According the the Big Butterfly Count, although the Gatekeeper butterfly did very badly in 2016, its numbers rose 24% by 2017. I used the app to take part and log as many butterflies as I could. Here’s one from Carlton:
Am insect transforming from larva to adult is the epitome of metamorphosis. Here’s a dragonfly that’s just left its larval skin and its life as a nymph behind. It rests whilst its wings expand and harden -a vulnerable time for this ancient creature -its design hasn’t changed for 300 million years when they first appeared. Its a voracious hunter both in the water as a nymph and out as an adult. There’s definitely a sinister predatory look about the nymph case. I wouldn’t want to be a stickleback….
and here’s a couple we made earlier…..
Its smaller relative, the damselfly. Lovely electric blue flashes amongst the reeds. By the time I had my camera out, they’d gone. But I managed one half-decent shot of this trio. I’ll work on a better image next season.
A rather pretty moth, unusual in that it rolls its wings up to make a “T” shape when at rest. This one was on my kitchen window, narrowly avoiding becoming Desdemona’s next meal (see above).
An important project run by the UEA studying the Lapwing population on Carlton Marshes involved ringing Lapwing chicks. Here’s a bird in the hand we saw on my very first introductory walk around Carlton.
What a gorgeous creature. Spotted on my first Fen Raft Spider survey by our guiding light Ellen, here it was feeding on frogbit, an aquatic plant that looks like miniature lily-leaves. Its name means “frog bite” for reasons that are not clear to me or an eminent aquatic botanist I asked. Its Latin name reflects its meaning: Hydrocharis morsus-ranae. Morsus = bite, ranae = of a frog. Answers on a postcard please!
This is a European water vole, now a threatened species in this country. Its population has declined by over 90% since the 1960s, largely thanks to a spreading population of the foreign invading predatory American mink but also due to farming and watercourse practices. It’s been protected by the UK government since 2008. Curiously in France, farmers are campaigning against the water vole, which they say is causing crop damage.
SWT is doing its bit for water voles by trapping and destroying mink and creating new wetlands and habitat for them,
Here are some pics of the ravishing rodent
and a video clip. Apologies to wildlife cameramen everywhere for the quality. This was strictly very impromptu amateur photography on a windy day with no monopod or tripod.