offshore this week it may prove productive!




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