Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Jan 21st Strumpshaw Fen

I was walking in the woods before my shift began this morning and it was alive with the sound of rapping on wood. This was the sound of great spotted woodpeckers drumming on tree branches. I was surrounded by 3-4 of them defending their territories. Then I saw woodpecker versus woodpecker action as one attacked a neighbour and chasing it off with aggressive calls through the canopy. I saw a few more of these battles between the woodpeckers during my walk. Nuthatches also included their loud calls to this chorus of aggression. Was this a battlefield?

Frank the Pheasant
While engrossed with the woodpeckers, I heard a rustling sound next to me. I turned round and there was a very friendly cock pheasant slowly coming up to my feet. Apparently, this was 'Frank' (named by the other volunteers not me) and you can recognise him by his single long tail feather. He seems to follow me like an obedient dog as I made my way through the woods. As I left the woods for the Fen Hide, Frank stayed behind, but on my return, he followed me once more. What a character!

A Frozen Scene at Fen Hide

The scene at Fen Hide was a sheet of ice and was devoid of life. The story was the same at Reception Hide. I did, however, manage to get a shot of a long-tailed tit as I left Fen Hide and a male sparrowhawk posed on a bare branch close to Reception Hide for a few OK shots (the light was poor today), while marsh harriers soared over reedbeds as usual (including a green wing tagged female). And as I was about to leave for home, who would I happen to meet for one final time today but Frank.

A Frozen Scene at Reception Hide

Long-tailed Tit

Marsh Harrier

Male Sparrowhawk

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