Wildlife '04

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Common Toad - Lound - April 11, 2004 - ©Robert Wilton

Pick of the mammals was a Chinese Water Deer Hydropotes inermis feeding in the open at Carlton Marshes on February 8. Initially giving good views it soon retreated to the cover of reeds when the cameras made an appearance! Six Fallow Deer Cervus dama at Ashby on the May 21 were a nice surprise. Ashby is excellent for Muntjac Deer Muntiacus reevesi but the only reports received so far are from Gunton on May 21 and Fritton on December 15th. A baby Muntjac Deer
along Corton disused railtrack on September 7th was the first record for the site.

Red Fox Vulpes vulpes have been noted at Gunton on February 27th, Fisher Row on April 16th, Bloodmoor Road, Pakefield on April 17th and Clifton Road in July. More unusual was a Water Vole Arvicola terrestris seen in a dyke at Haddiscoe on May 11th, once a common sight, but now very rarely seen

After a dead Common Shrew Sorex araneus was found at Gunton on July 16th, a live Pygmy Shrew Sorex minutus was seen there on the 20th.

Two American Mink
Mustela vison ran across the road at Ashby between Lound Waterworks and Fritton Lake on September 1st. At least their relative the Weasel Mustela nivalis seen at Corton disused railway line on September 7th was a native carnivore.

A Brown Long-eared Bat Plecotus auritus
was caught in a house at Mutford and released on September 15th. Looking somewhat lost a Grey Squirrel Sciurus carolinensis was scampering along the seafront at Ness Point on October 4th.

Chinese Water Deer  ©Tim Brown
Chinese Water Deer - Carlton Marshes - December 7th 2003 - ©Tim Brown

HARBOUR PORPOISE Phocoena phocoena
Noted monthly between Kessingland and Corton as follows:
January: 5th, 7th, 26th (2), 28th.
February: 8th (1), 10th (2), 13th (1), 15th (1).
3rd (2), 9th (2), 10th (3), 12th (2), 13th (3), 25th (1).
April: 1st (1), 8th (3), 9th (3), 10th (1), 11th (1), 12th (2), 16th (1), 21st-24th (1).
May: 1st (1), 6th (1), 8th (2), 9th (1), 18th (1), 21st (3), 22nd (2), 24th (1), 28th (1); and Lowestoft North Beach on the 21st.
June: 19th (1), 26th (2 possibly 4), 27th (2).
July: 1st (1), 3rd (2 possibly 4), 5th (2), 18th (2), 20th (1), 24th (1), 25th (1), 27th (2), 31st (1).
August: 3rd (1), 23rd (1), 24th (1), 25th (1), 26th (1), 31st (1).
September: 2nd (2), 5th (1), 6th (1), 7th (4), 16th (4), 21st (2).
October: 6th (1), 8th (2), 18th (1), 27th (1).
November: 5th (1), 25th (1).

Grey Seal ©Robert Wincup
Grey Seal - Kessingland Beach - September 7, 2003 - ©Robert Wincup
GREY SEAL Halichoerus grypus
Kessingland - January 8th, 17th, 22nd;
February 6th (1), 8th (1), 12th (1), 21st (1); September 7th (1), 14th (1).
Lowestoft North Beach - July 27th (1), September 17th (1).

Corton / Ness Point - August 24th (1), 25th (1), September 21st (2), October 4th (1).

On December 14th a Common Seal was seen feeding along Lake Lothing. One was present here last winter so sightings could refer to the same individual.

Ants & Flies

The very warm, humid and fairly still afternoon of the 16th was marked by one of the largest mass nuptial flights of Common Black Ant Lasius niger that I can recall. Over the previous week one or two small flights had taken place, but this was on an altogether larger scale, and it seemed like every ant nest in town was taking advantage of the ideal conditions.

Where ever you looked ants were flying past or running around, their mating flight completed, looking for a hole in the ground to make their new nest in. The local gull population soon took advantage of this food bonus and huge circling flocks soon appeared over the town, but with such a massive coordinated flight the
survival prospects for the ants were probably higher than on most flights.
Hoverfly sp. ©Andrew Easton
Episyrphus balteatus - Lowestoft North Beach - July 27th, 2003 - ©Andrew Easton

Huge numbers of Hoverflies Syrphidae sp. were arriving in off the sea throughout the day on the 27th, including the one above, along with many Butterflies and small numbers of Bumblebees Bombus sp.

Although just past the peak time for seeing Glow-worms Lampyris noctiluca 20 or so lavae were seen in the Waveney Valley on August 19th and 20th.

Glow-worm ©Andrew Easton
Glow-worm Lampyris noctiluca - Waveney Valley - August 19, 2003 - ©Andrew Easton

Reptiles and amphibians
March saw good numbers of Common Toads Bufo bufo Lound Waterworks between the 22nd-24th. Large numbers of Common Toads and a single Common Frog Rana temporaria were at Carlton Marshes on the 25th. Several Common Frogs were in the ornamental ponds in Sparrows Nest Gardens on March 26th. Adult Common Frogs were noted a Belton Common and Lound Waterworks on August 3rd, on the same date a young Common Toad was also at Belton Common.

A Grass Snake Natrix natrix crossed the River Waveney at North Cove Marshes on the 8th. Another was seen by Corton Woods ponds on July 22nd. Two small Grass Snakes were seen in Waveney Forest on July 29th, one of which was carried away by a Mistle Thrush!
Two Red-eared Terrapins Pseudemys scripta were seen soaking up the glorious spring sunshine at Leathes Ham on April 16 with one present on the 21st. These were originally pets from the days of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles craze in the late 1980's that either became less cuddly than expected and/or outgrew their tanks. One or two have been present for several years but are rarely seen.

A Common Lizard Lacerta vivipara at Belton Common on July 26th was outnumbered 3:1 by the Lounge Lizards observing it!!!
Red-eared Terrapins ©Robert Wilton
Red-eared Terrapins - Leathes Ham - April 16, 2003 - ©Robert Wilton