9 wildlife highlights from Norfolk in 2020
- Credit: Ian Burt
From bird-watchers flocking to spot a rare creature to a record year for a seal colony, here are nine of Norfolk's wildlife highlights from 2020.
1. Rare eagle seen over Norfolk after UK extinction 240 years ago
The bird of prey became extinct in the UK during the 18th century, but has been successfully reintroduced off the west coast of Scotland and also on the Isle of Wight last year.
They are protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981 and, as of 2015, have been classified as red under the Birds of Conservation Concern list.
2. Another record-breaking year for Blakeney Point
Pup numbers at the National Trust’s Blakeney National Nature Reserve were predicted to reach record highs this season, with more than 4,000 new arrivals expected.
This is up from just 25 pups in 2001, and 3,399 in 2019.
The success of the colony is due to low levels of disturbance and mortality during the first few key weeks of life and a lack of natural predators.
- 1 Huge solar farm proposed near Roman site
- 2 Baby murder trial hears mother joked tot self-harmed
- 3 Bid to convert village house into nine flats
- 4 Obituary: Farm merchant who helped save revered brewing barley dies aged 81
- 5 Father accused of baby murder blamed car seat for bruise
- 6 Face coverings no longer mandatory indoors as England returns to Plan A
- 7 Decision over funding for Queen Mother's Garden revamp delayed
- 8 Stolen credit card details used to purchase leaf blower and garden tools
- 9 Baby murder trial jury told dad was angry at social services involvement
- 10 Man taken to hospital after being punched and kicked in Dereham assault
3. Snow leopard and red panda cubs born at Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens
Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens welcomed two snow leopard cubs and two rare red panda cubs in September.
The popular zoo, near Great Yarmouth, unveiled the cute new additions, which were born during lockdown.
4. Record number of knots land in Norfolk
The reason for the population increase is not known at a time when climate change and human activities threaten countless species around the world.
5. UK’s most endangered bat species discovered in south Norfolk village
It emerged that a Norfolk village has been leading the way in bat conservation. There are 18 bat species recorded in the UK and at least nine were discovered in New Buckenham.
Discoveries included the Barbastelle, a red listed species and the most endangered of all bats in the UK, and the Serotine, according to journalist Janet Trewin.
6. Rare bird draws crowds to north Norfolk
In October, scores of birdwatchers visited Stiffkey marshes to catch a glimpse of the rufous bush chat, in what was believed to be the first time the bird has been spotted in the UK for 40 years.
7. Southern Migrant Hawker Dragonfly spotted near Watton
The Southern Migrant Hawker Dragonfly was captured by a nature-lover at Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Thompson Common, near Watton.
Thompson Common is one of the most important sites in the county for dragonflies and damselflies, where 19 species have been recorded as breeding or possibly breeding.
8. Rare species of carp released into Norfolk River
Two hundred crucian carp, supplied by the Environment Agency, were released into the Lower Pond at Kelling Heath Holiday Park in August as part of a reintroduction project.
The species was recently considered in danger of extinction, and its Norfolk population had been dramatically cut by the latter part of the last century due to overgrown ponds.
9. 'Incredible' donation pays for expansion of Norfolk's largest ancient wood
A five-hectare patch of farmland next to Foxley Wood will be restored to native woodland after it was secured by Norfolk Wildlife Trust (NWT) for a sum that has been kept confidential at the request of the donors.
The trust says this "crucial piece of land" has been a missing piece of the wood for at least a millennium, and being surrounded by ancient trees on three sides provides a unique opportunity to re-establish rare specialist species.