Trip reports

NWT Thorpe Marshes

NWT Thorpe Marshes
David Porter

Monday, 17 July 2017

A select band of group members joined me on a fine morning for a walk around my local patch of Norfolk Wildlife Trust's Thorpe Marshes nature reserve. Flowers of high summer in pink and purple were the most obvious: purple loosestrife, hemp agrimony and two willowherb species early on, plus buddleias by the reserve's entrance. A little easier to overlook were the pinky-purple spikes of marsh woundwort and the hooked seedpods of upright hedge parsley.

Bird song was muted as you'd expect on a summer's day, though there were several reed buntings and a brief snatch of a flying kingfisher as we crossed the marsh. Calls of oystercatcher and lapwing filtered across from the gravel pit now called St Andrew's Broad.

Odonata - dragonflies and damselflies - are a great feature of Thorpe Marshes and we had a great stroke of luck to find a brown hawker grasping a seedhead. This is usually a species that flies high and fast so it was a rare chance for close-up photos. David also took the opportunity to photograph common darter, common blue damselflies and banded demoiselle - have a look at his results on

Ditches were rich in water soldier, water mint and frogbit though it was the statuesque leaves and flower spikes of arrowhead that particularly caught the eye at a couple of places. Ragwort isn't often a flower you stop to look at but we did today for two reasons: some were the subtly different marsh ragwort and many of the common ragworts were alive with black and yellow striped cinnabar moth caterpillars.

The Broad had a few loafing ducks and geese and on the edge we could see the lapwing flock we'd heard earlier. Nearby a linnet perched and allowed telescope views.

The star bird of the morning was on the home stretch by the mooring basin. Nick was alive to a flash of red on a tail: a juvenile redstart. Where it had flown from is anyone's guess - the nearest breeders are in the Brecks.

Chris Durdin