Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Aug 2nd Strumpshaw Fen

Common Lizard
I still can't find the willow emerald damselflies! I went to look for them during my early morning walk, making my way around the reserve via the Lackford Run, but I guess it was just a little too early for them to emerge. The swallowtail caterpillars, on the other hand, were still showing well and growing larger than ever. It was quite tiring walking down the Lackford Run on top of the walk from Brundall Station too, but at least these common lizards cheered my tired expression up a bit. I stopped at Tower Hide for a quick rest and saw a few common terns, little egrets, grey herons and plenty of shovelers and mallards and the odd marsh harrier soaring over the reed beds behind them.
Swallowtail Caterpillar
Little Egrets
Grey Heron
Common Terns
Great Crested Grebe
The new look inside Reception Hide

At Reception Hide, I noticed that there were some changes since I was last on duty. The coffee and snack area has been given a makeover as a set of new cupboards have been installed. It is a real improvement and there will be a new coffee machine and fridge for cold drinks planned for next week. I bet many of the visitors can't wait for that.

View from Reception Hide today
On the wildlife front, it was rather quiet from the hide. Though there was a large gathering of shovelers, gadwalls and mallards out on the broad, I felt sleepy watching them. There was an incident when they all suddenly fled from one half of the broad as if there was an otter about, but nothing appeared, at least from what I could see. It was kind of funny watching them flee though as half of them have moulted their flight feathers, which means they were flightless and had to rush away using what is best described as doing the butterfly stroke. Other highlights from Reception Hide included marsh harriers, swifts, little egrets and the sparrowhawk family with the young birds still showing well from their favourite tree.
Mallard Hybrid
Little Egret
Marsh Harrier


Red Admiral
Drone Fly
Small Red-eyed Damselfly
The dragonflies and damselflies were beginning to be more active as time ticked towards lunchtime and though I couldn't muster enough energy to search for willow emeralds at the Lackford Run again, I decided to check for another scarce damselfly species much closer to the Recepton Hide instead. Adjacent to the hide is a pond and it is full of small red-eyed damselflies. This is a species that is more or less identical to the larger red-eyed damselfly and they share the same habit of sitting on aquatic plants such as lily pads, but as there weren't any lily pads in this particular pond, they made do with the clumps of pondweed poking out of the surface. Not a willow emerald, but good enough.

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