The end results of habitat management often seem to pass by in a flash in June. This week offered the opportunity for a bit of speedy site checking to see how target species were faring. A quick look at North Warren found 40+ spikes of Sand Catchfly, maintained in its favoured bare patches by a bit of raking and over-zealous cyclists. Who says disturbance is bad? A whizz by Minsmere produced a distant Savi’s Warbler and, more impressively, a Bittern booming out in the open in front of the Bittern hide, where else?
Fen Orchids are just coming into flower. The remaining Norfolk plants are found on just four sites, with the majority now under the management care of the RSPB. Since taking over the management of Sutton Fen, experimental cutting of 80 blocks of fen on a variety of rotations has seen the number of Fen Orchids rise, with an estimated 1,200 plants last year. Other fen specialists such as the Round-leaved Wintergreen and Crested Buckler Fern seemed to be doing okay. Shallow turf ponds have also been cut to re-establish early successional conditions and now have the Shining Ramshorn snail in residence.
Cranes are busy at their usual sites, with their usual mix of problems. One pair had already lost two clutches and have probably given up for the year; others have young chicks in tow but still are a long way to fledging. The breezy conditions were not ideal for Swallowtails but several were seen briefly at both Sutton and Strumpshaw Fens. Much better was a ready to emerge pupa pointed out by the warden.