Wednesday, 1 September 2010

With the main access to the reserve closed for the last 7 weeks we have the chance to look at the Meadow Trail/Fen Trail area in more detail. Most visitors (including myself) usually head straight for the lagoons to look at the waders, nothing wrong with that. By doing that, we have been shown that there are loads of good things in a small area that we didn't know about. Apart from several new plant species we have found 3 convolvulous hawkmoth caterpillars, a reed dagger caterpillar (1st record since 2001) and a mystery yellow larva.

A couple of weeks ago a young boy brought in the yellow caterpillar (or so we thought) into the visitor centre. After a failed search in the internet, a photo was put onto Ispot and I contacted the Norfolk Moth group for advice. An answer came back quickly that it was probably a sawfly larva. After more looking it turn out to be a very rare and under-recorded species called Cimbex luteus and is only the 3rd modern record and 1st for Norfolk. Much interest has been caused and an expert visited the reserve today. Unfortunatly he didn't find any further signs but amazingly he did find another sawfly. This time is was the commoner Cimbex connatus or alder sawfly in the trees by the picnic area.
It just shows what is out there if you look hard enough!
Work is going well with the reserve upgrades and hopefully the path will be open to Island Hide in the next few weeks. Thankfully, nothing too good has been seen but upto 300 dunlin, 9 curlew sands and 3 little stint has been nice.

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