Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Nov 4th Strumpshaw Fen

Male Shoveler
I feel like I am some kind of rain man lately. It is raining again on a Wednesday morning for what seems like the fifth week running. The annoying thing is, yesterday was a nice sunny day! Because of this wet weather, I decided to skip my walk and open up the Reception Hide early. Though it was not a pleasent start to my shift, the ducks were not put off. There were a lot of shovelers, teal, gadwall and mallards before 10am. The males of each of these species were looking rarther smart, especially the drake shovelers. They are bright white with green heads and brown flanks and just stand out from the rest of the ducks out on the water.

Female Shoveler
Male Gadwall
Female Gadwall
Water Rail
After last week's bittern encounter, I scanned the area of strimmed reed stubble close to the hide in case it was there again. It wasn't around this time, but I did see something that's just as good though. A water rail strolled out of the reedbed and was probing the mud with its red bill amongst the stubble for worms. It was moving about a lot, but I managed to get a few shots of it before it vanished back into the reeds for the rest of the day. Shortly after it left, a kingfisher made a quick fly-by across the lake heading right.

Female Blackbird
When my colleague arrived to join me in the hide, it had stopped raining. I went for a couple of short walks around the woodland trail to add more birds to today's sightings list. I could hear a lot of high pitched 'seeeh' notes of redwings throughout the morning and I wanted to find them. Bushes full of berries are good places to look for them, but I found lots of blackbirds, blue and great tits and chaffinches. I did get some fleeting glimpses of some redwings flying to distant, high branches that were densely vegetated. I had more luck with goldcrests and a great spotted woodpecker.

Blue Tit
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Long-tailed Tit
Spindle Berries (poisonous to humans!)
The kingfisher made a couple more visits, sticking around for some time on one occasion. It still won't perch closer to the hide now that the cloak of algae have cleared around the measuring post, but who knows, it may do so next week, fingers crossed. Marsh harriers were patrolling over the reedbeds, while several crows were mobbing a buzzard sitting in a tree. By lunchtime, it started raining again, ending a dry, yet misty spell of fine weather. Did I do a rain dance without knowing again? Lets hope it doesn't rain next week, otherwise I may think I am indeed a rain man.

Marsh Harrier
Heron and Ducks
Crow attack!

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