Wednesday, 15 June 2016

June 15th Strumpshaw Fen

Bird-foot Trefoil
I was expecting rain this morning, so I am back wearing trousers with an umbrella at the ready. But it turned out to be a lovely warm day in the end. Not the perfect conditions if you are a hay fever sufferer like I was today, but for butterflies, I was hoping that they would be out in force. I am still after the common blue butterfly for my Strumpshaw 40 challenge and though their food plant, the bird-foot trefoil, is in full bloom along the Sandy Wall path, there was no sign of these tiny insects. It sounds like they are thin on the ground across the country in the amount of common blues emerging. They are having a bad year so far, which is a very worrying sign. I hope they bounce back in the next few weeks before their food plant dies off.
Cardinal Beetle
Bee Orchid
Fat-thighed Beetle
Jewel Wasp
While the so called 'common' blue is no where to be seen, the much rarer swallowtail is a lot easier to find. The nectar garden alone outside the Reception Hide had up to 5 to 6 individuals feeding together at one point. And there were a few in front of the hide itself too, though most of them were heading to the nectar garden after visiting the flag irises amongst the growing reeds. The visitors ended up having plenty of swallowtails to chose from to photograph today.

Great Crested Grebe with chicks
From Reception Hide, there several hobbies swooping over the broad, catching dragonflies and eating them on the wing. The tree line at the back of the broad provided perches for them to perch on and for us to get the scope for a better look at them. A flock of 5-7 stock doves were also sharing these trees with these small falcons, though with a distance between them. The great crested grebes have now got chicks after weeks of incubation in the nest by the reedy islands. The grebes were hanging about at the back of the broad and though they were slightly distant to photograph, you can still see the chick's humbug heads poking out of their mother's wings as she gave them a rest with a piggyback ride.
Stock Doves
Grasshopper Warbler
There was a lot of birds singing this morning as they prepare for a second brood. I heard a few notes from a booming bittern earlier this morning, but the vast majority of the birds that were singing were warblers. There were willow warblers, blackcaps, chiffchaffs, whitethroats, reed warblers, sedge warblers and the odd outburst from a Cetti's warbler. But the best of the bunch was a single grasshopper warbler reeling loudly in a bush near the meadow trail. You can hear its strange 'song' in the video below. After some searching with some help with a visitor, I managed to see it singing in the lower branches just above the reed head line with its body quivering from producing these notes. I am so lucky to see such a secretive bird.

Sedge Warbler
Back in Norwich, I have some good and bad news concerning the peregrines at the cathedral. The good news is that all four of the chicks have fledged. Sadly though, the female that had chased their mother away has killed two of the chicks and injured the other two. The injured pair have been taken in by the Hawk and Owl Trust to be treated back to health. This female intruder has been lingering around for weeks and once the chicks had fledged, they were a threat to her newly claimed territory and that is why she attacked them. She is also trying to pair up with their father, so we may have second brood at the cathedral, which will be a first if it happens.

No comments:

Post a Comment