Wednesday, 26 April 2017

April 26th Strumpshaw Fen

Greylag goslings
It was a mixed day of sunshine and rain this morning at Strumpshaw. While getting to the reserve it was raining, but when I arrived, the sun came out and I had enough time for a quick walk to the river and back before it started raining again. During this short walk, warblers of many species were singing all around me. Willow warblers, chiffchaffs, blackcaps, Cetti's warblers, sedge warblers and reed warblers were extremely vocal, but not a single one of them sat still long enough for a photo! I also saw a crèche of goslings swimming on the river, safely guarded by four adult greylags, which were perhaps the cutest highlight of the walk.


April showers one minute...
Back at Reception Hide, the weather continued to switch from sun to showers throughout the morning. It was like someone messing with a dimmer switch. One minute it was bright and cheerful, then it rains or hails, creating a gloomy landscape, then its sunny again, then back to rain... Its like the weather can not make its mind up of what it wants to be today. At least the birds didn't mind. They were active rain and shine, especially the swallows and house martins. These birds were swooping fast over the surface of the broad all morning. Also this morning, I saw marsh harriers, reed buntings, pochards, a sparrowhawk and two brief glimpses of a kingfisher flying past the hide.

... and sunshine the next!
Male Reed Bunting
Female Reed Bunting
Marsh Harrier
Carrion Crow
Some kind of Bee

Moorhen chick
For those who like baby birds, there were plenty of them about. There were ducklings, goslings, coot chicks and moorhen chicks. The latter two are not as cute as the first two, but they were still very small. While the ducklings and goslings are lovingly admired as they try their hardest to keep up with their parents, the moorhen chicks, on the other hand, have it tough. While their mum does a good job looking after them, she does however have tendency to sometimes kill the weakest chick. I saw one moorhen mother today suddenly chase after one of it's own, giving it a nasty peck. This is a survival strategy which is common amongst moorhens. By killing off the weakest chicks, more attention can be given to the ones that remain. Its not pleasant to watch, but that's nature for you.
Mallard with ducklings
Greylag with goslings

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