Weather: The poor weather continued this month, despite the Daily Star’s assurances of a ‘Scorcher Autumn’. September kicked off with a weak ridge of high pressure which initially brought relatively quiet weather, but the rest of the month was generally unsettled with an unusually high number of rainy days. It was often cool with frequent north-westerlies and belts of persistent rain alternating with brighter showery weather. It then warmed up later in the month, with mainly southerly winds, but was often cloudy with some fog patches.
Places Visited: Amwell; Norfolk; River Stort/Thorley Wash; Rye Meads.
Star Sightings of the Month:
Mammal: Pygmy Shrew
Butterfly: Speckled Wood
Odonata: Willow Emerald
Insect: Hawthorn Shield Bug
‘Yesterday is history, today is a gift, tomorrow is a mystery.’ Bill Keane
After the highlight of PNG, normal service was resumed this month. Actually, it would have been tough to have improved on last month.
There were trips to Amwell and along the River Stort to Thorley Wash. I also paid a couple of visits to Rye Meads, which continues to draw in the crowds and the wildlife. I also spent a few days in Norfolk, a regular, annual occurrence now.
A walk up the River Stort, to Thorley Wash was my first September visit, on the first day of the month. After a slow start, I was eventually delighted to find a dozen or more Willow Emerald damselflies along the river, this time quite close to the Reserve. Indeed, I even spotted three in the Reserve itself.
Then it was off to Rye Meads, for the first of two visits, followed by Amwell. Birds were still quite scarce, although plenty of wildfowl were now arriving.
Common and Green Sandpipers, Snipe and Kingfisher were good value at RM, while Kestrel, Hobby and a late Swallow appeared at Amwell.
I spent three lovely days in Norfolk, mainly for the birding, visiting various Reserves, including Titchwell, Cley and Snettisham. It didn’t disappoint, with plenty of wader species to be seen. I was especially delighted to see a pair of Corncrakes at Pensthorpe NR.
I’ve visited Pensthorpe several times over the years and find it very rewarding. The wader enclosure allows for some very close views. I know it’s not for some, especially twitchers, but it provides better views than most, where they are usually miles away. The Reserve is also very good at conservation, especially for Cranes and Red Squirrels.
Mammal sightings are still few and far between, but there was a lovely little Pygmy Shrew seen visiting Snettisham. There were, of course, the Red Squirrels at Pensthorpe.
The insect season is now starting to wind down considerably. Butterflies, such as the Whites, Red Admiral and Speckled Wood are still to be found, but not much else.
Willow Emeralds are now out in force, in several Reserves, together with Common Darter and Migrant Hawker. The usual, in fact. However, it’s good to see the Emerald distribution and number expanding, especially to HMWT Thorley Wash.
Of the rest of the invertebrates, Spiders, including Cross and Nursery Web, are now out in some number. Adult Dark Bush Crickets, Dock Bugs, hoverflies, bees and wasps are now mostly the only things on view. However, the best sightings were along the canal path, at Amwell, where I found Green Shield, Hawthorn and Forest Shield Bugs.
The flowers? Oh, please. Buddleia and Purple Loosestrife are the only things still noticeable. There is, of course, plenty of flora about, but I forget the names. My fingers aren’t particularly green.
Not quite as good a month as August – but then, how could you top Papua New Guinea? Despite the continuing dismal weather, it was quite a good few weeks. Norfolk is always worth a visit, no matter the time of the year!
‘When to the session of sweet silent thought summon up remembrance of things past.’
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