Wednesday, 28 June 2017

June 28th Strumpshaw Fen

A wet, gloomy morning at Strumpshaw today!
Not the nicest of mornings to be at Strumpshaw this week, but look past the gloom and the rain, it was actually very eventful. As it was raining, I stayed inside Reception Hide all morning and I am glad that I did as there was a lot of activity out in front of the hide.

Coot feeding a chick
Another Coot building a nest
Juvenile Moorhen
Marsh Harrier
Grey Heron

Reed warblers, reed buntings and bearded tits were flitting around the reed beds close to the hide and this brought the attention of a pair of sparrowhawks. One caught us by surprise and plunged into the reeds from nowhere and in an instant it came up with a warbler in it's talons. A successful hunt! It flew behind the hide before reappearing moments later carrying it's prize into the woods to our left. I was later found out that there was a nest not too far away from the hide, so it was no wonder that I kept seeing sparrowhawks throughout the morning. They seem to prefer this one bare branched tree, in which both the male and the female took it in turns to perch on and to dry out their feathers from the damp weather.

Reed Bunting
Bearded Tit

Another of today's stars were the kingfishers. We had at least three turn up at one time during the course of the morning. They were quite distant, most of the time either perching on posts by the islands or darting over the broad like a blur of blue. After a while, they then started to perch much closer to the hide. I believe the three that we saw today were all siblings adventuring far from the nest. I managed to get a few photos of  at least two of them and from the look of their black bills, I can tell you that both are males.

Kingfisher with a Woodpigeon

Rowing out for a water sample
It wasn't all wildlife activity from the Reception Hide today, we also had a short spell of human activity, too. For a few minutes, a team of my colleagues brought a boat out onto the broad. Two of them volunteered to paddle towards the back of the broad to collect a water sample. This is vital work in order to monitor the conditions of the water, though, I have to admit it was rather entertaining to watch them row up the broad and back, while a common tern was busy hunting around them. It is rarely dull at Strumpshaw Fen!

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