Wednesday, 16 March 2016

March 16th Strumpshaw Fen

Starling murmuration!
I was at Strumpshaw with another 7:30am start again, as my search for hares and owls continued after over a week of delay. The good news was that the weather was a major improvement this week compared to the wet Wednesday of last week. The bad news, however, was that there was still no sign of any hares or barn owls out on the fields. At least there was a mini murmuration of starlings on the other side of the river to make it less of a waste of time for the early start. On the river, great crested grebes were displaying to each other with their little dances consisting of head shakes and copycat preening. I also saw a pair oystercatchers on the bank on the opposite side of the river.

Marsh Harrier and Starlings
Great Crested Grebe
Song Thrush
Bittern (14)
At Fen Hide, I managed to capture this dodgy shot of a bittern to add to my Strumpshaw 40 challenge collection. It was a quick fly over across the reedbeds before it plunged into it, just your typical sighting of a bittern. They are always elusive and the best way to see one is to sit in a hide and wait for a while until one fly past. They are not always photogenic and I know I can do better. I will get a great bittern shot before the year is over, you'll see! I am also expecting to hear them boom any week now and that should trigger a lot of bittern activities, which means a lot of sightings. Fingers crossed!

Jack Snipe - Can you see it?
While I was at Fen Hide, I saw two good birds that could rival the bittern to me. First was a female goldeneye. Ok, it is just a brown duck with yellow eyes, but I don't see goldeneyes that often at Strumpshaw and it is always a welcome sight to see. The other bird was my second Jack snipe sighting, two weeks in a row! Unlike last week, it was much harder to see. Thankfully, there was someone else in the hide with sharp eyesight and he eventually guided me to the bird's location in the stubble. It was so well hidden that I could only see part of its head when it moved. I also saw a common snipe fly in on the bank across the other side of the channel.

Female Goldeneye
Marsh Harrier
Marsh harriers and wildfowl dominated the rest of my morning from Reception Hide. The marsh harriers were very active with at least one constantly soaring close over the broad, spooking the ducks while doing so. There was a few good skydancing displays on show this morning as I witnessed some talon grappling and one male swooping upwards as high as he can go and stooping down again before repeating the process again and again. It was like watching a rollercoaster going up and down. Brilliant stuff to watch!

The odd couple - a Greylag and a Canada Goose
 Amongst the shovelers, mallards, gadwalls, teal, tufted ducks and a pochard was an odd couple. A greylag and a Canada goose have fallen in love! They were costantly following one another around the broad like a shadow. What is the attraction? Who knows, but their offspring are going to be freaky hybrids! Also at Reception Hide, a scruffy looking Chinese water deer popped out from the closest reedbed to my left for a short feeding session before tag-teaming itself with a younger, neater looking individual. A sparrowhawk also made a quick fly over across the broad and I saw a buzzard land on one of the stumps in the line of trees in the distance.

Canada Goose
Black-headed Gull
Tufted Duck
Chinese Water Deer
Carrion Crow


No comments:

Post a Comment