Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Nov 11th Strumpshaw Fen

Someone pinch me, I think I'm dreaming! Its Wednesday morning and its not raining! Bright sunshine greeted me on my arrival to Strumpshaw today. I took full advantage of it and went for a walk to the river, stopping at Fen Hide on the way. There wasn't much to see from the hide apart from a heron, Cobber the black swan and flying flocks of teal and wigeon as well as a digger which was making its way to a section of reedbed that the wardens are managing. This caused some disruption, so I decided to keep walking to the river.

Digger on the move
Grey Heron
Digger and Heron
Cobber the Black Swan
Sunshine over the River Yare
I sat on a bench overlooking the reedbeds with reed buntings and mallards flying by. The low November sun warmed my back in the mild cool air and was reflecting on the river's surface behind me. Most people would just revel in this peaceful scene and soak in the sounds of the breeze rushing through the reeds and the odd bird calls surrounding them. For me though, I plugged my ears with my headphones and played 'Wonderful Life' by Black. Listening to this song from the 1980's with the sunshine, the reedbeds and the birds all around me was a perfect moment in time. The lyrics brought the scene to an emotional sense of being. Music and nature together as one. 'No need to run and hide, its a wonderful, wonderful life'. Indeed it is.

Reed Bunting
Robin's Pincushion Gall
Chinese Water Deer
When I arrived at Reception Hide, the sunshine was suddenly competing with cold gusty wind and it was losing slightly. The wind was keeping most birds down. Mallards and coots with the odd gadwall were sheltering on the water. Flocks of teal were swirling around the broad, unsure if to join them or not. A Chinese water deer made a couple of visits to drink by the far side of  the broad. There were cormorants and moorhens around too and by lunch time, I also managed to spot a great spotted woodpecker and marsh harriers.

When mine and my colleague's shift had come to an end with our replacment taking over, I had just packed my camera and binoculars into their cases and into my bag. But then our replacement spotted something out of the blue. "Otter!!" he shouted. I had to take everything out again to see it. In fact, it was so close, I only really needed the camera out. It ducked and dived all over the nearest side of the broad, hunting in search of fish. Everything fled into the air. A moorhen was caught by surprise, only fleeing when it saw the otter just a few inches from it. The otter was performing so well in front of the hide and for some time that we had to call over everyone working in the office to come see it. When they arrived, it had vanished behind a reedbed, but it did eventually show up again for them minutes later. I was so engrossed in watching the otter that I didn't want to leave to catch my train!

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