Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Dec 23rd Strumpshaw Fen

Sunrise at Strumpshaw Fen
Though I am under the weather with a nasty cold, I decided it wasn't going to stop me from going to Strumpshaw today. With just two days until Christmas, I was hoping that something special would turn up for me this morning. It was certainly a nice day for it. I went to Fen Hide and saw a Chinese water deer, two mute swans and Cobber the resident black swan as well as a marsh harrier.

Chinese Water Deer
Mute Swan
Cobber the Black Swan
On the way back, by the finger post, the commotion of a flock of birds on the alder and oak trees behind a bench caught my attention. There were birds everywhere and they gave me clear views of them as they flit around the branches. Most of them were long-tailed tits, appearing like flying sugar mice searching the for insects hidden beneath the bark of the thin branches, moving almost non-stop. A treecreeper spiralled around the thicker branches. With its longer curved bill it had a better advantage in the insect hunt than the long-tailed tits. Meanwhile, feeding off the alder cones was a flock of siskins. What a fantastic little spot!

Long-tailed Tit
When I entered the Reception Hide to start my shift, I learned that something special that I was hoping for was outside waiting for me. It was an otter! I believe this was a dog otter (a male) as it was quite big. He was here for about 45 minutes on and off. It patrolled the entire lake, diving constantly as it was on the hunt for fish. It kept vanishing behind the reedy islands and behind the reedbeds by the channel to my right, but returned for more visitors to look at it. My Aunt Barbara paid me a visit and watched the otter with me until it finally left us down the far right channel. The perfect early Christmas present from Strumpshaw! We also saw more marsh harriers, a kestrel and had a brief visit from a kingfisher perching on the post by the islands.

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