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

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

WHITLINGHAM: August count, snakes and insects

12th August 2017

In terms of birds this months WeBS count was the quietest I can remember, but there were several other species about to spice up the visit. The Little Broad is now barely visible through the rampant vegetation, so I headed round to a gate near the watersports centre to get an alternative view. When I  headed back up towards the path I spooked a Grass Snake, which slithered quickly down into the reeds. In the past ten years I had only seen one live one and one dead one here, although perhaps not surprising given the level of disturbance the site gets.

Grass Snake (you might need to click on the photo to enlarge it to see the snake)

A paltry 11 species (plus Swan Goose x Greylag hybird) were present on the Great Broad, but numbers overall similar to last year.

Main counts:
  • Mute Swan 59 (2016: 60)
  • Greylag Goose 4 (2016: 0)
  • Egyptian Goose 16 (2016: 21)
  • Mallard 99 (2016: 98)
By the time I reached the south-east corner of the broad the bulk of the bird count had been done and I could spend a bit more time looking for insects. Three species were of particular interest, the hoverfly Ferdinandea cuprea was a patch tick for me, whilst the tachinid Graphomya maculata and the conopid Conops flavipes were both new for me.

Looking at leaf mines as I went round I saw two of the four Norfolk 'snail trail' moth mines, Phyllocnistis xenia in poplar and Phyllocnistis saligna in willow. Having not found any mines in Himalayan Balsam at Trowse Meadow a few weeks ago, mines of the fly Phytoliromyza melampyga were new for the site I think.

There was a final sighting of interest on the path back to the car park - another Grass Snake! Again it saw me before I saw it and soon vanished into the leaf litter, but great to see them here.

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