Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Oct 5th Strumpshaw Fen

Pheasants and Grey Squirrel
Weasel Watching Round 3! This time it was quite a productive hour at 'Weasel Lane'. First, there were two mallards crossing to the new pond, then about 5 male pheasants and a grey squirrel kept me entertained throughout the hour at the closed entrance gate to the meadow trail (now closed for the winter). There was even a brief glimpse of a water rail crossing the path from the new pond dipping pond platform like a roadrunner and a kingfisher zipping by in the other direction several minutes later. But annoyingly, the weasel failed to show up yet again.


Common Inkcaps
As for my two fungi targets, the shaggy inkcap and the candlesnuff fungus, they are also nowhere to be seen. I am more worried about not seeing the shaggy inkcaps than the weasels at the moment. Surely they should be out by now? This fungus has a very short fruiting period with the toadstools disintegrating within a week or two. I normally see them around September and early October by the picnic bench by the old pond dipping pond. Its only a matter of time now, I hope. So no shaggy inkcaps today, but I did find these common inkcaps growing by the log circle in the woods instead (at least that's what I've been told they were).

Glistening Inkcaps
Brown Mottlegills

At Reception Hide, I saw a bittern fly across the reserve with two stops along the way. First it flew to the reed bed near to us in front of a guilder rose bush covered in red berries to my left. Then it emerged again about an hour later, flying over the broad and into the reed bed on the far side before finally flying beyond the treeline and towards the Tower Hide. I took a few photos, but they aren't very good. The bird was just too far away. Elsewhere, the marsh harriers were very active today. If they weren't busy scaring the many wildfowl on the broad, then they were busy mobbing the local buzzard in a fierce aerial battle of talons.

Marsh Harrier Vs Buzzard

Marsh Harrier and wildfowl
Tufted Duck
Cobber the Black Swan chasing a Mute Swan

Blue Tit and Great Tit
Great Tit
Spindle berries
Guilder Rose berries
Common Carder?
It was busy chewing on the wood for some reason.
Red Admiral
Common Snipe
When my shift was over, I went to Fen Hide for a short visit. I had heard that there was a jack snipe as well as a few common snipe there this morning. There was no sign of it when I got there, sadly. I could only spot a pair of common snipe hidden amongst some stubble. They were resting with their bills tucked within their wings. One did eventually have a bit of a stretch before deciding to move around the stubble to find food by probing their long bills into the ground.


  1. The orangey-brown inkcaps are Glistening Inkcaps, and the other brownish ones with white centres are Brown Mottlegills. I wouldn't worry about the Shaggy Inkcaps yet, it's been quite a dry autumn so fungi are only really starting to emerge. I usually see some on the grassy lawn near St Stephen's roundabout, but there haven't been any yet. Candlesnuff is visible all year round though - I reckon there is some on the fallen logs on the bit of path towards the sandy quarry area (i.e. opposite side of the path to the pond-dipping platform.

    1. Thank you very much James. I just hope the shaggy inkcaps emerge next week before I have to leave on holiday in the week after! Would hate to miss them at their best. I know where you mean for the candlesnuff. Been looking there but I couldn't see anything. Perhaps I should take a closer look?

    2. No problem. I've just checked my records and I saw Candlesnuff fungus at Strumpshaw in January before going to the Buckenham corvid roost. The photo I took was after a photograph of Scarlet Elf Cup, and shows it growing from an eara of leaf little and small branches.

  2. * sorry that last line should read "area of leaf litter..."