November on our reserves

Blog post by Robert Morgan, NWT Reserves Assistant on 07 Dec, 2023
Cley ‘New Cut’ works a treat

We have reported previously on our major works at Cley and Salthouse Marshes reserve, which are being undertaken to help the site and its wildlife adapt to rising sea levels and to protect its freshwater habitats.

Alongside restoring reed beds and their open water features, work has been undertaken on the ‘New Cut’, a realignment and restoration of the key drainage system on the reserve. The bulk of this was completed in mid-November and as it turned out, just in the nick of time!
The Cley New Cut

The Cley New Cut


North Norfolk experienced strong north westerly winds coupled with a high tide shortly after the drain realignment was completed, and we were delighted to find that everything worked as it should. The realigned ‘New Cut’ and the structure created from some of the excavated clay managed to keep saltwater from moving onto our freshwater wildlife habitats.

The newly positioned drain will now be effective for the next 20 years in protecting the precious freshwater habitats from seawater incursion. In the circumstance of a significant coastal flood event the re-positioned drain will function unimpeded by any landward movement of shingle. This will allow seawater to efficiently run off the site and freshwater to be brought back on as soon as possible, which will help save much of the wonderful flora and fauna the reserve is famous for.



I-spy a very rare fly

A rare species of fly was found at NWT Holme Dunes recently, in fact it is so rare it has only been recorded in the UK once before, in 1910! It was found by regular visitor Rob Stephens, who dropped in at NWT Holme Dunes on a wet boggy day at the end of last month.
The Cley New Cut

The rare fly, found at Holme


Rob explained: ‘I tend to look for small creatures, plants and fungi, and having just bought myself a new camera I was keen to try it out. I took a side path into a dip in the dunes in the hope of finding shelter from the breeze. There was little about in the way of insects, but by pure chance I spotted a couple of flies on a holly branch. One took off, leaving the nice pinkish one, so I took a few photos’.

He continued: ‘I didn’t have a clue about its rarity at the time. I’m fairly clueless about flies in general to be fair, though I find them fascinating. I managed to get it down to being one of the Heleomyzid family group, but not which species, so I posted it on Twitter for help with an ID’.

After a chain of correspondence the photo eventually arrived with Ian Andrew, organiser of the Heleomyzid Recording Scheme. After conferring with a European specialist, Andrzej Woznica, he confirmed the fly as Schroederella iners. The previous 1910 record was from Scotland, and as one would expect, there is very little other information about the fly. It starts to appear in late October through to December and is normally found in Central Europe. Strangely, considering its appearance in North Norfolk, it has been more commonly recorded on snowfields.
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