The Norfolk Broads are home to many rare and interesting wetland moths, some of which can only be found in this part of Britain. Famous for its range of the so called ‘wainscot’s, probably one of the most sought after is Fenn’s Wainscot which is confined to older, drier reedbeds. Also of great note are both Brown-veined and Twin-spotted Wainscot in good numbers at many sites along with Silky, Southern, Webb’s, Striped, Flame and Fen Wainscot with Rush Wainscot being found from mid-August onwards. Reed Dagger can often be found in abundance along with Reed Leopard, both Gold Spot and Lempke’s Gold Spot and Dotted Fan-foot. Two species of footman require special mention as both are great rarities, the Dotted and Small Dotted Footman with the latter species far more confined to only a few sites. The Dentated Pug can be found in several Broadland sites where the food plant grows.
The North Norfolk Coast can be particularly rewarding for moths as both dune and saltmarsh occurs throughout this stretch of coastline. The Northern Drab of the yellowish-grey saltmarsh form occurs from late April onwards. Coast Dart has seen increasing numbers recorded over the past few years. Shore, White-line, Sand and Archer’s Dart also occur in good numbers and even the Garden Dart can still be found along this stretch. The Crescent Striped, Lyme Grass, Saltern Ear, White Colon and Star-wort are also particularly sought after moths by visiting moth recorders as is the Broad-bordered Bee Hawk-moth which can sometimes be found nectaring on red valerian along the coast in daytime. Scarce Pug also can be seen at some sites but this is becoming more of a rarity nowadays.
The Norfolk and Suffolk Breck area can be good for several day-flying moths, the Grey Carpet, Oblique Striped and Tawny Wave being three (they can also be found at MV light). Lunar Yellow Underwing can be found in fair numbers along with White-line and Archer’s Dart. On the edge of the Brecks some wetland sites hold Marsh Carpet but this can be a tricky species to track down.
As with any visit, permission from the relevant authorities must be sought first and recorders are encouraged to pass on their records to the appropriate county moth recorder.
Jon Clifton, Norfolk
East Norfolk has the third highest species list for dragonflies in the whole of the UK. Only the vice-counties of East Sussex and South Hampshire on the south coast have marginally greater diversity. Not all of the species recorded in Norfolk are residents of course, but those that are still make an impressive total in terms of British dragonflies.
The Norfolk Broads, with their variety of waterbodies and surrounding habitats, host many of the more sought after species. Norfolk Hawker in particular has its main stronghold here. It can be seen flying in good numbers at most wetland sites from late May to early July and beyond. The relatively new colonist, Willow Emerald Damselfly, has also spread widely in the Broads since first arriving in Norfolk in 2009. Many sites now show evidence of breeding in the form of ovipositing scars on branches overhanging watercourses and adults can be seen from late summer through to late autumn. Hairy Dragonfly often shares the same dyke systems as Norfolk Hawker, while Variable Damselfly is locally abundant at several sites.
In west Norfolk the heaths of Roydon Common, Grimston Warren and Dersingham Bog play host to habitat specialists such as Black Darter and Keeled Skimmer; the latter having its main county stronghold at Holt Lowes to the north. These dragonflies can often be seen together with more widespread species such as Ruddy and Common Darter, Four-spotted Chaser and Migrant Hawker.
Scarce Emerald Damselfly is the local speciality of the Brecks and it is usually found alongside Emerald Damselfly. This makes comparison of these two closely related species relatively easy and the more robust nature of the former soon becomes evident.
One of the reasons for a high species list in Norfolk is the good number of migrant and vagrant species that continue to arrive on the long coastline, particularly to the east of the county. Southern Emerald Damselfly has been seen regularly in the stretch of dunes between Horsey and Winterton since the first British record there in 2002. This area was also one of the main entry points for Small Red-eyed Damselfly when it first colonised our shores. Other species seen on a fairly frequent basis either at the coast or just a little inland include Yellow-winged and Red-veined Darter, Lesser Emperor and the more occasional Southern Migrant Hawker.
Pam Taylor, Norfolk Dragonfly Recorder
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