Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Sep 16th Strumpshaw Fen

The view from Reception Hide this morning
The weatherman told us yesterday that today was going to be the worst day of the week. It didn't really turned out that way. Though it was gloomy at times and drizzled a little bit, it was mostly dry and wasn't that bad this morning. Maybe, then, this was the reason why few people visited the reserve today. The forecast has probably put off the visitors. To be honest, they weren't missing much. I ended up in a very quiet Reception Hide watching an equally quiet reserve outside. Even the marsh harriers only gave me one appearance.

The main highlight of the morning was the kingfisher making several brief visits. Thanks to these kingfisher visits, I was kept from dozing off due to boredom. It's sudden bursts of high pitched whistled calls alerted me to its presence each time, bringing me back from the brink of entering the land of nod. It kept landing on the perches around the reed islands and occasionally hovered over the water, high above the reedbeds, before plunging down like a dart with a splash to retreive a fish.

Heron and Kingfisher hidden in the reeds
Grey Heron
There was a heron outside the hide that kept moving from point to point around the lake. It's antics kept me interested while the kingfisher was away. At one point, it was close to the hide by a short extension of water and performed some fishing behaviour. It stood tall, cocking it's head slightly as if something caught its eye. Then, it crept inch by inch towards the water's edge as if moving in slow motion. It lowers its body downwards with its neck coiling close to its body poised to strike. Then at an instance, the heron launches into the water and grabs a fish from beneath the surface, juggles it into position in its bill and swallows the fish whole. Later on during the morning, the heron was standing by the edge of the algae slime covering the closest corner of the lake to the hide and was watching the three cormorants diving for fish behind it with envy.

Heron and Cormorant
Cormorant fishing
Mute Swans
Great Spotted Woodpecker
There was one other highlight in this sleepy scene this morning, as a great spotted woodpecker spiralled around a tree. With a lack of red spot on the back of the head, this was a female. Elsewhere, the feeders have returned after a spell of absence to encourage the birds to feed from natural resources (berries and seeds on bushes and trees). With their return, the birds flocked to them in a frenzy. There were more birds here than outside Reception Hide. They were mostly blue tits, great tits and a few chaffinches, but coal tits, marsh tits, goldfinches and robins also came over to feed from them.

Coal Tit (top), Great Tit (left) and Marsh Tit (right)
Blue Tits
Great Tit and Goldfinch

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