Most Wednesday mornings I walk to Strumpshaw from Brundall train station. This means I walk past cultivated fields. Today, as I was making my way to 'Strumpy' I noticed a hare run across the stubble of one of these fields. It is always a nice surprise to see a hare. But this was the start of these nice surprises.
|View from Fen Hide|
|View from Reception Hide|
At first there was nothing at Fen Hide to begin with and I was thinking that I wasn't going to see anything. But eventually a Chinese water deer came out to feed within the gaps of the reedbeds behind the pool of water. This is a small deer introduced from China with tusks and a love for watery habitats. After he vanished behind a section of reedbed, a bittern was flying close towards the hide before making a u-turn and dive into another section of reedbed to my right.
Watching out of Reception Hide this morning was quiet, similar to what the Fen Hide was to begin with. There were coot and teal with the odd marsh harrier soaring around now and then, but time still seemed to drag on within the first hour. Just as I expected for wildlife watching in December.
I was at this point needing to go for the toilet. So I decided, as there was not much about, to visit the toilet block outside and had just stepped out the door when my colleague popped her head out of the door calling two things... "Sean! Otter!"
Outside was a dog otter hunting. But this was a short sighting as he vanished behind the reedy islands on the far right. We couldn't find him again, so toilet trip attempt number two was in action. On my successful return, my colleague called me over again. He was back and this time closer to the hide!
The otter left us again but reappeared several minutes later for one last brief moment as he went down the far left channel which took him towards Fen Hide. Between appearances, a bittern flew from my far right into the far reedbed, perching on a reed stem until it too vanished from view, melting away into the far reedbed. It came out from hiding near the end of my shift and flew further left before plummiting into another section of reedbed. Other highlights today; sparrowhawk, jay and marsh tit.