Posted: October 15th 2020
by Andy Bloomfield, Senior NNR Warden
As the nip in the air and the sound of Pink footed geese start to fill the skies, autumn heralds a shift in wildlife at Holkham. This is particularly felt in the National Nature Reserve where our summer visitors are migrating south to warmer climes and they are swiftly replaced by a new batch of migrants who temporarily make their home here.
We are delighted to give visitors a special experience this autumn with the creation of some new access to the reed fringed scrub on the southern edge of the pinewoods. If the wind blows from the north or east, this sheltered side of the wood can be alive with migrant songbirds newly arrived from Europe and even as far off as central Asia and Siberia.
The Bluetail Trail is so-called as it’s namesake bird, the Red-flanked Bluetail was spotted here in 2015 and 2018 creating much interest locally. The Warbler Trail will offer views of common species such as Willow Warbler and Blackcap alongside more exotic Siberian species possibly such as Yellow-browed, Pallas’s, Hume’s or Radde’s. The possibilities are endless in the right conditions! Keep a lookout for late autumn insects such as Migrant Hawker and Common darter dragonflies, Ivey Bees and any butterflies still on the wing too.
This particular area is a mixture of reeds, willows, hawthorns, brambles, roses, young oaks, sycamore and cherries. A diverse mix of shrubs and trees that brings benefits to migrants with a wealth of food sources – invertebrates and seeds and fruit. It is our aim through management work through felling invasive evergreen holm oaks and mature pines to allow more light in thus allowing the shrub layer of the wood to increase and with it greater biodiversity.
Visitors are very welcome to enjoy these trails but please bear in mind that they are a rough terrain and not suitable for wheelchairs. Please wear suitable footwear and be aware of your surroundings.