Leader – Emily Leonard
Reporter – Ray Gribble
Species List – David Laurie
Fourteen WVBS members assembled at How Hill car park for a 6 mile walk around the surrounding area on public footpaths. The weather was overcast with a cool northerly breeze.
In her welcome speech Emily gave us some of the history of the site and pointed out that it was not a nature reserve, thus trying to manage our expectations of what to expect. It was totally unnecessary, as we recorded 66 species. The weather, however, had a damping effect on butterflies and dragonflies, dashing all hopes of Swallowtail butterfly which Emily had seen
during the previous week.
With our mix of experienced members willing to share their knowledge with less experienced members we set off across the mown area and down towards the river Ant. Before we had left the car park we had recorded a Treecreeper and a far more obvious Song Thrush singing close by.
Reaching the river Ant we turned left and followed the bank along a good path to Ludham Bridge. A female Marsh Harrier was soon picked up with a few Swifts over the reedbed. Both Sedge and Reed Warblers plus Reed Buntings showed well for all to see. The latter were particularly common in the mix of bushes in reeds. The highlight along this stretch had to be a Bittern which flew a full 300 metres in clear view with the rarely seen sun shining on it. It was a first sighting for some of our members. Emily explained that the Broads Authority are carrying out works to improve the habitat here for Bitterns so we can expect this wonderful marshland bird to become more successful in this area. A high-flying Hobby was also a picked up while we continued to add many of the commoner wetland species, although Teal was uncommon here during the summer months. Bearded Tits were less obliging, with a few members hearing their distinctive “ping” call and a couple of us had brief flight views.
After a refreshment stop at the bridge, we retraced our way back along the Ant for about a mile before taking a footpath which lead up to a high point where we shared Emily’s favourite view in the Broads. And what a view it was, at only 10m above sea level! We continued along a footpath until we came to a yard where we stopped for lunch accompanied by the song of
a couple of Wrens. From there we crossed arable fields picking up Pied Wagtail and Yellowhammer along the way. Finally, a search for Spotted Flycatcher near How Hill centre failed but we rewarded ourselves with ice creams on the quay before concluding the walk. Many thanks to Emily for organising and leading a successful field trip, to Steve for guidance on song ID, David for recording the species seen and to everyone present for making it a most enjoyable day.
For those members who didn’t go on this trip it is an area well worth a visit.
Great Crested Grebe
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Please feel free to read through our reports from our monthly outdoor meetings.