Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Sep 30th Strumpshaw Fen

The Moon over Fen Hide this morning
It was a beautiful morning at Strumpshaw. When I arrived at 8:30am, the moon was still illuminating in the sky. Bearded tits were very active up at Fen Hide, as the sound of them pinging alerted me to their whereabouts and I managed to see teasing views of about 6-10 of them popping out of the reedbeds. They were quite flighty, though a few males did perch on top of the tallest reeds poking above the main reedbed, showing off their blue-grey heads and moustache stripes. Annoyingly, they decided to duck to cover whenever I pointed my camera towards them.

The Moon

Mute Swan
Cobber the Black Swan
While I was at Fen Hide, a kingfisher made a quick visit to one of the posts in front of the hide, a snipe showed itself amongst an island of stubble and a marsh harrier soared low over the reserve with a green wing tag noticeable from its right wing (meaning it was tagged in Norfolk). On my return to Reception Hide, I noticed a kestrel sitting on a small wooden fence over on the meadow trail area.

Marsh Harrier
Some kind of fungus
Common Darter
Female Pheasant
A distant shot of the Bittern
 There were plenty of ducks at Reception Hide this morning. Most of them were mallards, but there were shovelers and gadwalls out on the water with them too. It is nice to see that the green heads of some of the male mallards have returned after moulting them over the summer. The heron was doing its usual thing by the edges of the reedbeds, while the kingfisher was less active today, only making a couple of brief fly-bys. As the morning went on, a sudden appearance from a bittern took me by surprise. It launched itself from a clump of reeds just in front of the hide, flying over the lake and over the reedbed at the far side before a mobbing crow forced it to plummit into cover. How long was it hiding in front of the hide for?

Grey Heron
The feeders were attracting a large flock of goldfinches this morning. I didn't realize until I was looking through these photos on my computer that there was a siskin hidden amongst the goldfinches. This small finch is mostly an autumn and winter visitor to Norfolk. It is fantastic to see them again. You can tell that this is a siskin with the streaking on the breast and a pale wing bar on the greenish yellow wing. This was a female, males are bright yellow-green with a black cap and bib. So, can you spot it?
Can you spot the Siskin? (Clue: it is the small and streaky one)

 Also today, I saw a fresh-looking brimstone on the flowers of the nectar garden (possibly the last for this year) and even inside the hide there was wildlife in the form of this wasp that I still haven't identified yet.
I found this strange wasp inside Reception Hide
Muntjac Deer
While waiting for my train home, there was one last surprise waiting for me on top of a bank adjacent to the station at Brundall hidden in the shade of the surrounding trees. It was a muntjac deer, another small Asian deer like the Chinese water deer we get at Strumpshaw. It is about the size of a medium-sized dog with a black V-shaped mark on its head. They don't have antlers but small horns as well as small tusks. It is rather shy and when the train arrived, it vanished.

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