Following our visit on 24.02.01 I consulted English Nature and Norfolk Wildlife Trust regarding the Foot & Mouth crisis which had suddenly reared its head. It was decided that our operation would be suspended until further notice, and the site closed to the public.
On Sat 17.03.01 I visited the entrances to the site to check that the closure signs were still in place, and also installed some red & white tape at the car park entrance to deter visitors without actually preventing them from entering.
On Fri. 20.04.01 I consulted Reg Land, Conservation Officer with NWT to ask if our operation could re-commence since many restrictions were being lifted. He gave approval and suggested I spoke to the Site Trustees. On the morning of 21.04.01 Colin Thompson and myself visited Mrs Wendy Matthewson and she felt that we were safe to continue. Having got all-round approval, Colin and I met up with David Ruthven and Phil Davison to visit the site for the first time in seven weeks to check that all was well and also to log species. Our report can be seen below.
Without a doubt, this is the longest time I've been missing from the site since I first visited back in 1991, and I'm raring to go again!
No 657 Sat. 21.04.01 Morning fairly cloudy, sunnier later.
Colin Thompson, Phil Davison, David Ruthven, & Colin Penny = 4.
Birds: Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella, Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla - NW corner of the site, Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus, Chiffchaff P. collybita, Snipe Gallinago gallinago, Mallard Anas platyrhynchos - 3 seen in mire, Green Woodpecker Picus viridis, Jay Garrulus glandarius, Woodcock Scolopax rusticola, Kestrel Falco tinnunculus - valley mire, Magpie Pica pica, Swallow Hirundo rustica, Carrion Crow Corvus corone corone.
Mammals: Common Shrew Sorex araneus Grey Squirrel Sciurus carolinensis - scampering up an Oak in the entrance road, Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus, Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus - one animal seen, plus tracks on most parts of site, Red Deer Cervus elaphus - large deer slot footprints seen, plus large clumped droppings - not at all like those of Roe.
Hemiptera: Common Pond Skater Gerris lacustris - on the small pond discovered on our recent clearance work at the western mire.
Coleoptera: Green Tiger Beetle Cicindela campestris - Loop Path, Dor Beetle Geotrupes stercorarius, 7-spot Ladybird Coccinella 7-punctata.
Butterflies: Peacock Inachis io.
Moths: Common Heath Ematurga atomaria, Drinker Philudoria potatoria - 2 larvae found on mire vegetation, Micro Moth Eriocrania semipurpurella - a dark purple moth with a white "saddle" over the wings. It swarms around birches in March and April, and the larvae make blotch mines in young birch leaves. See illustration on page 125 of Chinery's Insect guide.
Herptiles: Adder Vipera berus - approximately 20 sightings ! Common Lizard Lacerta vivpara - a few sightings, plus one sloughed skin.
Hymenoptera: Honey Bee Apis mellifera.
Araneae: Spider Agroeca brunnea - white egg case found attched to a plant.
Mollusca: Black Slug Arion ater.
Fishes: Three-spined Stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus - in Stream near (what was) Stream Arch.
In flower: Common Gorse Ulex europaeus, Blackthorn Prunus spinosa, Ground Ivy Glechoma hederacea, Marsh Marigold Caltha palustris, Common Dog Violet Viola riviniana, Field Wood-rush Luzula campestris, Lesser Celandine Ranunculus ficaria, Marsh Valerian Valeriana dioica, Lady's Smock Cardamine pratensis, Goat Willow Salix caprea agg.
Not in flower: Marsh Fern Thelypteris palutris (thelypteroides) - 4" colts appearing all around the sluice area and spreading well, Bracken Pteridium aquilinum - colts appearing, some up to 8" in height, Lily of the Valley Convallaria majalis - some appearing near the "new" wood-chip "mountains".
Crustacea: Freshwater Shrimp Gammarus pulex - at the sluice.