Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Ted Ellis Country

Whilst the summer holidays may not be prime time for high-adrenalin birding, it is a great opportunity to get out and explore Norfolk. I have visited Strumpshaw Fen more than any other reserve/patch this year, more than I always care to blog about. What is on the other side of the river?
More of the same it would seem, fantastic habitat and great birds, the only difference being the profile of the following sites. Surlingham Church Marsh and Wheatfen (Ted Ellis) reserve appear to be little known and under-watched. No matter, for this was exactly what I was after.
Beginning at the former then. The reserve trail is a nice little circuit, easily walkable in under an hour. It is Strumpshaw in miniature, complete with its own scrape (of sorts), a hill (migration hotspot right there) and with added grazing marshes. It was at these marshes that I heard the reel of a Gropper. The ruins of the church of St. Saviour are certainly worth a look, and I spent a moment here at the grave of Norfolk naturalist Ted Ellis. The reserve was quiet, but I look forward to a visit in the autumn or sooner.
The Ted Ellis reserve itself is a real gem, hard work in terms of birds (the helpful warden advised me not to bother with my scope!) but excellent for insects and plants. I managed 9 species of butterfly during my walk round the reserve and plenty of Silver Y moths. A young Reed Warbler and Cettis Warbler were the only birds of note. Another one to return to in more favourable weather perhaps. There were 3 cars in the car-park, which the warden described as a busy day.

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