The Whitlingham Bird Report 2020 is available now (click here)

For previous years (2012-2019) see the links on the Whitlingham Bird List page.

Wildlife Targets 2017

As in the past few years, I have come up with a list of target species that I would like to see in 2017. I’ve found that this is a good way of making sure that I visit some new places, and of course it hopefully means seeing some new and interesting wildlife in Norfolk and beyond. This year the list is mainly a combination of of species I have attempted to see previously and failed, and of species that others have seen recently and I’ve liked the look of. As always if you can help with sites or information regarding species where my information is vague then please get in touch (I can be contacted via email, blog comments, Twitter, BirdForum, Facebook etc). 

 Please also note that I don’t blog about every trip I make – if you are happy to suggest a site but want it to remain anonymous or unmentioned online then I am happy to respect this. 

1) Having not got round to re-visiting the Paston area in 2016 I’ve still not seen Barbastelle bat, nor several other Norfolk species (Serotine, Leislers or Whiskered/Brandts), so target number is to see a new species of bat in 2017 - Serotine seen

2) I saw Edible Frogs in 2016 (in the grounds of Mannington Hall) so this year I hope to see some Marsh Frogs in Norfolk, which I have unsuccessfully searched for previously in the Tas valley. 

3) Starlet Sea Anemone – this sea anemone famously used to be present in a coastal pool at Cley, but I never saw it there. I believe that some were successfully translocated to other coastal pools, and saw a photo of one taken in 2016, but I don’t know exactly where it was taken. 

4) Black Hairstreak and 5) Wood White – Two potentially new butterfly species found in the East Midlands. Following our successful Purple Emperor trip in 2016, Cathy & I have arranged to go looking for these in June with Carl Chapman. Both seen in Northamptonshire in June
6) Brown Hairstreak – There is a colony in Lincolnshire, but with several also recently found near Ipswich I will try to make time to see them this year. 

7) Red-barred Gold moth (Micropterix tunbergella) – Moths are rather hard to target because I am largely dependent on organised moth events to see species at specialist locations, however this is a day-flying species. It is moth number 001 in the moth numbering system, and also the only one of the four members of this family that I haven’t seen in Norfolk. I believe it has been seen at Beeston Common and Strumpshaw in recent years, but would welcome any tips on how to find it. 
8) Currant Clearwing moth – having now seen three Clearwing moth species (plus Hornet moth), I would like to see what is meant to be the commonest member of the family. It has been found on allotmens around Norwich, although not having an allotment I may have to go to a pick-your-own farm to search (or buy James Lowen some currant bushes for his garden!)  - Seen in Norwich

I’d also like to see some Breckland moths, as I’ve not been involved in any trapping there. There were Butterfly Conservation events at Lynford and East Harling in 2016, but both mid-week.

Dragonflies &damselflies 
No specific targets this year, although I would very much like to see Scarce Blue-tailed damselflies in Norfolk. In recent years a small population established itself on private land in East Norfolk – if this colony expands into public areas or if access becomes possible I would like to know! 

9) My fledgeling hoverfly list currently sits around the 45 mark, so rather than target any one particular species, I would like to see at least another five species of hoverfly (preferrably many more!) 10+ new species seen so far!

Bees & wasps  
10) Sea Aster Bee – present along the edge of the saltmarsh in North Norfolk. I was kindly given some directions last year but didn’t have time to go and have a look. 
11) Fen Mason Wasp – Something of a Broadland speciality, I’ve never seen any of this family. Seen in East Norfolk

12) Dune Tiger Beetle – Present along the edge of the dunes at Titchwell, I was thwarted by bad weather when there in 2016. 

13) Violet Helleborine – Grows in several ancient woods in south Suffolk, I may try to combine this with looking for Brown Hairstreaks. Time permitting I also hope to go to Kent in May with dad to look for orchids – depending on flowering times there are about eight possible species I’ve never seen before! 

Other plants 
14) Yellow Bird’s-nest – I looked for this in 2016 and despite some directions failed to find it, so hopefully I’ll do better this year! 
15) Yellow Star-of-Bethlehem – Most of the species on the list can be seen in late spring or summer, so it is prudent to put on this early spring species, a rare flower found at Wayland Wood that grows in March. Seen
16) Breckland Speedwell – A visit to Thetford with Ian Senior meant I finally saw Fingered Speedwell in 2016, but we were too early to see this species that grows alongside it. More Breckland plants would be nice – I still have yet to see either Knawel, Early Speedwell etc. I was also unable to attend a plant walk at Weeting Heath to see the specialties there, so I hope that the Breckland NWT local group run a similar event this year (Stone Curlews permitting!)  Seen
17) Marsh Gentian – I think I’ve seen the leaves of Marsh Gentian in an enclosure at Buxton Heath years ago, but I’ve not seen the flower itself. 
18) May Lily – After years of wanting to go to Swanton Novers woods I finally did last year, and found out the the May Lilies there had died out. I know there is a second colony in North Norfolk, but I searched unsuccessfully for it last year so I would appreciate directions if any readers have been to see them.  Seen
19) Round-leaved Fluellen – A rare arable weed.Note that I originally wrote Sharp-leaved Fluellen, but I have seen that.

20) Magpie Inkcap – I’ve wanted to see this fungus for years. It was seen at Sheringham Park this year, so I will search for it there, although alternate sites or directions would be welcome. 


  1. Don't you want to see/find any new birds!?

  2. Fear ye not, I shall be looking for birds too, they are just harder to target as such. In terms of patch birds my ongoing mission is to find Garganey, White-winged black tern and osprey. In terms of Norfolk birds the commonest stuff I've not seen is Greenish. Warbler, icky, golden oriole and lt skua, so any of those would be good.

  3. My top wants in Norfolk/East Anglia are to see Native Crayfish and Great Crested Newt. Are those of interest to you too, or have you seen them and can you help me to please?

    1. Hi Steve. I have seen both in the past. White-clawed Crayfish can be seen easily from a bridge at Pensthorpe, it is the one near theJ12 marker on the site plan. Just look down into the Wensum from the bridge and they are below you. To see a GC Newt well you may have to go out with a licensed surveyor, however you stand a good chance of seeing one at the pond on Alderford Common. They come to the surface more in the evening or at night I believe, but it has a shallow slope so you can see quite far in normally.

  4. Then there is always thinking big and silly, singing Thrush Nightingale or River Warbler at Whitlingham and Fea's Petrel past on the coast
    p.s. I should be working at least some of the time in Norfolk this year

    1. Any of those three would do nicely! Best time your return for peak migration.