Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Oct 21st Strumpshaw Fen

It is raining again at Strumpshaw! It was a miserable wet morning and I had to bring my umbrella with me to the fen. This was a big surprise for the Chinese water deer that stood in the middle of the path as I was heading to Fen Hide. With one look at this strange creature with a bizarre object pertruding above its head, the deer bolted. Am I really that scary? Other wildlife seemed to think so as they too ran from me.

Since Thursday last week, I have heard reports about 2-3 great grey shrikes being seen on the reserve. I have never seen one before, but thanks to the awful weather today, I still haven't seen one. The best I could muster up was a pair of snipe hiding together in a slither of an island of stubble and a brief fly-by of a kingfisher. I did come back for a second attempt during my shift while there were no visitors arriving, but I still couldn't see any shrikes. Apparently, Tower Hide was the other place to see them, but with the mud and rain, I decided not to go there. I hope they stick around for another week and the rain doesn't!

Cormorant about take off for that post...
...and it makes it
Male Mallard
Female Mallard
Mute Swan
As I left Fen Hide for the first time this morning, I was watching my step due to the mud and when I looked up, there was a heron standing in front of me! But again, my scary umbrella made it frightened and fly just a few metres down the path. When I caught up with it, the heron took off again, this time away from the path.

Grey Heron
Taking a stroll

Grey Heron with Mallards and Gadwalls
It was very quiet at Reception Hide with few people visiting the reserve (and who could blame them). There wasn't much to see either, unless you like watching the same mallards, gadwalls, teals, moorhens and coot all morning. We also had a school making a field trip here today, but with bad weather, they spent part of their visit inside the hide where I showed them what is about outside. But then they had a lesson in owl pellets and to dissect some. With no tables, they had to work up on the viewing benches with me. Not exactly a great time to eat my pack up lunch, but the bones and skulls of rodents that they pull out from the pellets was fascinating. Not all the children were enjoying this though, as some of them thought it was disgusting. They must still believe it was poo, even though they were told that the pellets came out of the owl's mouth.

Water Rail
As my colleague and I was exchanging shifts, I spot a water rail jump from a reedbed before I left. This is a shy bird that skulks around within the reedbeds and is a relative of moorhens and coots. It has a long red bill, grey and brown body with white stripes along its sides and a white tail. You usually hear one rather than seeing one with their loud pig-like squeals. What a way to end a miserable morning!

No comments:

Post a Comment