Wednesday, 11 March 2015

March 11th Strumpshaw Fen

Today is a special day for many reasons. It is my 29th birthday! Not only that, coincidently, it is also the 40th anniversary of when the RSPB got the lease of the land for Strumpshaw Fen. You could say it is like we have double to celebrate. Happy Anniversary Strumpshaw Fen!

It might be a special day for me and Strumpshaw, but for the wildlife, life went on without a care. They were busy preparing for the breeding season. The nest boxes in the wood in particular were being occupied by house hunting birds. This blue tit was doing a bit of D.I.Y improvements to the entrance of the box before entering and leaving with something in its bill. I don't know what it was though.

There was plenty of wildfowl at Reception Hide this morning. Pochard, shoveler, mallards, gadwalls, teal, greylags, Canada geese and Cobber the black swan were all in view. They were a bit frisky too with some birds and bees stuff going on! That's spring for you, a time for new life. Can't wait for ducklings soon. The marsh harriers were still forming their bonds through aerial dances. One even posed on a perch for me. Also about were little grebes and coot.

Pochards mating (or about to)
Mallards mating
Little Grebe
Marsh Harrier
I was personally asked to do a guided walk for a member from the RSPB HQ for East Anglia based in Norwich, who happens to be a fan of this blog. I took him round half of the reserve which takes us through the woods, along part of the river and back. I showed him the work that has been done by other volunteers as well as some of the common wildlife found at Strumpshaw, including scarlet elf cup and animal signs. Oh, and a few wrens too.
Wren singing
Wren posing

Deer prints
Otter poo?
As we were nearly back to Reception Hide, I heard a slightly distant but loud bugle calls. I recognised them immediately and I was pinching myself. It can't be what I thought it was, could it? I pointed out the calls and said "Can you hear that? I think that's a crane!" I took the man back to the office and head straight to Reception Hide. I told my colleague that I heard cranes and if she saw them. She did and two cranes flew past the hide and landed into the reedbed in the distance but in view. They were apparently still in there, but I didn't see them before I had to leave. What a birthday present that would have been! We are hoping that they will hang around and breed here for the first time. Who knows, I might see them next time. Fingers crossed!

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