Wednesday, 12 April 2017

April 12th Strumpshaw Fen

View from Reception Hide at 7:20am this morning
It was 7:20am when I arrived at Strumpshaw this morning. The light was still slightly dull over the broad in front of Reception Hide as the sun gradually creeping high enough in the sky to make an impact. The birds were announcing their territory on another new day as I walked towards the Fen Hide. A treecreeper crept its way up a tree trunk almost silently, while song thrushes, blackcaps, wrens and chiffchaffs blurted out their chorus in a cacophony of bird sound amongst the surrounding canopy. Along the Sandy Wall path, willow warblers and Cetti's warblers joined in and were very showy within the branches of trees and shrubs.
Cetti's Warbler
Blackcap
Willow Warbler
Chiffchaff
Song Thrush
Wren
Marsh Harrier
Common Lizard
Just as I was about to enter the Fen Hide, I heard something promising. "Cuck-oo! Cuck-oo!" The cuckoos are back! It sounded quite distant, somewhere in the direction of the river. So after a very short look out from the hide, seeing marsh harriers, a Chinese water deer and hearing sedge warblers, I made my way towards the river and Tower Hide to try and find one. They were definitely still calling while I was walking along the river, but I was unable to spot one. They were somewhere within the Ted Elis nature reserve beyond the trees along the other side of the Yare. While searching for cuckoos, I also heard a bird that I believe was a corn bunting by the sluices. It sounded just like one, which is best described as jangling a set of keys, but it is highly unlikely as corn buntings don't favour wetland habitats as far as I know. A more likely possibility is that the sound I heard was a sedge warbler or some other bird mimicking a corn bunting. If you hear this mystery bird at Strumpshaw, please let me know.
Shoveler (at Tower Hide)
Mute Swan
Canada Goose
Black-headed Gull
Gadwall

Tufted Duck
Today is Wild Wednesday at Strumpshaw Fen. This was a family event to encourage children and families alike to get involved with nature this Easter with a variety of activities for them to do. It has been very busy at the reserve because of it with family after family flooding into the Reception Hide. So after completing my duties as a spotter at the hide, spotting swallows, tufted ducks, pochards and a sparrowhawk, I joined some of my colleagues to help out with the most popular out of the activities; pond dipping.


Pied Wagtail
Smooth Newt

The children were having a lot of fun scooping up the pond life from the pond with the nets we provided and learning about what they had caught. One lucky boy swept up a smooth newt, while someone else found a stickleback. Other highlights include...

Stickleback
Diving Beetle Larva
Dragonfly nymph
Damselfly nymph
Diving Beetle
Water Louse
Pond Snail

Caddisfly larva with diving beetle
Caddisfly larva casing

Sadly, there were no water scorpions or great silver diving beetles, which are two aquatic insects I wanted to find this year as part of my ultimate bug hunt challenge.

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