Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Jan 4th Strumpshaw Fen

View from Fen Hide this morning
It was still getting light when I arrived at Strumpshaw for the first time for 2017. It was also raining with a brief shower and so I walked to Fen Hide to take shelter. Fortunately, the rain had stopped by the time I reached the hide, but I still decided to go inside anyway as there was no need to weasel watch anymore. After a few minutes watching mallards swimming around the overflowing pool in front of the hide, I was joined by one of my regulars. Together, we sat and watched everything flying by including about 3-4 marsh harriers, pink-footed geese, distant bearded tits darting between the reed beds in the dim light, a kingfisher and a bittern that caught us unaware as it flew out of the reed bed beside the hide's left side. The kingfisher also returned chasing another in a bit of a territorial dispute.

Marsh Harrier (this one has a white tag with the number 16 on it)
Pink-footed Geese
With the light and the weather much improved, I walked back to start my shift at Reception Hide, seeing a treecreeper along the way. At Reception Hide, Ben the warden gave me a tick list and asked me to tick off any species that I can see or hear from the hide. Apparently, Strumpshaw is competing with RSPB Frampton Marsh in Lincolnshire in spotting the most bird species from their reception hides for each month of the year. As I am one of the best spotters volunteering at the hide, it was my job to get the ball rolling for this month and, of course, the year. As long as I can see it from the hide or the blind beside the hide I could tick it off. I think I made a good start with over 20 species ticked off today, which included a kestrel and a kingfisher (Cobber the black swan doesn't count towards the total as he is an escapee).

Cobber the Black Swan

Today was surprisingly a nice sunny day for the most part. However, there was another brief spell of rain with strong winds accompanying it around lunch time making the landscape look stormy for a few minutes. Then the sun returned and brightened everything up even more than previously before.

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