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Tuesday, 21 August 2018

June and July News 2018
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June and July News 2018

Our final coach trip of the season saw us visit Sodmarsh NNR, near Canterbury. The extensive reed bed at Stodmarsh hosts reed, sedge, grasshopper and cettis warblers, bearded tits, hobbies and marsh harriers, all of which were recorded on the visit. Many of us were also lucky enough to see a cattle egret, a UK 'lifer' for some! The sound of marsh frogs croaking accompanied us around the reserve and many dragonflies (including the rapidly spreading Norfolk hawker) were seen. We left Stodmarsh slightly early in order to pay a 40 minute visit to RSPB Blean Woods reserve, where we were lucky enough to see up to 40 individuals of the rare and beautiful heath fritillary butterfly. Our spring evening walks continued with a visit to RSPB Fowlmere reserve, where a turtle dove was heard but not seen and we had good views of fallow and muntjac deer, as well as brown trout! In late June we made our annual visit to the Thetford Forest area, firstly visiting Weeting Heath NWT, where we saw stone curlews, then moving on to RSPB Lakenheath Fen, where we added marsh harrier, cuckoo and bittern to our list, and finally to Mayday Farm, where we were yet again lucky to see nightjar. A total of 64 bird species was recorded on this half day visit.

July is normally the month when the Local Group takes a rest, but there was one event of note - a butterfly walk on Therfield Heath on the 30th, led by Martin for Herts. and Middlesex Butterfly Conservation. Of the nine members who attended, eight were from Hitchin and Letchworth and Stevenage Local Groups! We saw 11 butterfly species, including lots of the local 'speciality', the chalkhill blue.