With the holidays nearly over and sunshine at a premium, I headed out with Cathy to find her a first Swallowtail butterfly. Second broods are difficult to predict, but as I also wanted to have a go at locating Ben Lewis' Willow Emerald Damselflies we decided to try our luck at Strumpshaw. We got lucky with the Swallowtails, with a flypast in front of the Tower Hide. Although never seeing more than one at a time, there were probably two present. In the scrub along the path tens if not hundreds of Dark Bush Crickets were calling, and a Garden Tiger Moth was trying to look inconspicuous at the edge of the path.
Unfortunately from a damselfly point of view, the path along the Lackford Run all the way from the Tower Hide to the railway line has been shut for conservation work, and will remain so until the spring. This area is by the far the best Willow Emerald habitat, and a search of the other ditches only turned up large numbers of Common Emerald (mostly males). Bird wise it was quiet, three Common Terns, three Grey Herons and a couple of Stock Doves from the Tower Hide and heard only Bearded Tits and there flyover Green Sandpipers from the Fen Hide. The Osprey was seen whilst I was there but was apparently seen off by a Marsh Harrier.
The Pelican Inn in Tacolneston has opened an Ale shop promising to sell beers from all 31 Norfolk breweries, which sounds worth a visit.
http://www.bouproc.net/ has papers up for download relating to a recent conference on non-native species in Britain. A few interesting bits there, for me it seems a complete cop-out that we are now five years from the time when the Ely Muscovy population was shown to meet all of the criteria to be elevated to category C (it even recovered from a cull) but apparently more information is required as to their reliance on supplementary feeding. Presumably the idea is that as people will continue to feed them this study will be impossible and they can be kept in Cat E indefinitely. Yes they look horrible and have a restricted gene pool, but why have criteria for inclusion on a list if you don't act on it?