Not the easiest place to find this, and not even a reserve welcome board to greet me! Still, it seemed only right that my first Big Butterfly Count should be at a reserve funded by the Butterfly Conservation Trust. Although breezy, the sun did break through from time to time. My 15 minute count included a Swallowtail and 3 Ringlet. Great to see a Swallowtail this year, but had hoped for a little more variety. Further round the reserve trail which led to nowhere, I managed another Swallowtail, 2 Red Admiral and 5 Small Tort.
My first Brown Hawkers of the year were on the wing, as was a Norfolk Hawker. Black-Tailed Skimmers aplenty, and singles of Blue-tailed and Azure Damselfly.
Being so out of the way, I would imagine so super stuff gets missed here in this sprawling and remote area of fen. 3 Marsh Harriers played together in the sky, a female Sparrowhawk patrolled the reed bed and a single Lapwing was on a muddy scrape which looked newly 'scraped'.
With only a week until my annual 6 week holiday, my thoughts are turning to birding and wildlife targets during an often quiet time of year. I think I am going to make an effort to visit obscure and poorly signposted local nature reserves in Norfolk. This will also allow me to scout out some suitable rural pubs, sample some good ale, and generally potter about having a think. Lovely stuff.
If anyone has any recommendations of hidden gems or anything that fits the loose criteria above, do leave me a comment or a PM on Birdforum (jimbob, on the Norfolk thread from time to time).