9 wildlife highlights from Norfolk in 2019
PUBLISHED: 15:41 02 January 2020 | UPDATED: 15:58 02 January 2020
From baby flamingos to a record year for a seal colony, here are nine of Norfolk's wildlife highlights from 2019.
1. Baby flamingos at Pensthorpe
While 14 eggs were laid two weeks before, only one was fertile, leaving the chick to hatch late in the season.
Chrissie Kelley, head of species at Pensthorpe, said: "We're thrilled we have our first hatching here, and hopefully it means more next year."
2. Sculthorpe Moor expansion gets underway
Sculthorpe Moor, near Fakenham, is lesser known than some of Norfolk's other larger wildlife reserves, yet is internationally recognised for its work.
A diverse range of wildlife thrives in the reserve's rich habitat of woodland, fen and reedbeds.
Now, the reserve is planning to purchase the land either side of the current reserve and ensure it is protected from private development, is fully accessible to the public and is managed to ensure wildlife can thrive.
3. Removal of 'excessive' netting at Bacton
North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) installed netting along a 1.3km stretch of Bacton cliffs to deter birds during work on the Bacton/Walcott Coastal Management Sandscaping scheme.
But the netting stopped sand martins from nesting and hundreds of people across the country protested against it.
After the increased pressure from the public, on April 9, NNDC made the decision to remove some of the netting from the cliff.
4. Purple emperor butterfly return to Foxley Wood after 'extinction'
Experts confirmed the purple emperor butterfly returned to Norfolk's largest ancient woodland, once its stronghold in the county, nearly 50 years after it was declared extinct in the county.
This confirmed sighting by Butterfly Conservation in Foxley Wood not only heralds a successful restoration, but it adds weight to the belief the butterfly is potentially breeding again in Norfolk.
Head of nature reserves at Norfolk Wildlife Trust, John Milton said: "Despite nearly 30 years as a conifer plantation, the restoration of Foxley Wood has made it hospitable once again for this impressive butterfly."
5. Record year for Blakeney Point
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Rangers said 3,068 pups had been born in 2019, beating the total of 3,012 in 2018.
The trust believes the colony's remoteness and the absence of predators could be reasons for its success.
6. Ospreys at Ranworth Broad and the Tipping the Balance project
In August visitors on boat trails at Ranworth Broad were lucky enough to spot an osprey.
One or two ospreys usually pass through Ranworth each autumn, and though none have nested there yet, the hope is that one day they will.
Ospreys fish by sight, so clearing the water as part of the Norfolk Wildlife Trust's Biffa Award funded Tipping the Balance project should help encourage more ospreys to Ranworth.
7. Wader spectacular as migrating birds return to Norfolk
Knots might not be the biggest of birds but some travel thousands of miles to reach our shores.
Numbers of waders present on the Wash fluctuate through the course of the year, with the greatest numbers generally being present from mid autumn to mid winter.
8. David Attenborough says Cley Marshes one of his favourite places to visit in the world
Sir David considers Norfolk's Cley Marshes to be "one of the great places in Britain to see wildlife" according to an article written in The Travel.
The article said: "The great man has spoken about how this area, although protected, is severely at risk of change due to its proximity to the coast and effects of climate change.
"Attenborough has also stated the ironic pleasantry that the Norfolk Wildlife Trust was founded the same year he was born - 1926."
9. Farm wildlife transformation wins national conservation award
Charles Inglis, of Hole Farm at Hempstead, near Holt, has won the Silver Lapwing Award, presented by the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) to recognise farmers who go the extra mile to protect and enhance the countryside, alongside profitable food-growing enterprises.
Now, the huge open fields have made way for a mosaic of insect-rich hedgerows and woodland, around arable crops fringed with floristic margins and wild birdseed plots, and dotted with 14 new ponds - all of which provide food and habitats for a rich abundance of bird and insect life.