Trip reports

Ted Ellis Reserve

Ted Ellis Reserve
Jane Bond

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Sun would have brought out more butterflies and dragonflies as they were in short supply. We did see and hear a Green Woodpecker and a Sparrowhawk which nested in the woods. August is the month when birds seem to hide away so we only heard Willow Warbler, Wood Pigeons, Collared Doves and Blue Tits. Luckily (for me) David took over the lead as we passed a fallen alder where a Tawny Owl once nested. Walking along the path towards the river David showed us the rare marsh sow thistle which is declining nationally but doing well in the Broadland fens as well as the common purple-flowered marsh woundwort. There was an abundance of small tortoiseshell caterpillars on nettles. Some stems were bare of leaves but massed with stripy black wrigglies. Later, we saw seven peacock butterflies warming themselves on the vegetation and they looked as if they had emerged they were so pristine.
On reaching the river, David showed us where he had cleared a stretch of the bank to give a view of the water where we saw a Great Crested Grebe. He pointed out the tree which is the favourite perch of the Cuckoos.
David pointed out purple balsam which is a foreign, invasive plant. It grows tall very quickly and crowds out other plants so that nothing else survives. It originated from the Himalayas unlike the United States orange balsam which is smaller and less invasive. I did hear last week that scientists have found a rust which eventually kills the purple variety but it takes quite a time so volunteers still pull it by hand in places where it is a real pest.
We walked back through the wood looking at the huge Portuguese laurels which were planted to provide cover for birds. At the end of the walk David brought out chairs for those who had a picnic which was a nice end to the morning.
Birds seen: Mute swan, chaffinch, mallard, moorhen, green woodpecker, magpie, wood pigeon, swallow, carrion crow, great crested grebe, herring gull, black-headed gull, greylag geese, sparrowhawk
Birds heard: wren, willow warbler, goldfinch, great tit
Other species: large red damselfly blue-tailed damselfly, southern hawker, scarce chaser (m), peacock & meadow brown butterflies, silver y moth

Daphne Hayward