Send us your wildlife records

Recording wildlife is an easy way to get involved in wildlife conservation. It is a way of helping us to monitor wildlife across the county to gain an understanding of an animal’s distribution. Your records can help us identify areas which are especially important for wildlife and identify species in decline or under threat.

Each season we ask you to help Norfolk's wildlife by sending us your records of three species. You don't have to be an expert – all you need to do is tell us when and where you encounter them. This could be through seeing or hearing the species! Use the form to record online, or phone or email us using the details below.

Our current total of wildlife records submitted for this survey are


196
Hawthorn

17
Horse Chestnut

93
Orange Tip

Log your wildlife sightings here...

Sighting locations so far...


Key

Hawthorn
Horse Chestnut
Orange Tip
This March, April and May Norfolk Wildlife Trust is asking people to look out for three species linked to spring. If you spot an orange-tip butterfly, a hawthorn or horse chestnut in flower in Norfolk please share your sighting with us.

 

How to spot an orange-tip butterfly

These pretty little butterflies are easy to spot as the males’ wings have bright orange tips – giving them their name! They are a common sight during spring and can be found in lots of places including meadows, woodland and hedges. The adults lay their eggs on special plants to ensure that their caterpillars have the right food to eat. Orange-tip caterpillars love garlic mustard, cuckooflower and hedge mustard plants.

 

The male orange-tip is unmistakable: a white butterfly, half of its forewing is a bold orange, and it has light grey wingtips. The female is also white, but has grey-black wingtips, similar to the white butterflies. Both sexes show a mottled, 'mossy grey' pattern on the underside of their hindwings when at rest.

 

How to spot a hawthorn in flower

In spring our hedgerows burst into life as common hawthorn erupts with creamy-white blossom, colouring the landscape and giving this thorn shrub its other name of ‘May-tree’.

 

Common hawthorn has shiny leaves, divided into three to seven pairs of lobes, and five-petalled, sweet-smelling flowers. It can be distinguished from the similar Midland hawthorn by its more deeply lobed leaves and the fact that it only has a single seed in each fruit.

 

Hawthorn shrubs will produce leaves first and then flower, unlike the blackthorn that flowers first and then produces leaves.

 

How to spot a flowering chestnut

The horse chestnut is a tall, broad tree that has been widely planted in parks and gardens. Originally native to the mountains of northern Greece and Albania, it was introduced into the UK in 1616 and has since become naturalised. In April and May,

rows of horse chestnuts lining roads and in woodlands provide a spectacular display of 'candles' - large, upright flower spikes ranging in colour from white to deep pink.

The horse chestnut has hand-shaped, palmate leaves with five to seven toothed leaflets. It displays large, pinky-white flower spikes.

Orange Tip
The orange tip can be found across Europe and as far east as Japan. It is one of the few butterfl...
Hawthorn
Used as a hedgerow plant, the hawthorn is a hardy species. Hawthorn is used as a natural alternat...
Horse Chestnut
The horse chestnut is a tall, broad tree that has been widely planted in parks and gardens. Origi...

Phenology is the study of the timing of natural seasonal events, such as the first cuckoo call, the arrival of the first swallow or the first clump of frogspawn to be seen. Over the last few years phenology has been brought to the forefront due to such tv programmes as BBC Springwatch, but did you know Norfolk is actually the birthplace of phenology?

 

Robert Marsham, who lived in Stratton Strawless, is known as the Father of Phenology. Between 1736 until his death in 1798 he recorded certain wildlife events and then his family carried it on – giving us approximately 200 years of valuable information about British wildlife. Phenology was once seen as a relatively unimportant pastime of amateur naturalist, but as a result of climate change it is now seen as an exceptionally important way of seeing how our seasons are changing.

 

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has highlighted a number of species that are indicators of spring, three of which are the sighting of orange tip butterflies and the flowering of hawthorn and horse chestnuts. To find out more see the 18 Spring Index.

Orange-tip butterfly
 

  • The young caterpillars are cannibals, and due to fierce competition for food will usually eat any other larva it encounters, because of this usually only one survives per flower head.
  • In July the caterpillars pupate and overwinter emerging as butterflies the following spring.
  • Lady of the woods, prince of orange and white marbled butterfly are other names for the orange-tip butterfly.
  • Usually the orange-tip butterfly lays a single brood of eggs each year, however if spring arrives early they may have a second brood later in the year.
  • Despite not overwintering as adults (they overwinter as pupa) they are one of the earliest butterflies to appear in the spring.

 

Hawthorn

 

  • Common hawthorn is also known as 'May thorn', 'May blossom' and 'Quick thorn'.
  • Hawthorn features in many traditional May-time celebrations; for example, the flowers were used to make garlands for May Day.
  • NWT Hethel Old Thorn is thought to be one of the most ancient hawthorns in England, possibly dating from the 13th century. In 1755 its girth was recorded as 9 feet 1 inch, but it has now decayed to a remnant of its former self. Even so, there is still something very appealing about this venerable shrub, which continues to grow each year and remains healthy. Superstition has it that the hawthorn grew from the staff of Joseph of Arimathea – a folk tale associated with other thorns around the country including at Glastonbury.
  • Mature hawthorns can reach up to 15m high.
  • It was believed that bringing hawthorn blossom inside would be followed by illness and death, and in medieval times it was said that hawthorn blossom smelled like the Great Plague

 

Horse chestnut

 

  • Horse chestnuts can grow up to 40m high and live up to 300 year olds.
  • Horse chestnuts were first introduced to the UK from Turkey in the late 16th century.
  • The leaf stalks leave a scar on the twig when they fall, which resembles an inverted horse shoe with nail holes.
  • The first recorded game of conkers was in the Isle of Wight in 1848.
  • Chemicals extracted from conkers can be used to treat strains and bruises. 
Have you seen any other wildlife recently? We would love to hear about it... Notify us now

How to take part in this wildlife survey...

Online


The quickest way to take part is by clicking on the submit button below. You will then be asked: what you saw, when you saw it, where you saw it and who you are.

By phone


Phone Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Wildlife Information Service on 01603 598333. Don’t forget you will need to tell us: what you saw, when you saw it, where you saw it and who you are.

By e-mail


Send us an email to [email protected]. Don’t forget you will need to tell us: what you saw, when you saw it, where you saw it and who you are.

Take part today...