Another beautiful day dawned and, after Guillaume and I arose in an unhurried fashion, I pedalled off into Ludham to the local shop to secure a few more cans of beer and some nibbles during their Sunday morning opening hours. Three of Guillaume’s immediate neighbours packed up and left but unfortunately not the two small, irritatingly yappy dogs two pitches to his right. Pity. One of the wardens wandered around collecting pitch marker pegs. 🙁
By the time I’d made myself a sandwich for lunch on my day’s travels, it was darn nearly midday so I thought I might as well just eat it in situ and keep Guillaume company in the sun. I spotted one of the resident Migrant Hawkers (Aeshna mixta) flitting about near the hedge beside Guillaume. It hung-up. I grabbed camera, monopod and caravan step for added elevation and snapped away, temporarily ignoring my half eaten sandwich. This was a male. Then, just two feet to its right, I spotted a female Migrant Hawker also hung-up. I shifted the caravan step two feet right and snapped away again. Back in June, Guillaume had a Norfolk Hawker (Aeshna isosceles) hung-up in the bushes of his pitch, now he had a pair of Migrant Hawkers. Lucky Guillaume!
In June, Francine and I had made an unsuccessful attempt at finding Odos in the Winterton Dunes Nature Reserve. Acting on sketchy information, we had made our assault through the sands from the north, eventually retiring fed-up. Today, armed with more accurate information from a fellow fan, I thought I try again by attacking through the sands from the south. I trudged two miles north and found what I thought must have been the pool of main interest. I say “have been” because there wasn’t a great deal of water left. Neither could I discern any signs of Odonata life. I’d scared up Common Darters (Sympetrum striolatum) en route but that was it. Wrong time of the season, I guess. I retired fed-up and trudged two miles back south scaring up the self same Common Darters again. Not too bad a walk, I suppose, the sand was a little firmer from the south.
The time was now 2:30 PM so I didn’t want to go too far afield. However, the Upton Fen and Marshes Norfolk Wildlife Trust nature reserve was just 20 minutes away so I gave that try. As luck would have it, clouds decided to roll in at about 3:00 PM suppressing much in the way of activity. All I did was scare up a few of the usual seasonal suspects with no photo opportunities.
Heading back intent on one of my newly acquired beers with Guillaume, I acted on a whim and diverted to Thurne. Good decision; here I found a small marina and not one but two iconic Norfolk windmills – actually, I think they are wind pumps for managing water levels in the marshes, but windmill always seem to sound more natural. – one of which was in the company of an attractive sailing boat. [I’ve given this a rudimentary monochrome treatment to try and get over the rather dull sky.]
So, with two more blanks at nature reserves today, I’ve done rather better on the campsite beside Guillaume. Fear not, I remain a great fan of nature reserves. Here in Norfolk, the combined forces of the RSPB and the Norfolk Wildlife Trust are doing a wonderful job preserving wildlife habitat which, of course, is the very reason there are Odos beside Guillaume in his campsite. 😉