Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Aug 17th Strumpshaw Fen

What a lovely day! But even a day like this has not brought the common blue butterflies out! However, if you love butterflies, then you should be pleased to hear that the second wave of  swallowtails have emerged this week. Visitors have been reporting back to me that they have been seen along the Lackford Run. I did not go to see them, nor did I see the osprey that was seen flying over the reserve today. Fear not, dear readers, I did have a good day even though I had missed out on all these things.

I suppose the main highlights this morning for me were the kingfishers and bearded tits which were showing well in front of Reception Hide for the second week running. As soon as I arrived to the reserve, I had a kingfisher sat on the perches outside the hide while I was getting my camera and binoculars out of my bag as I was preparing for my early morning walk to Fen Hide. There wasn't much at Fen Hide, which seemed almost lacking of water than last week. I did manage to see a green sandpiper flying over the reserve, a little egret and a water rail. The ducks and coots at Fen Hide were trying their best to make the most of the shallow conditions to feed. It was as if they were swimming in a paddling pool!

Outside Fen Hide (looking a little dry!)
Orange Balsam
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Small Tortoiseshell
Silver-Y Moth
Robin's Pincushion
Kingfisher vs Fish!
Back at Reception Hide, the kingfisher returned to the posts in front of the hide. It also did a few hovers in the air high above the reed beds to plunge down into the water to catch a fish before bringing it to the horizontal perch by the reed bed to my right. It used the perch to bash the fish in order to stun it, which makes the fish much easier to swallow. This kingfisher seemed to be a youngster as it took a while to figure out how to manoeuvre the fish within its bill so that it goes down head first down its throat, making it easier to swallow. After several times swirling the fish around in its bill, it finally got it right and swallowed the fish whole.

Bearded Tit
The bearded tits were just as entertaining and were hopping low along the edge of the reed bed behind the kingfisher on the perch. More were seen to my left in the reed bed on the opposite side of the strimmed gap that separated the two reed beds. The ones on my left suddenly pinged into a panic. What could have stressed them out? The answer soon emerged out of the same reed bed in the form of a Chinese water deer! The deer is no real threat to these birds, so I guess its movements within the reeds had surprised them.

Chinese Water Deer
Grey Heron and Mallard
Green-veined White
Guilder Rose berries

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