Trip reports

NWT Thorpe Marshes

NWT Thorpe Marshes
David Porter

Monday, 17 July 2017

A select band of group members joined me on a fine morning for a walk around my local patch of Norfolk Wildlife Trust's Thorpe Marshes nature reserve. Flowers of high summer in pink and purple were the most obvious: purple loosestrife, hemp agrimony and two willowherb species early on, plus buddleias by the reserve's entrance. A little easier to overlook were the pinky-purple spikes of marsh woundwort and the hooked seedpods of upright hedge parsley.

Bird song was muted as you'd expect on a summer's day, though there were several reed buntings and a brief snatch of a flying kingfisher as we crossed the marsh. Calls of oystercatcher and lapwing filtered across from the gravel pit now called St Andrew's Broad.

Odonata - dragonflies and damselflies - are a great feature of Thorpe Marshes and we had a great stroke of luck to find a brown hawker grasping a seedhead. This is usually a species that flies high and fast so it was a rare chance for close-up photos. David also took the opportunity to photograph common darter, common blue damselflies and banded demoiselle - have a look at his results on www.facebook.com/RSPBNorwich.

Ditches were rich in water soldier, water mint and frogbit though it was the statuesque leaves and flower spikes of arrowhead that particularly caught the eye at a couple of places. Ragwort isn't often a flower you stop to look at but we did today for two reasons: some were the subtly different marsh ragwort and many of the common ragworts were alive with black and yellow striped cinnabar moth caterpillars.

The Broad had a few loafing ducks and geese and on the edge we could see the lapwing flock we'd heard earlier. Nearby a linnet perched and allowed telescope views.

The star bird of the morning was on the home stretch by the mooring basin. Nick was alive to a flash of red on a tail: a juvenile redstart. Where it had flown from is anyone's guess - the nearest breeders are in the Brecks.

Chris Durdin