Wednesday, 13 June 2018

June 13th Strumpshaw Fen

A hot air balloon approaches
Is there nothing better than witnessing something out of the unusual to start the morning? Well, I certainly wasn't expecting a hot air balloon to drift so low over the reserve during my pre-shift walk today. I was sitting inside Fen Hide around 8am, when I saw this balloon slowly drifting closer and closer, starting out as a distant object in the sky to my left heading towards the river. As it got nearer, the roar of the burner got louder and louder and you could see the people inside the basket clearly enough. It continued to creep over Strumpshaw's reed beds and broads and spooking many birds into the air. It appeared to be just high enough to not crash land into the water below, but it still seemed pretty low to me. Thankfully, it passed over just fine and it gave me and this other guy who was in the hide with me something to talk about, however, I was still quite cross that they had to disturb the peace and the birds while doing so.
Cobber the Black Swan
Sedge Warbler
Willow Warbler
Red Admiral
Ragged Robin at the Meadow Trail
The rest of the morning wasn't quite as crazy to match that balloon incident and the main highlights were made up of brief encounters and sightings. A kingfisher, a swallowtail and a hobby all showed themselves from Reception Hide, but were gone just as I called its name out to any visitors that had any of them on their wish list for today. There was even a bittern that flew over the back of the broad, which I missed out on as I was trying my best to find swallowtails at the nectar garden outside. Oh well! I wasn't too disappointed as there were plenty of beautiful jewel wasps as well as several dark bush crickets to look at. Meanwhile, the Meadow Trail was looking at its absolute best with many orchids and other wildflowers displaying brilliant splashes of colour. It was great to walk amongst them via the new mini paths mowed out for everyone to explore. Just make sure you bring the insect repellent. The horseflies were in a hungry mood today!

Southern Marsh Orchids

Common Spotted Orchid
Meadow Brown
Ruby-tailed Jewel Wasp
Dark Bush Cricket
Dock Bug
Black-headed Gull
Grey Heron

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