Wednesday, 11 July 2018

July 11th Strumpshaw Fen

Black-headed Gulls, a Little Egret and a Grey Heron
Who else is anxious and excited for England's world cup semi final game against Croatia to start tonight? I am! That one song has been playing in my mind for over a week now and I can't help but think about the outcomes of the remaining games every minute of the day. I have caught football fever and there's only one cure and that is for England to become world champions! But to keep my mind at ease while I eagerly await kick off, I'm at Strumpshaw for my weekly shift.

Grey Heron
This morning was a bit of a damp start as thick grey clouds threaten to rain. There were spits and spats here and there, however it wasn't enough to even soak the skin. Eventually the sun came out and made a gloomy scene more cheerful. With this dull start, the insects were grounded (apart from the bity ones of course) and it was the birds that dominated Strumpshaw once again. The herons and little egrets in particular were especially numerous than usual today. While I was at Fen Hide, I believe I counted at least 10 herons popping in or flying by and a further 5 or more appearing at Reception Hide. There were also the odd visit of a kingfisher and a surprisingly large gathering of black-headed gulls, young and old loathing around the broad outside the Reception Hide. What brings such large numbers of such birds to this part of the reserve all of a sudden after weeks of being absent? Not sure, but it seems the water in the broad is more appealing now that most of the slimy yellow algae has dispersed from the surface.

Grey Heron with Little Egret
Little Egret
Black-headed Gull
Juvenile Black-headed Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Mute Swan Cygnet
Small Red-eyed Damselfly
As soon as the sun came out half way through my shift, it was like hitting a light switch. When those glorious warm rays of sunshine burst down from the heavens, up came the butterflies and dragonflies. I heard that the silver-washed fritillaries and white admirals were still showing at the bramble patches in the woods, but I did not go look for them this time. However, if you take a very short walk to the pond beside the Reception Hide, the small red-eyed damselflies are out sitting on the pond weed. These tiny damselflies are now at there best with those striking red eyes staring right back at you. Definitely a real highlight of my day. Now let's hope England provide another and actually win a place into the final of the world cup! Football is coming home!

Purple Loosestrife

Hemp Agrimony
Hedge Bindweed

Tufted Vetch
Great Willowherb

Marsh Sowthistle

Milk Parsley

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