Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Aug 31st Strumpshaw Fen

Glossy Ibis
I was back at Tower Hide this morning (avoiding the walk along the Lackford Run and getting my feet soaked from dewy grass) to see if the glossy ibis was still around. It was and this time it was right in front of the hide. This bird has been here over two weeks now and seems happy enough probing the mud within and surrounding a pile of branches that had been set up as a refuge to attract fish and birds. It was a much clearer view of it than what I had last week, though the sun light was shining at its far side, causing shadowing on the side facing me. I think this is a juvenile bird or an adult out of its breeding plumage. This breeding plumage is what gives the bird its name as when it is at its best, the copper-brown feathers on the wings and neck produce a green and purple sheen. Also at the Tower Hide, I saw plenty of ruffs, a few herons, a couple of snipe and a little egrets.

Common Snipe
Carrion Crow
Black-tailed Skimmer

Great Crested Grebes
Orb-web Spider
Speckled Wood
Common Lizard

At Reception Hide, there were plenty of gadwalls with a few mallards, shovelers and teal on the broad this morning. They still look rather shabby and brown in their eclipse phase plumage with hints of their new breeding, winter colours coming through on some of them. A novice birder would have a hard time identifying each species at this time of year. To add to the mix (and the confusion), the keen-eyed birder would have lots of fun spotting the lone garganey and wigeon hiding amongst them all. The best way to tell them apart while they look the way they do now is to spot key features such as the bill or the speculum (a coloured patch on the wing of a duck, which is blue on a mallard and white on a gadwall).

Wigeon dabbling
Cobber the Black Swan
Cobber and a Grey Heron
Grey Heron
Other highlights at Reception Hide include a few sightings of kingfishers and bearded tits, but they weren't as photogenic this week. A hobby made a few swoops over the tree line and the reed beds at the back of the broad and I had one single sighting of a marsh harrier which attempted to catch a teal but failed.

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