Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Jan 20th Strumpshaw Fen

A misty start to the morning at Strumpshaw Fen
It was a misty start to this morning at Strumpshaw with the pump house just about visible in the murk from the other side of the meadow trail. There wasn't much about during my morning walk apart from 3 buzzards and a kestrel. Bullfinches were calling in the woods somewhere, but I couldn't locate them.


Icy scene at Reception Hide
The view from Reception Hide looked very different from when I saw it last week. Today, the broad was frozen over with a sheet of ice. Only the left hand channel was open water like a mini lake and it extended towards the reedy islands as a narrow channel. It did thaw out a little bit as the morning went on, expanding this mini lake slightly. This small area of open water was a refuge for the ducks and coots. Though most of them prefered being in the water, some fancied sitting around on the ice. Occasionally, they take to the air and return, slipping across the ice as they land. It was very amusing to watch!
Mallard and Coot

White Mallard

Mute Swan
Being much bigger than the ducks, the swans were moving around the ice very cautiously. I watched them curiously as they took each step at a time with care. When they neared the water, they gave up walking and slid on their bellies like a taboggan, using their feet to push themselves along. Cobber the black swan was also on the ice and was less careful when walking about on it and nearly slipped over on a few occasions. For an Australian-originated species, it probably wished it was still over there. But out of the swans on the ice, it was a juvenile mute swan that was having a much tougher time. It was constantly bullied off the water by Cobber and the other two mute swans and was forced to sit it out on the ice for most of the morning. There was a point when Cobber grabbed the young swan's tail and as it launched itself across the ice, Cobber was dragged along with it like a sled pulled by a pack of huskies!
Juvenile Mute Swan
Cobber the Black Swan

Marsh Harrier
The marsh harriers patrolling the reedbeds as always. About 3-4 were up in the air together at once. They even perched on the cluster of bushes and trees sticking out of the reedbed to my right together. These three marsh harriers were not 'friends' though, as they constantly swooped at one another now and then in minnor disputes over space.
Three Marsh Harriers together (the third is in the bush on the left)
After my shift was over, I was given a lift by a colleague to Brundall Station. When we parted ways, I reached for my wallet in my pocket to get the money ready for the train. But I couldn't find it! It had fallen out somewhere! Panic ensued and I called my mum to call Strumpshaw and to help search for it down her end. Thankfully, Mum found it in her car as she dropped me off at the reserve earlier this morning. A sigh of relief! But without any money for a train, I had to wait for her to pick me up again. Sorry Mum!

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