Wednesday, 8 March 2017

March 8th Strumpshaw Fen

Pheasant on a bench
It was a wet start this morning at Strumpshaw. As soon as I arrived to the reserve it started to rain. I sheltered inside Fen Hide for a short while, seeing nothing but rain and water. Thankfully, the wet weather was not to last and it eventually stopped, replaced by sunshine and some blustery wind. I had time for a quick walk around the woods, hearing bullfinches and seeing a nuthatch.

Great Tit
Marsh Tit
Inside Reception Hide, it was rather quiet with not a great deal to see and not many people visiting us today. There were a few more pochards than usual out on the broad with a small flock of 10 or so as well as a handful of tufted ducks diving amongst them. Marsh harriers were soaring high above the reserve, circling the reserve below. A kingfisher made a short stop, perching on the new tall dead tree that was planted recently to encourage birds of prey such as ospreys to land on it, but it seems the kingfishers are taking a liking to it even more.

Tufted Duck
Black-headed Gull
Marsh Harrier
Jack Snipe
 Throughout the morning, people were trusting in me in finding for them the jack snipe that had been seen in the last few days in front of the Reception Hide. The only thing is, it could be anywhere within the long grass and reed stubble, if it was there at all. After scanning and scanning, I was unable to spot it. Then warden Ben popped in and found it almost instantly. It was apparently in it's usual patch of stubble where it had been all week and I just did not see it at all. Apart from the odd moment of uncontrollable bouncing, it spent most of the time snoozing with it's head tucked under it's wing. Occasionally, it would wake up for a quick stretch, revealing it's bill. With my birthday on Saturday, it made me pleased to see something as challenging as a jack snipe for my last shift as a 30 year old on a day that wasn't quite as memorable.

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