Wednesday, 6 July 2016

July 6th Strumpshaw Fen

This is my last Wednesday at Strumpshaw for two weeks as I will be on holiday (I shall explain next week), so I was hoping that I would tick off a hornet, water scorpion or common blue butterfly this morning. But there was still no such luck. I may have to make one or two more visits before I have to board my plane next week.

Marsh Harrier
To be honest, it hasn't been an exciting day. It was pretty quiet this morning with barely anything of interest apart from a kingfisher making brief visits in front of Reception Hide, a few marsh harriers (even they were quiet today), common terns and a few swallows and swifts. I believe I saw or heard most of the common species of warbler that you can find on the reserve today. Chiffchaffs, willow warblers, reed warblers, sedge warblers, Cetti's warblers, common whitethroats and, for the first time for me, a lesser whitethroat!

Common Tern
Carrion Crow
Female Common Whitethroat
Cobber the Black Swan
Lesser whitethroats are smaller than common whitethroats and are much greyer. They are also very tricky to spot, usually hiding deep within dense scrub. The best way of knowing that they are around is by their song. The song is a loud, fast, rattled 'dun-delililililili'. When I heard that this morning at sluice gates by the river, it was the first time I've heard one for many years and it took some time to register what I was listening to. Thankfully, I remembered that I had every episode of BBC Radio 4's fantastic Tweet of The Day series as a podcast on my iPod and I listened to the episode for lesser whitethroat for a comparison (click the link if you want to hear it It was a match! Then the bird itself made a quick dash across the river from one side of the sluice gate to the other, melting away in the foliage of a different shrub and was never seen again.

Dark Bush-cricket
Black-tailed Skimmer
Mason Bee?
Common Spotted Orchid
Norfolk Hawker
Black-headed Gull
There was one other highlight today. While I was having my lunch inside Reception Hide, I was eating an apple and admiring the view when something startled me. A bird poked its head from the bottom of the window in front of me as if it was about to come in. Within the second we saw each other eye to eye, it made me jump and it fly away with a companion following it! I had enough time within this second to notice that they had distinctive white rumps. These were bullfinches! Seems like these shy birds are becoming bolder!

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