Very hard to see – if you do, you will most likely just glimpse the kingfisher’s iridescent blue feathers as it flashes past. The kingfisher feeds mainly on fish that it dives for, and nests in a waterside burrow.
This large, magnificent bird of prey, with its 115 -140cm outstretched wingspan, is found in the Broads all year round where it breeds successfully. It is recognisable by wings held in a V-shape in flight, with its long tail behind.
This rare bird likes to hide among reeds. You’ll be more likely to hear one than see one and even then you’ll be very lucky. During the breeding season, the males’ loud booming call can be heard over a kilometre away.
The largest British snake (females can reach two metres long) isn’t poisonous. Body colour is olive green, with a yellow collar just behind head. It has round pupils, unlike the vertically split ones of the adder. Excellent swimmer.
This freshwater fish can grow to 18kg and 115cm long. A natural hunter of the Broads, the pike is its fiercest fanged predator. During the coarse fishing season (16 June to 14 March; licence needed), it’s a popular target for anglers.
The largest British butterfly (Papilio machaon britannicus) is only found in the Broads, so deemed one of our most rare. It’s seen in summer months and lays single eggs on milk parsley, the only food the larvae will eat.
Norfolk Hawker Dragonfly
A real Broads speciality, rarely seen outside East Anglia. It has a double set of clear wings and a distinctive yellow triangle on the body. This endangered species is normally confined to well-vegetated marshes, reedbeds and dykes.
This aquatic mammal is making a comeback after many years of being rare in the Broads. It mainly hunts at night and curls up during the day in a hidey-hole called a holt. This may be a burrow or a hollow among the reeds.
Listen for a sudden ‘plop’ when paddling past it – the water vole dives underwater when it is disturbed. Ratty-looking with grey-brown fur and tiny ears, it has a short blunt nose and furry tail. Digs out burrows in the river bank.
Shauna Lowry is a presenter on Countryfile. Previous credits include The One Show, One Man and His Dog, Treasure and Animal Hospital. She is a fully qualified scuba diver and proficient horse rider, as well as a keen wildlife photographer.
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