Wednesday, 25 July 2018

July 25th Strumpshaw Fen

Outside Fen Hide Today (drier than last week!)
Hot, hot, hot!! This heatwave is showing no signs of ending just yet. I wished I was rather in a bath of ice cubes than at Strumpshaw in these sweltering conditions. I have opted for shorts instead of trousers this morning, a sensible decision to tackle the heat but not for the biting insects. Even with insect repellent sprayed over myself, it seemed to attract them than actually repel them like it's supposed to. I partly ran and partly jogged to Fen Hide to avoid the worst of the biters! Not that there was much to see from Fen Hide except for a little egret, Cobber the black swan, a few drab-looking mallards, a family of marsh harriers getting a few food passes from their father, a fleeting glimpse of a few bearded tits, a mostly dried up pool and a swarm of midges entering the hide's windows attracted by the carbon dioxide from my breath as they continue to try my patience!
Cobber the Black Swan
Little Egret
Cobber and the Little Egret
Marsh Harrier
View outside Reception Hide today
Inside Reception Hide, it was much cooler. This hide is like sitting in a fridge in summer and like sitting in a freezer in winter, so it is often colder than it is outside. We also sell ice cream here, so as it was a such a hot day today, I couldn't resist in buying one. Outside, a water rail was sunning its wings on top of a pile of hay for several minutes. A kingfisher made a couple of brief appearances by the reedy islands, while a pair of herons came down after a lengthy spell sitting up in the trees at the back of the broad to fish. The sky was filled with hundreds of house martins with a few swallows and swifts mixed in amongst them as they swooped across the broad for a meal and a drink while on the wing, performing a mesmerising aerial display.
Water Rail
Juvenile Moorhen
House Martins and Swallows
Small Red-eyed Damselfly
I did leave the comfort of the Reception Hide a couple of times to the pond outside to look for small red-eyed damselflies. On the second occasion, I was showing them to a pair of French ladies. I'm not fluent in French, but I did recognise a few words here and there as one translated what I was saying to the other. I may not know completely of what they were saying, but it was quite an experience. In return, they were pretty pleased in seeing the petit demoiselle aux yeux rouges. They said it was beautiful and it really is. Those red eyes really glisten like rubies in the bright sunshine and their slender blue and black bodies add to the beauty like prized broaches in a jewellery shop. I also pointed out the call of a reed warbler and a brown hawker dragonfly that circled over us before I said "Au revoir!"

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