Thursday, 11 June 2015

June 10th Strumpshaw Fen

Bee Orchid
This morning was rather chilly, too cold for swallowtails. But there are more things out there other than swallowtails to enjoy. When I arrived this morning, I noticed that the first bee orchids had come into flower. This is a plant that pretends to be a bee. To a bee, it looks like a bee and even smells like a bee. This plant is pretending to be a female bee, tricking male real bees to mate with it, forcing it to pollinate with it. Sadly, in this country, the species of bee the orchid is trying to fool has been extinct. Luckly, the bee orchid can self pollinate, doing the bee's work for it.
Walking to the office, I pass the workshop building. I could hear strange noises coming from it. It was a sound of many squeaks and clicks. It sounded as if it was an argument between several individuals. These were the sounds of roosting bats. They are inside the a gap in the building's outside front wall. This is a place where female bats come come to give birth. It is amazing how they can cope with the sounds of saws and other tools during the day, but they do. In the video below, you can hear their conversation if you listen carefully.

Male Marsh Harrier
Before my shift, I popped into Fen Hide for a bit to see what was about to add to the day's sightings list.After a short wait, I managed to see a bearded tit, a bittern and a few marsh harriers. At Reception Hide, I had three more bittern sightings, though I think two of those were of the same bird. They flew quite close over the reedbeds. The black-headed gulls, who have nests around the islands, were not happy about this and went to mob the large brown heron, causing it to dive down to cover. I also had a brief glimpse of a kingfisher, a hobby, a sparrowhawk and a Chinese water deer. The marsh harriers were busy soaring around the reserve and were doing aerial food passes to their partners.

Black-headed Gull on a new nest at Reception Hide
Marsh Harrier in flight
Female Marsh Harrier
After lunch and when my shift was over, I went for a walk along the meadow trail, finding hairy dragonflies and black-tailed skimmers but they were too fast for me to get a shot with my camera. The orchids here are few and far between here at the moment, I could only find one southern marsh amongst the tall grass and ragged robin flowers. Hopefully next week will improve in both dragonfly and orchid numbers and with warmer weather. Lets hope so, this summer has been rather cold so far.

Southern Marsh Orchid
Common Lizard
White Water-lily
Lilypad Beetle 

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