A Superb Visit To Strumpshaw Fen

It turned out to be a superb morning’s visit to the RSPB reserve at Strumpshaw Fen, a few miles from Norwich, in Norfolk. We couldn’t believe our luck, for we saw the stunning swallowtail butterfly and also the Norfolk hawker dragonfly, both rarities. The butterfly is only found in the Broads area of Norfolk.

The swallowtail butterfly.
The Norfolk hawker.

We started spotting dragons almost as soon as we’d left the reception area on our visit at the beginning of June. And, a few paces further on, there was a tantalising early glimpse of a yellow and black butterfly as it fluttered across our path. Would it be our only sighting?

A four spotted chaser.

As we walked on, I stopped to look at a four-spotted chaser perched on plants to my right. My daughter had gone a little further ahead and called to me that there was a dragonfly over there, too! We didn’t know which way to look – there was so much to see in this beautiful wildlife haven.


Red eyed damselfly

The weather was perfect for our first visit, sunshine and the temperature in the low twenties, with very little wind. The reserve is sandwiched between the railway line from Great Yarmouth to Norwich and the River Yare. Strumpshaw Fen, a SSSI, SPA and SAC, lies in the mid Yare Valley and is part of the Norfolk Broads.

A mute swan wanders in the reserve.

We walked by the River Yare and through woodland, on the way seeing a male marsh harrier soaring below the clouds and spotting some mute swans, one of which had small cygnets nearby. A brimstone butterfly sipped nectar from woodland flowers as we walked past.

At the end of the morning, we decided to go along the meadow trail and thank goodness we did. for it was here that we had fantastic views of certainly two swallowtail butterflies as they flew around the colourful meadow, alighting on various flowers, including ragged robin.

A swallowtail butterfly flies around the meadow.

And, then, turning towards the ditch behind me, I watched a dragonfly land on some reeds. Through the camera viewfinder I saw the creature had green eyes and it flashed into my mind I was looking at a Norfolk hawker for the first time!




2 thoughts on “A Superb Visit To Strumpshaw Fen

  1. Ive read all your wildlife blogs and they are all great, I like them as you don’t get to technical and what a lovely time we all had at Strumpshaw Fen and all cracking photos. David

    Liked by 1 person

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