Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Oct 12th Strumpshaw Fen

Sunrise at Strumpshaw Fen
The sunrise was just about over as I arrived at Strumpshaw this morning. The view from Reception Hide was especially fantastic, which I saw before setting off for another weasel watch session. As expected, 'Weasel Lane' was weasel-less once again. Only one pheasant showed itself this time round. I don't think I will ever find a weasel here before the year is up. There has to be a way of enticing one out in the open somehow. I need to think of a better tactic than just sitting out in the cold for an hour.

Pink-footed Geese
Shaggy Inkcap (38)
The weasel may have given me the slip today, but I had better luck in finding one of the two fungi targets on my Strumpshaw 40 list. The shaggy inkcaps are finally showing themselves at last. The bench by the old pond dipping pond produced some young shaggy inkcaps growing around it. They look like they will be fully developed in a matter of days. Then at the log circle in the woods, I found a more developed shaggy inkcap poking out of the grass alone. It looked fresh. When this toadstool first emerges from the ground, it is white and scaly and you can actually eat them. But this fresh stage doesn't last very long and the cap will gradually blacken and deteriorates with black ink dripping down it. If you want to see the shaggy inkcaps, you have at least a week before they disappear again for another year.

Young Shaggy Inkcaps

Even younger Shaggy Inkcaps (I think)
Common Inkcaps
Alder Brackets (I think)
Ochre Brittlegill

It was a good day for kingfishers at Reception Hide this morning. At least one male kept coming back to perch on nearly all of the perches and on the reed stems close to the front of the hide, providing great views for the visitors who came all this way to see one. Their cameras followed its every movement as it sat there waiting for a good chance to plunge dive for a fish to eat. It can't be easy when a sudden shower arrived, distorting its view with rain drops on the surface, but some how it still manages to return with a few small fish to one of the perches. The bird then smashes its meal against its perch to stun it before swallowing it down in one gulp.

Great White Egret
Perhaps the highlight of the morning for me was seeing a great white egret fly in from Reception Hide. As soon as I saw this large white heron flying over the reserve from left to right, I alerted everyone in the hide. Everyone was able to see it just in time before it landed behind the reedy islands at the back of the broad. Only its head was just about visible poking out the top of these islands. After a few minutes, it then came out from hiding for us to get a better look at it. The egret was there at the back of the broad for another few minutes before taking off again and landing somewhere in the reed bed behind the far right channel.

Also today; two marsh harriers had an aerial scrap with one another, a heron kept moving around the broad looking for a perfect fishing spot and I saw a couple of bearded tits fly across to the reedy islands briefly.
Grey Heron
Marsh Harriers
Cobber the black Swan chasing a Mute Swan (again!)

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