Wednesday, 11 May 2016

May 11th Strumpshaw Fen

It was raining while I was walking to Strumpshaw today, getting soaked by a passing car rushing through a puddle. When I got to the reserve, the rain stopped and the sun came out and stayed that way throughout the morning. The mosquitoes were out in force, but wearing trousers saved me from getting eaten by them. Warblers and reed buntings were singing well from within the reedbeds and a cuckoo called out its name from atop of a tree on the other side of the river.

Male Reed Bunting
Female Reed Bunting
Cardinal Beetle (24)
 With the rain gone and the sun beginning to break from the cloud cover, I thought now was a good opportunity to look for cardinal beetles for my Strumpshaw 40 challenge. It is now the right time to see them and should be easy enough to find. They live amongst the nettle patches alongside the paths, especially along the river trail. I scanned each rain-drenched leaf with a quick glance until I was lucky enough to spot this small bright red beetle with black antennae, warming itself on top of a leaf facing the sun. It was keeping itself clean by combing its legs over its wings, making sure they were in good condition. Cardinal beetles are only around for a couple of months, so you have a short window to find them if you are doing the challenge too.
Cleaning behind the wings
Marsh Harriers after making a food pass!
 At Fen Hide, the marsh harriers were entertaining as usual. The males were busy finding food for their mate back at the nest. I watched one pair do a food pass, an aerial delivery where she catches the item dropped by him in mid-air. In this case, I narrowly missed the catch on camera and got this shot of her carrying it away instead. Maybe next time!
 From Reception Hide, I saw a kingfisher flying across the broad in two quick flybys. The swifts and hobbies were whizzing around high in the clouded sky, while house martins dashing across the broad with their white rumps clearly visible. The hobbies are still too far away for me to photograph, I really need them to land to give me the opportunity. The wagtails were pretending to be kingfishers again just like last week and there were coot chicks everywhere this morning. Butterflies were also about this morning after drying themselves from the rain from earlier. Brimstones, orange-tips, holly blues and green-veined whites were all on the wing. It won't be long until the swallowtails will be joining them.
Red Campion
Common Tern
Coot with chicks
Great Crested Grebe on her nest
Little Egret
Green-veined White
Mallard with ducklings
Pied Wagtail
Grey Heron

No comments:

Post a Comment