Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Jan 28th Strumpshaw Fen

It was a breezy start this morning as I made my way to Fen Hide via the woods. Though it felt wintery, there were early signs of spring on the woodland floor. Snowdrops are now in flower in patches across this wooded area. Easily recognisable by those three petals as white as snow, drooping from a green stem with long, thin leaves at its base. This is usually the first woodland flower to emerge. We don't get massive displays of snowdrop at Strumpshaw, only small patches. How amazing would it be if the woodland floor looked like it was blanketed in false snow?

Spring might be around the corner, but for now it was definetly winter and there were a few signs to remind you that it was winter. First of all, was of course the weather. For now it was windy, but there was worse to come. Another sign was a redwing in the woods. This small thrush with a red patch under the wing and a white stripe above the eye, is a winter visitor from Scandinavia. I tried to get a better shot of it without the branches in the way, but as I was about to take the shot, it flew away!

Chinese Water Deer
At Fen Hide, I was worried that the roof was going to come off, as the wind was rattling against the wooden hide. Trying to ignore this, I put my mind on the Chinese water deer walking through the open areas between the reedbeds that were cut last year. Looking at the size of the tusks, these were females (they have tiny tusks compared to males). On the way back to start my shift, I spook up a green woodpecker which shot out of it's hidden corner like a bullet of yellow-green.

A White Mallard
I got to Reception Hide and the heavens opened! It was a heavy downpour sweeping like a curtain of water caught in the wind. It soon stopped to reveal a fly-by of a kingfisher and a bittern. Marsh harriers appeared to be playing in the breeze, not that the crows were happy with that as they chased after them. There was a white mallard out with the flock of pure wild birds and a large 'raft' of coots were quite flighty as they constantly ran across the surface of the water or fighting amongst each other with those lobed feet of theirs.

But it was the weather that dominated my shift. By midday, it got stormy. The rain hammered down so hard. And the wind had also picked up and was forcing the body of water to look like the sea. Waves with white horses formed. We battered down the hatches as if we were out at sea! Amazingly, the locks on these glass window hatches held on as the wind tried to force them open. It is rarely a dull day at Strumpshaw!

"Wow, this wind sure is strong!!!"

No comments:

Post a Comment