Posts Tagged ‘Norfolk Safari


Spring turns to summer

Some happenings along the rivers at the moment.



So Blue

This Holly Blue Butterfly was resting in the borders at Falcon Cottage the other day. I couldn’t resist taking a photo of it. Butterflies are such miracles it’s difficult to perceive they can fly let alone look so beautiful.



On tour last week I was surprised to see a Minotaur Beetle crossing our path up on the Heath. Normally only active at night these are quite impressive insects with three horns emerging from the pronotum. Not having my macro lens with me I had to photograph it with the 100 to 400mm lens I had fitted. With a little readjustment it more or less gave a decent result.


Noisy offspring

It’s that time again. Grey seals are pushing out the pups on our beaches in phenomenal numbers this year. On one of the tours last weekend we watched this young one suckling. It was a cold day and I bet that warm rich milk was just the biz. After a while the mother got a little fed up and rolled over much to the protestations of her noisy  offspring!



Something Small

We were driving on the Norfolk coast road when I saw something small scuttle across the tarmac just in front of the car. I noticed it came to rest on the verge so I pulled over and walked back to investigate. Crouched on the verge was a Short tailed Field Vole. .. counting its blessings at still being alive and not being part of the road.



Norfolk’s premier butterfly

The first hatch of Swallowtail Butterflies was in the air on a tour last week. This particular pristine individual played ball with us … approaching us to within inches.

2016 06 06 Swallowtail Horsey Norfolk_Z5A2777 2016 06 06 Swallowtail Horsey Norfolk_Z5A2794


Just Bee’n?

There’s a thin ribbon of land twix saltmash and seawall along the Norfolk coast. This narrow habitats is the place to find a very rare bee. We saw them on a tour last week. Sea Aster Bees are active right now.

Sea Aster Mining Bee


Ratty and Hammy

If you have enough years behind you to remember the Woodentops, Bill and Ben and Captain Pugwash then you will undoubtedly remember Tales of the Riverbank. a nostalgic view of the English Countryside (and some) with Johnny Morris – It’s difficult to believe this kept me cross legged in front of the TV every day.

On the last few tours we’ve encountered Water Voles feeding in among the reeds around the pools – just made me think of Tales from the Riverbank.

Water Vole


Common Seals

Some great sightings of Common Seal on our recent tours as many are easily seen at regular haul outs. Unlike the vertical nostrils of Grey Seals the nostrils of Common Seals point together more ‘teddy bear’ like. In profile they have a dog like snout rather than the sloping forehead of Grey Seals.

Other than Grey and Common Seals in Norfolk there are several vagrant seals that have occurred in the past; Ringed, Hooded, Bearded, Harp and Walrus.

I keep looking … but nothing so far.


Common Seal


We’re all Gods Creatures

As we were walking back from watching a large group of Common and Grey Seals earlier this week I saw a chap pointing his camera at some umbels of white flowers. Nothing is surer to grab my attention than someone pointing a camera at something. It always make me wonder just what I’m missing. As I passed him I noticed something on the flowers; small and black.

“Photographing Bees?” I enquired.

“Tachinids” came the reply.

“Ah … Hoverflies?” I said, having taken another less than close look at his subjects.

“No … TACHINIDS” came a perhaps tad impatient reply.

At this point I stopped walking and made a move to see just what a Tachinid was … because being honest about it, I’d never heard of them. It turns out these are one of the groups of true flies. They sort of looked ‘fly like’ but with bristly appendages; as though they had grown their own miniature toiled brushes. Which I guess comes in handy if you’re a fly… sorry, Tachinid.

I was reliably (and enthusiastically) informed that normally these scarce creatures were solitary however there were at least half a dozen present and that he had been keeping his eye on this small colony for some time. I was told the Latin name which despite constantly repeating to myself until I got back to the Landrover I managed to forget; and unfortunately even after a lot of looking I’ve been unable to find an image that matches mine below. So the Tachinid remains nameless… to me at least.

Therefore a number of apologies are due: Firstly to the knowledgeable gentleman in the dunes photographing Tachinids for forgetting which species of Tachinid he showed us.

Apologies also to the couple whom I took out that day for obviously having passed these little gems without comment on our way out to see the seals and knowing nothing about them when we did see them.

… and apologies to the Tachinids for not having the correct lens on my camera to photograph them properly. I was geared up for seals you see, which are somewhat larger.

Bizarrely in trying to find out which species of Tachinid we have here I must reluctantly admit to finding them quite interesting … I really must get out less!

Tachinid sp#

Update: I have just been told by Mick Saunt they are Tachina grossa – thanks Mick

Also John Goldsmith after consulting Tony Irwin kindly stated the following: The picture is of Tachina grossa. There has been a bit of a population explosion this year with hundreds seen on hogweed flowers – apparently something that’s never been recorded for this species before.

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Mar 2023


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