May 16th continued......
Great Crested Grebes
Choose a side; Hickling Weaver's Way dissappointments and few pleasures......
The main reason for a walk along the Weaver’s Way, Hickling (24th) was to look for Swallowtails, which had been recently reported in Norfolk.
From Decoy Road, the path took me by succession, which was not favourable to Swallowtails, with Gorse and Birch spreading unabated towards the dyke and into the areas where plant communities once thrived, favourable, (including the preferred food plant of Swallowtails; Milk Parsley Peucedanum palustre) to both Swallowtails of the sub-species Papilio machaon britannicus and other insects.
This area once very productive for both the food plant and nectar plants, of larvae and adult butterflies respectively has been getting progressively worse, due to succession. Management of the Broadland landscape is highly important to both flora and fauna, some of which is unique to this ecosystem, but this particular area has not been ‘sympathetically managed’ for at least 40 years! I know this because I have been visiting Hickling NNT since 1970!
I have highlighted this need for management via my Twitter account, as I feel unlike the vast majority of people, that the Norfolk Wildlife Trust is not doing enough, especially when they are coming out with slogans like: ‘Saving Norfolk’s Wildlife for future generations’. Really?! Requests to buy more land keeps coming out of their ‘mouth-piece’, but they cannot manage the land they already own effectively.
Sir David Attenborough has spoken out about making every opportunity suitable for wildlife and the WWF has stated it is time to take a side; I made my choice a very long time ago and the time for debate and compromise is over. I did not think I would be alive to see such a decline in both species and environments, but I am seeing this and if the very people we are supposed to trust to look after the Natural World are failing it, as they are, I see no hope!
Back to what is still left along the Weaver’s Way, included Blackcap, Cetti’s Reed, Sedge and Willow Warblers singing, but not that many, two Cuckoos were heard as was a Crane and a Marsh Harrier was seen in the distance.
Dragonflies were very hard to come by, but eventually nearing ‘the bridge’ (fairly lifeless till that point, succession a factor?) Four-spotted Chaser, Hairy Dragonfly and the first Black-tailed Skimmer of the year were seen. Damselflies included; Large Red, Azure, Variable, Blue-tailed and a Red-eyed; again not at all commonly seen.
A Common Malachite Beetle Malachius bipustulatus was found near the bridge was an interesting find and a Red and Black Froghopper was seen.
Butterflies were confined to 3 Peacock and a ‘small white’ species and finally, just outside Wagonhill Plantation, what I had come to look for, a ‘fresh’ Swallowtail, which eventually settled on a Reed and very confidingly allowed some photos.
I would have liked to have stopped in the public hide, but there were two tents outside. Didn’t realise the NWT had started a camping site!
Succession unchecked Hicling NNT NWT new campsite?!