Considering Birds, Flowers, Butter (and) Dragon Flies

Norfolk Hawker copyright Ben Revell used with his permission

One day last summer……

High summer with big blue skies, a warm sun and butterflies and dragon flies on the wing. On such a day I went to Strumpshaw Fen. My intention was  to “consider the flowers of the field”.  You can go there at anytime of year “to consider the birds” . June is the month for flowers!

Strumpshaw Fen’s wildflower meadow is a remnant of, once common,  flower rich pasture. Plantlife UK estimate that 97% of the habitat was lost between 1930 and 1980! The names of the flowers are poetry in themselves : – Ragged Robin,  Yellow Rattle, Marsh Orchid, Marsh Cinquefoil, Yellow Flag.  They were a joy to behold!
Soon  my attention was taken by the Swallow Tailed Butterflies – what beauty !  Next it was the turn of dragonflies…….
A chance meeting with a wildlife photographer led to a master class in dragonfly identification. It was difficult not to share his enthusiasm. At the very least I can now tell the difference between a Four Spotted Chaser and a Norfolk Hawker! And I want to learn more.
As my new friend Ben ( see his photos at http://benrevell.me.uk/) helped me to name the animals, I was reminded of the first man , Adam, doing the same for God in Genesis 2 . When I  learned that Aeshna Isosceles – the Norfolk Hawker – is an endangered species I began to ponder  the previous chapter  where God appoints human beings to be stewards of Creation.
For me, wonder at the Creation easily spills over into praise of the Creator. My heart was full on that summer’s day and my spirit sang! But when I considered the fragile web of life that links and supports plants, birds and animals I realised that  Stewardship of Creation requires more consideration than I usually give! 
So thank God the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds who run the reserve, their supporters and similar conservation organisations.  Contact them to give your support   on 01603 661662 or go to their website.
The Strumpshaw Reserve ( Grid Reference TG341065)   is open to the public every day.  You can get there by train and foot – its just 1.4 miles from Brundall Station – or by bike through quiet lanes.
To find out more about Butterflies and Dragonflies you can join a guided walk at Strumpshaw on 19th June from 2 p.m. – 4.30 p.m. for more details phone 01603 715191 or E-mail: Strumpshaw@rspb.org.uk 
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