Norfolk, Jun 2013

Swiftly on the heels of our trip to Shropshire in search of the White-faced Darters (Leucorrhinia dubia), came a trip to Norfolk in search of my second missing localized celebrity, the Norfolk Hawker/Green-eyed Hawker (Aeshna isoceles). The Norfolk Broads is the main area of interest when it comes to Norfolk Hawkers so, for our first week of a 2-week trip, I’d booked us into the Caravan Club site at Johnson Street near Ludham. We planned a second week in the west of Norfolk on the Camping and Caravanning Club site on the Sandringham estate.

The president of the BDS, Dr. Pam Taylor, is also the Norfolk recorder so, prior to making our trip, I emailed requesting assistance/suggestions and how very helpful she was. She was kind enough to provide me with maps and instructions as to finding some very precise locations. Her information constituted the great bulk of our activity in the Norfolk Broads area. Many thanks!


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Johnson Street campsite: 22-28 Jun, 2013

J01_3043 teneral female Norfolk HawkerNo sooner had we arrived in Norfolk and got ourselves installed on our campsite, but a teneral Norfolk Hawker buzzed into our pitch and eventually hung-up in the bushes right beside our caravan. I couldn’t believe my luck – they seem to have come looking for me. 🙂 Our VIP visitor remained there all day and, though it was in the shade and far from well lit, I managed to bring my camera to bear, assisted by monopod and flash gun. I was over the moon. Our caravan also attracted a sheltering Red-eyed Damselfly.

So, a short list but a list for the campsite nonetheless:

  • Erythromma najas (Red-eyed Damselfly)
  • Aeshna isoceles (Norfolk Hawker)

Alderfen: 25 Jun, 2013

The two most widely known sites for chasing Norfolk Hawkers are the Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Upton Fen and Marshes reserve together with the RSPB’s Strumpshaw Fen reserve. However, I got the impression that Dr. Taylor’s personal favourite spot was the lesser known Alderfen Broad reserve, also one belonging to the Norfolk Wildlife Trust. Having visited, I can quite understand why. Alderfen was wonderfully tranquil (we saw nobody else at all) and access was good, though the entrance to it is very much less than obvious, there being no signs that I could se on the narrow country lane leading to it.

J01_3095 Variable Damselflies in copIn addition to the Norfolk Hawker, which we did find, it is also a good spot for the Variable Damselfly (Coenagrion pulchellum).

Here’s my hit list for Alderfen:

  • Coenagrion puella (Azure Damselfly)
  • Coenagrion pulchellum (Variable Damselfly)
  • Ischnura elegans (Blue-tailed Damselfly)
  • Pyrrhosoma nymphula (Large Red Damselfly)
  • Aeshna isoceles (Norfolk Hawker)
  • Brachytron pratense (Hairy Hawker)
  • Libellula depressa (Broad-bodied Chaser)
  • Libellula quadrimaculata (Four-spotted Chaser)
  • Orthetrum cancellatum (Black-tailed Skimmer)

Ludham Bridge, River Ant: 25 Jun, 2013

Our campsite was a mere 100m/100yds or so from Ludham Bridge. As well as overnight moorings, beside the river Ant here are reeds so I couldn’t resist scouring these for Odos. In a small dyke beside the river, I was a little surprised to find Norfolk Hawkers. Perhaps this was the source of our teneral on the campsite?

  • Coenagrion puella (Azure Damselfly)
  • Enallagma cyathigerum (Common Blue Damselfly)
  • Ischnura elegans (Blue-tailed Damselfly)
  • Erythromma najas (Red-eyed Damselfly)
  • Pyrrhosoma nymphula (Large Red Damselfly)
  • Aeshna isoceles (Norfolk Hawker)
  • Libellula fulva (Scarce Chaser)
  • Orthetrum cancellatum (Black-tailed Skimmer)

Upton Broad and Marshes: 26 Jun, 2013

J01_3177 Norfolk Hawker in flightOn to one of the two most widely known sites for chasing Norfolk Hawkers, Upton Broad and Marshes. Being more widely known, we didn’t have this reserve to ourselves but it was a very pleasant mixed habitat including turf ponds, boards walks and dykes. It was a dyke filled with water soldier that netted us a flight shot of a patrolling Norfolk Hawker, amongst other interests.

Here’s my hit list for Upton:

  • Coenagrion puella (Azure Damselfly)
  • Coenagrion pulchellum (Variable Damselfly)
  • Enallagma cyathigerum (Common Blue Damselfly)
  • Ischnura elegans (Blue-tailed Damselfly)
  • Pyrrhosoma nymphula (Large Red Damselfly)
  • Aeshna isoceles (Norfolk Hawker)
  • Libellula quadrimaculata (Four-spotted Chaser)
  • Orthetrum cancellatum (Black-tailed Skimmer)

Ludham and Potter Heigham Marshes NNR: 26 Jun, 2013

Whilst out for a bike ride, for a change, we stumbled across Ludham and Potter Heigham Marshes. Before continuing our bike ride, we spent about 30 minutes watching a dyke at the corner of one field beside the track and were surprised to see a couple of Norfolk Hawkers start buzzing about. These guys may be localized (although they are now breeding in Cambridgeshire as well as Norfolk) but they certainly do not seem to be rare – locally abundant is the term I’d use. The Norfolk Hawkers were not alone:

  • Coenagrion pulchellum (Variable Damselfly)
  • Erythromma najas (Red-eyed Damselfly)
  • Pyrrhosoma nymphula (Large Red Damselfly)
  • Aeshna isoceles (Norfolk Hawker)
  • Libellula quadrimaculata (Four-spotted Chaser)
  • Orthetrum cancellatum (Black-tailed Skimmer)

Another trip that I’d brand as a great success. 🙂

Posted in 2013, Trip reports, UK

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