Friday, 23 March 2018

March 21st Strumpshaw Fen

Marsh Harrier
It was a bright and reasonably warm day, a call back to last Wednesday. You wouldn't have known that it was near below zero between then and now. This morning, I was joined by Sam Stronge, who wanted to film the marsh harrier sky dancing displays with me at Fen Hide. It took them some time until they started to participate for us, though it was mostly distant and not as flamboyant to what I was hoping. If only we stayed behind just 5 minutes after we had to leave the Fen Hide so that I could start my shift as it apparently all kicked off. I saw part of it from Reception Hide. The males were busy showing off with looping aerial displays. However, it was actually the buzzards that really dominated skies with at least 10 or more of them spiralling high above the reserve like a column as the morning thermals carried them higher and higher into the clouds.
The other main highlight on this fine Wednesday morning was a pair of kingfishers. It was a bit of a territorial dispute as one chased the other away before coming down to perch on the small boat that belongs to the reserve's staff and was moored in front of the Reception Hide. This was a female as you can clearly see from the orange 'lipstick' on the lower mandible of her bill and in this perfect light, her colours truly shone brightly. After a couple of minutes posing on the boat, she made a short flight to the post over by the reedy islands before leaving the scene. There were other brief appearances, but nothing lasting long enough as that first showing.

Also about today were; 3 Chinese water deer from Fen Hide, 2 treecreepers, siskins, the sound of drumming woodpeckers and the first yellow flowers of colt's-foot are now in bloom.
Chinese Water Deer
Mute Swan
Mallard waiting for a free meal!
Canada Geese
Male Pochard
Female Pochard

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

I Am So Angry!

In my Sculthorpe Moor post, I experienced technical issues involving my uploading new photos to my blog from my computer. This was because Google Photos, the site where these photos get stored to, ran out of storage space. So whenever I upload a new photo to my blog, an error message pops up instead of a photo. There are two ways to deal with this problem. The first is to upgrade the storage capacity, which costs money that I can't afford right now. The second is to delete the existing photos in Google Photos and free up space. Little did I know that it would delete every photo in the blog (up to My French Adventure - Part 7). I mean, there was a message that said it would, but I thought it would only be in the blog's upload files and that the photos that were already on the blog posts were completely save. I was so wrong!

So, just to make things simple to understand. The majority of my photos from the past three years on this blog are completely gone. On the plus side, I can add new photos now, so I can continue making new posts. But this doesn't make the pain of what has happened disappear. I am absolutely devastated! Three years of work down the drain! I have no choice but to buy that upgrade now so this can never happen again. I will continue writing new posts for you all to read, but sadly, I don't think there is a way of bringing back those lost photos. I apologise for any inconvenience this has caused for those enjoying my old posts. All I can do now is to move on.

I am so sorry!

Monday, 19 March 2018

March 19th Sculthorpe Moor

Sculthorpe Moor today
When you thought spring was here to stay, along comes the return of the snow. Though it was no where near as bad as the 'Beast from the East', it did snow on Saturday. And while most of this snow can still be seen across the Norfolk countryside, it was the chilly temperatures that was the real issue today. It was absolutely freezing this morning on our visit to Sculthope Moor. Extra layers was necessary, but was still not enough to really keep the cold out. Parts of this reserve was still dusted from snow or frozen into a sheet of ice. It felt like the Arctic! Strangely though, this was not enough to deter people from visiting. In fact, the place was packed with people! This was due to a huge birdwatching group and they pretty much made it difficult to find space in the hides.
Animal prints in the snow!
Pheasant Print

Bullfinches were perhaps the star of the show this morning with nearly every feeder and bird table on the reserve attracting small groups of them. The males seemed to be redder than usual in this near white, wintery landscape and were not shy to approach these man-made resources of food. I think I managed to take more photos of these birds than I've ever had before.

Muntjac Deer with mallard and Pheasant
These feeders and bird tables also attracted the majority of my other highlights that I saw today. From the Whitley Hide, not only did the two bird tables here attracted bullfinches, reed buntings and a host of other common woodland birds, it also drew in a water rail and 2 muntjac deer to feed from what was dropped down to the ground below them. Meanwhile at the Canopy Hide, the feeders here were constantly visited by a large mixed flock of siskins, goldfinches and redpolls (a mixture of mealy and lesser), while the table right in front of the hide's windows lured over at least two bramblings. It may appear that I had a good day of birdwatching, but however, with the hides being quite packed for the most part, it was pretty hard to enjoy these birds without fighting for space to see them properly. This reserve just seems to be too small to cope with this many people.
Water Rail
Scarlet Elfcap in snow
Bullfinch with Reed Bunting
Reed Bunting
Common Redpoll

Lesser Redpoll

Great Tit
Soay Sheep