Wednesday, 3 May 2017

May 3rd Strumpshaw Fen

A cold, gloomy, grey, blustery day at Strumpshaw this morning. The sky was thick with depressing-looking clouds making the scenery around it appear just as moody. Thankfully, at one corner of the woodland trail, colour in the form of a carpet of bluebells is just what is needed to lift the mood a little. This year, there is a small path that leads you into the middle of it all. Though it is only this tiny corner of woodland that is covered in this wonderful display, standing amongst them feels like they could go on forever. A sea of purple-blue flowers spreading on and on.

After admiring the bluebells, I walked back on myself through the woods and towards the Fen Hide and back into the world of grey. Despite the gloom, the sounds of birds were as cheerful as ever. Sedge warblers, willow warblers, blackcaps, reed warblers, chiffchaffs, wrens and other song birds filled this dull scene with their dawn chorus. There was even a couple of booms from a bittern while I was at Fen Hide as well as a reeling grasshopper warbler along the Sandy Wall and a cuckoo calling from the trees along the river, which I then saw flying out of them and over me from the opposite side. I also had a glimpse of a kingfisher darting past me along the edge of the riverbank and saw the odd Cetti's warbler and two common sandpipers. It was a great start to the morning, but not many photos to show for it.
Cobber the Black Swan
Coot fight!

Back at Reception Hide, it was my colleague's birthday and she wanted to see something special to celebrate it. Though there wasn't anything out of the ordinary such as an osprey or an otter for her to really get excited about, there was, however, a fantastic display of swallows and house martins swarming in impressive numbers over the broad and reed beds. They also kept perching on the reed stems for brief moments together, which made the display more fantastic to watch as they dived in and out of every reed bed around the broad as if they were testing each section out to find the best place to perch.
Also today... there were two brief visits from a kingfisher, a couple of snipes, marsh harriers, a heron that was mobbed by a crow before attempting to sneak up to a moorhen family as if eyeing up the chicks as it's next meal but failed, some shelducks, pochards and tufted ducks.

Grey Heron
Grey Heron being mobbed by a Carrion Crow
Grey Heron sneaking up to a Moorhen
Common Snipe
Female Pochard
Male Pochard
Marsh Harrier
Reed Bunting

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