Wednesday, 10 May 2017

May 10th Strumpshaw Fen

Strumpshaw today!
It was bright and sunny this morning at Strumpshaw. A beautiful day. It also turned out to be a rather eventful one too. In fact, it has been a very eventful week in the Yare valley since last Wednesday. Possibly the biggest highlight of last week (and possibly of the decade) was a white-tailed eagle at Buckenham Marshes! It stayed for two days during May 3rd and 4th, but I was unable to go see it. This young individual has been exploring the east of England for weeks now and when I heard that it turned up at Buckenham, I could only picture the excitement amongst my fellow colleagues who work there. Truly amazing, though I am slightly disappointed not to have been there. Click on this link to see what it was like.

But it doesn't end there. This morning, Ben the warden saw a female red-legged falcon flying amongst the many hobbies soaring and swooping high in the blue sky. There was also reports of a ring ouzel at Buckenham and a whinchat at Fen Hide today. And I didn't see any of it! But its ok, I had my own share of excitement as I saw five cranes from Reception Hide flying over the reserve. They came out of nowhere, catching everyone by surprise as they flew surprisingly stealthily, not making a single honking sound that they usually do. They circled over the reserve a few times before disappearing altogether. According to some returning visitors, they landed in front of Tower Hide for a short while until moving on again. What a sight that must have been!

And if all that excitement wasn't enough, there was also plenty of kingfisher, marsh harrier and hobby activity to enjoy. About two kingfishers were seen from Reception Hide this morning, with at least one showing up almost regularly. Most sightings were brief, though there were a few times where it perched somewhere in one of the reed beds, reedy islands or on the dead tree that was planted last winter. As for hobbies, I saw two perched on the dead tree that was in front of the treeline at the back of the broad, while in the sky, I counted at least ten birds high up together. The marsh harriers were just as active and at one point had an aerial dogfight with a pair of buzzards.
Hobbies (very distant)
Marsh Harrier
Marsh Harrier vs Buzzard
Other bird highlights today include; a great spotted woodpecker and a jay on the feeders (though not at the same time), common terns, various species of warbler (Cetti's, willow, chiffchaff, blackcap, reed, sedge and whitethroat), a treecreeper, swallows, reed buntings, sparrowhawks, a great crested grebe, pochard, tufted duck, shelduck and stock dove. And dare I forget to mention the Chinese water deer and common lizard as well as hearing a cuckoo and bullfinch.

Willow Warbler
Common Tern
Common Lizard
Azure Damselfly
On top of all this, I was also in search of some invertebrates to add to my list. On my walk before my shift, I found my first dragonfly, possibly a hairy dragonfly, but I wasn't quick enough to have a really good look at it. The damselflies were out too as I saw a large red damselfly (which was camera shy) and an azure damselfly, at least I think that is what it is. Butterflies were out in force as well, with many green-veined whites, large whites, brimstones, peacocks and orange-tips. Meanwhile, red mason bees were seeking holes in the wood to lay their eggs in, while wasps were chewing it to build their papery nests with. I also found a few adult caddisfly, while finding one in its larva stage as well as a few damselfly nymphs, a diving beetle larva and other pond life during a pond dipping session this afternoon.
Green-veined White
Common Wasp
German Wasp (I think)
Carder Bee
Red Mason Bee
Some kind of Solitary Wasp

Hoverfly Pipizella virens?

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