Wednesday, 25 May 2016

May 25th Strumpshaw Fen

I couldn't sleep very well last night due to an annoying tickly cough. So I was rather tired this morning at Strumpshaw. The weather seemed to match my mood as I walked around the recently open meadow trail before my shift started. It was cold, grey, wet and miserable, awful conditions to find swallowtails and common blues in. Everything was more or less sheltering from the drizzling rain and the only interesting things that I could find were wildflowers, including this bogbean. It is a strange looking flower which looks as if it has tentacles protruding from each petal.

Coot with chick
The Fen Hide did not give me any protection from the rain as it was being blown through the windows, making me and my binoculars and camera a bit wet. Reception Hide was the place to be for shelter from the rain. At least from here I have the option of closing the window and still be able to see out of it. A school was visiting the reserve today and as it was raining, they had to take over the Reception Hide, making it a rather noisy place for a short while. These were very young children and the ones sitting alongside me wanted to look through my binoculars and use my camera, forcefully grabbing them while they were around my neck. I made a compromise and showed them photos of the wildlife I took this morning and allowed them a quick look through my binoculars, while pointing out the coot chicks to them. I think they were happy, though they did thought everything I showed them on my camera was of a woodpecker.

Blue Tit
"What's this?" I asked them, pointing at one of my photos.
"No. That is a blue tit" I responded, trying not to laugh.

Lesser Black-backed Gull
Yellow Flag Iris
Reed Warbler
The rain did ease off a little bit towards lunchtime, enough for swifts, swallows and house martins to swarm above the broad. A kingfisher made a few appearances as my shift was nearing to an end, perching from reed stem to reed stem in the furthest reed bed behind the reedy islands. I saw the harriers making a food pass and a sparrowhawk flying low across the front of the hide. Reed and sedge warblers and reed buntings were spotted constantly darting from reed bed to reed bed. It wasn't the best of days at Strumpshaw, but at least I saw a few good things. I need to try another day with improved weather if I want to find those butterflies, especially the swallowtails.

Great Crested Grebe

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