Posts Tagged ‘Wildlife in Norfolk



This stag Fallow Deer was exhausted from the rut. He was sitting down and having a well earned rest.



Among the Seals

Among the moulting seals the other day were a few little visitors; sort of litter pickers of the beach. These Sanderlings ran among the much larger seals taking tasty morsels from the sand but also occasionally from the seals!



That is the question

In a chance conversation it was my friend Tony who said he had a couple of Tree bee nests in his garden. When I expressed an interest I even got a cup of coffee and a pair of step ladders to get closer to them thrown in.
Not found in Norfolk until 2008 Tree Bumblebees are quite a distinctive bee and there was a constant stream of them entering and leaving the loft and an air brick but by far the best place to see them was as they fed on a Snowberry at the top of the garden. Thanks to Tony for the opportunity to photograph them.

Tree Bumblebee 2

Tree Bumblebee


Eye to Eye with a Sunfish

Well the other day I was laid on the beach and yesterday I was wading in the sea. It is December isn’t it?

Having received a telephone call from Ben – for which I am eternally grateful – I made my way down to the beach. Ben had seen an Ocean Sunfish (Mola mola) in the surf but was afraid the rising tide would put it beyond investigation. There was no time to be lost.

Ocean Sunfish are the world’s heaviest fish and are denizens of southern oceans where they eat mainly jellyfish. They don’t often occur around the uk and are rare in the North Sea. These guys are really big fish and it didn’t take me long to find it, perhaps a little further east than where Ben had left it – the wind and tide having played a part in moving it. I’ve seen these creatures of the deep before in the Bay of Biscay and more recently from the aircraft as we were landing on St Marys during our tour to the isles of Scilly in October. I have never seen one quite this close though! Sadly it was freshly dead. Its eyes were still wonderfully deep and blue; an ocean all of their own. I could have dived into them. The whole fish rocked gently in deepening surf and the thought that it wouldn’t be long before the sea reclaimed her daughter brought me back to reality.

It’s always difficult to give an impression of size without something as comparison. Paul had arrived; how convenient! We took off our shoes and socks and waded on in. Moving the fish was like lifting concrete. The texture was that of shark skin, rough and sand like. It was bony and heavy and after what seemed like hours in near freezing water (in fact it was only a few minutes) I was losing the feeling in my feet!

I was reluctant to leave the Sunfish but pain got the better part of valour and I left nature to do with it as she wished. How sad it died.

Ocean Sunfish 1

Ocean Sunfish (with Paul Lee)


Norfolk’s Silver washed Fritillaries

Last year there were a number of sightings of Silver washed Fritillaries in Holt here on the Norfolk coast. This year the sightings have been repeated. I presume they must have bred locally; which is great, as they are a beautiful butterfly that can only enhance our walks in the countryside.

I went to find them earlier this week. It didn’t take me long. A glimpse was all I could manage. The orange phantom drafted through the forest ride and away through the trees like a spectre on speed. Not once but repeatedly. Then there were two. This only aggravated the situation as one was unlikely to settle while being harassed by another. The heat of the day wasn’t helping. Not helping me as I was getting uncomfortably hot and not helping the Frits as they were unlikely to settle in the heat of the day. I decided to sit it out. They had to land sometime. I found a shady patch overlooking some brambles and waited.

A White Admiral passed by followed by the orange spectre again and then it went quiet, then two orange flashes; and so it went on. Each time they passed my brambles by. I was about to give up when lilting from the canopy came a Fritillary. It settled on a leaf for an instant, only to be pushed away by a bee. How dare it! Just present long enough to fire a shot or two.


Missions of Mercy

It’s the heat, the damn heat.

During last summer one of the two local ponds dried out. The other is deeper and has a larger area and appears to be ground fed so remains viable in hot weather.  The smaller of the two was again looking decidedly depleted at the end of last week and it was in this one that every Frog and Toad on the hill had chosen to lay their spawn.

It was obvious the eggs would die unless there was some intervention. After discussion the plan of action was to move the spawn from the now small ‘puddle’ to the larger pond. Operation ‘Spawn Shift’ was born.

If you have ever tried to pick up Frog Spawn you will know that trying to move a large amount is like trying to plat fog! Nevertheless with buckets and nets we managed to move much and hopefully save a generation. We even had time to re-unite a lost dog with its owner that turned up at the pond during the operation. All in all a ‘Good turn’ day.

I liked the way the tree overhanging the pond is reflected in the surface of the water in this shot … a sort of ‘Tree of Life’ theurgy.

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Mar 2023


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