We’ll start at Winterton dunes, the only significant dune heath on the East Coast of England. Amongst the rich dune flora we can search for Adder and there’s a Little Tern colony here too. On the extensive sandy beach is one of the largest Grey Seal colonies in the UK. They throng the beach in winter when they give birth to their pups. In May most are back at sea but there’s always some around and we’ll see a few are hauled out on the beach. Common (Harbour) Seals are usually to be seen too.
It’s just a couple of miles to the northern part of the Broads National Park at Horsey mere. This wonderful, originally man—made, broad has over the years become the home of a wonderful array of wetland and damp grassland species. Many years ago this was the only place in the UK where you could regularly see Common Cranes. A small population established itself in the 1980s and since then they’ve gradually increased to around forty in number. Amazing how difficult though to spot forty large grey birds in an open landscape! But we’ll check the best spots for them and we have a good chance to see them. Bitterns occasionally fly out over the reedbeds and there’s a wide range of wetland birds to be seen.
In the afternoon we’ll visit Upton Fen, one of Norfolk’s wildlife crown jewels. In late spring the fens are covered in Ragged Robin and Cuckoo Flower whilst Grasshopper Warblers reel away and Reed Buntings are nesting in the sedge tussocks. By June the Hairy Dragonfly has been replace by the Emperor Dragonfly and the rare Norfolk Hawker and it’s now the turn of Frogbit, Water Soldier, Bog Pimpernel, Milk Parsley and Marsh Helleborine to flower. Stunning Swallowtails are now on the wing.