Keeled Over

Although it wasn’t ideal ‘dragon hunting’ weather this afternoon, I ventured out on to Beeston Common with Andy, in pursuit of Keeled Skimmer. This is a scarce dragonfly in Norfolk, found only at a handful of sites across the county. We hardly saw an insect for the first three quarters of an hour before finally, in a brief spell of sunshine, Andy spotted first a female and then a resting male. Another female appeared and disappeared almost as quickly. The pair stayed long enough to get reasonable record shots. Towards the end of our afternoon session we saw a very obliging  male Emperor at rest.

Talking to Francis Farrow, volunteer guardian of the Common, he said that the Keeled Skimmer were definitely approaching the end of their season. This was a new dragonfly species for me, so I was pleased to see them before they keeled over!

Male, Keeled Skimmer



Female Keeled Skimmer


Male Emperor


Stunning Sterna


Adult Roseate Tern, Arnold’s Marsh, Cley

We were pretty quick off the mark yesterday evening when the call came through about a couple of adult Roseate Tern on Arnold’s Marsh, Cley. Unfortunately, by the time we got there, the birds had disappeared and no one else, other than the finders, had seen them either. Oh well! – you win some and you… Anyway, we were on ‘high alert’ this morning in case they were relocated – which they were, at around 10.00. Off we went again but this time, even from East Bank, we could tell by the concentration on the faces of the small assembled crowd, that the birds were still present. Unfortunately, Arnold’s Marsh is never particularly good viewing in the mornings – the birds usually being distant and you are looking into the sun. Any how, there they were, giving reasonable views for fifteen minutes, before they decided to get airborne and disappear across the shingle ridge and out to sea.

A couple more shots, showing the key features: all dark bill, bright red legs, narrow outer primary wedges, pale mantle and long tail-streamers (alas no pinkish tones to the underparts were discernible) – taken into the sun with plenty of heat-haze for good measure:




Pacific Golden Plover


Pacific Golden Plover, Breydon Water, Norfolk

Popped over to Breydon Water yesterday evening to catch up with the Pacific Golden Plover, which has been hanging about there for the past few days. The tide was still out and the setting sun was directly in our eyes but we did eventually manage acceptable views, helped by the fact that there was only the PGP and a pair of Oystercatcher on the entire stretch of saltings! This was my second Pacific Golden Plover in Norfolk, my first being one on Buckenham Marshes, quite a few years ago – which, as I recall, also involved a evening excursion, only that time it was from Peterborough! It’s perhaps a little surprising but I still need it’s American cousin for my Norfolk List.

Post Script: The bird flew off west half an hour after we left and hasn’t been seen so far this morning!

Distant shot, but of the whole bird at least!