Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Feb 25th Strumpshaw Fen

It is pretty much a day of the harrier today at Strumpshaw. They are extremely active as the sky dancing displays continue. I arrived even early than usual and the sound of male harriers carried to me as I made my way to Fen Hide. At least 4 birds were in view at once. Two were males, which are paler than the brown females that have cream-coloured caps, and they were busy showing off in the air.
Marsh Harrier

Reed buntings were also displaying their fitness at Fen Hide, but through song. The repetitive sound of 'zip-zurp-zip' came from every direction around the hide. Finding the bird itself is pretty easy. Follow the direction of where the song is coming from and look for a little white blob with a black head sitting on the tops of bushes or reeds like an angel on a Christmas tree. This is the male, a handsome little bird and very territorial. I spot at least 3 singing males and a few others flying by in this small area of the reserve. There was also a song thrush singing loudly by the river and I could hear his three noted phrases from the hide.

On the way back to Reception Hide, I saw a bright red male bullfinch and a jay. They didn't hang around for long though, as they fled as I was about to lift my camera for a photo. Same goes for the bearded tit at Reception Hide. It flew across the broad from one reedbed and vanishing into another. More were secretly pinging from the reedbeds, sounding like an old cash register. 'Kerching! Kerching!' Gadwall, teal, mallard, Canada geese, greylags, herons, mute swans, Cobber the black swan, sparrowhawks, fighting coot and a Chinese water deer were also about today.

Canada Geese
Coot preening itself
Female Gadwall
Chinese Water Deer
But it was the marsh harriers that I enjoyed watching the most. One male soared really high over the hide, calling away. There were females about too, including one with green tags on it's wings and the white bellied female which I have decided to call Lilly.

Marsh Harrier
The green tagged female
Male Marsh Harrier sky dancing high in the sky 

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