Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Sep 7th Strumpshaw Fen

Water Rail
It was an overcast start to the day and there was even a spell of drizzly rain, but it was still quite humid. At Fen hide, a juvenile water rail was patrolling the front edge of the pool just outside the front of the hide. It was being rather difficult to photograph as it seemed to like to obstruct my view by walking behind sprouting reed leaves. Eventually, it came out from hiding and probed the open mud for its breakfast. A kingfisher perched on the post at the far side of the pool briefly. Bearded tits were pinging consistently in the surrounding reed beds and a marsh harrier was busy hunting. I also saw 3 little egrets, a large flock of greylag geese, a heron and a pair of mute swans with Cobber the black swan following them closely.

Little Egret

Mute Swan
Cobber the Black Swan
Grey Heron

Highland Cattle on the meadow trail

A rainy view at Reception Hide
The kingfisher and bearded tit action was continuing at Reception Hide. As soon as we opened the hide up, a bearded tit was spotted hopping from stem to stem in a small patch of iris and fresh reed leaves in a muddy patch close to the front of the hide. It was constantly moving in this small densely packed area of vegetation, making it hard to photograph. We were showing the bearded tit to some visitors, when a kingfisher then made appearance and sat on a perch with a clear view of it. It was then a matter of choosing which bird you wanted to focus on first before both disappeared. They both made a couple more appearances during the first half of my shift, but after that it got rather quiet.
Bearded Tit

Though the second half of my shift this morning was almost uneventful, I did see a hobby briefly and a few more marsh harriers. One of the harriers had green tags on its wings, meaning it was tagged in west Norfolk, but it was too far away to read any of the letters that helps in identifying the individual. Near the end of my shift, a female sparrowhawk swooped low over the broad and made a quick stop on top of a dead tree to the right of the hide for a brief photo shoot before vanishing behind a row of trees.

There were plenty of ducks on the broad this morning, the number increased since last week. Though many of them are still in their drab eclipse phase plumage, there are now several males returning to their best. Male mallards have green heads once again and male gadwalls are starting to look smart with their intricate patterned breast feathers. I even managed to spot a single female tufted duck amongst the large congregation of mallards and gadwalls with a few shovelers and teals added to the mix. But no one else seemed to be interested in them. Many of our visitors today were after one thing, the glossy ibis. It was still at Tower Hide, for the third week now, busy entertaining the photographers and twitchers alike. So if you want to see it, don't rush, it doesn't seem to be leaving any time soon.
Tufted Duck
Not sure what this Grey Heron is doing, but was like that for some time!

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