Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Aug 22nd Strumpshaw Fen

I had a panic this morning. My alarm clock didn't go off at 5:45am like usual on a Wednesday and I found myself waking up at least 20 - 25 minutes later. I had to rush to clean my teeth, get my gear together, put my boots on and get to the bus stop outside before the bus arrived to take me into the city so that I could walk down to the train station to catch my train. Somehow, I managed to do all this in 5 minutes, just a few minutes before the bus showed up. I was now back on schedule. Phew!

Grey Heron
Arriving at Strumpshaw at my usual time of 7:30am, I unpacked my bag of my camera and binoculars at the blind beside Reception Hide. I then realised something. Bertie the friendly pigeon from last week was nowhere to be seen. Where did he go? Perhaps he moved on? Or did his owner come back to take him away? Or has the worst thing imaginable happened? I do not know. On the plus side, there was no need to worry about picking him off someone's head inside the Reception Hide this time. However, his good omen powers have also seemed to have disappeared from me. From Fen Hide, it was a pretty disappointing hour as there wasn't too much to see. A pair of herons hidden behind a cover of reeds, a few shabby-looking ducks (including a dead one), a family of wrens and distant and fleeting glimpses of great white egrets, marsh harriers, a flock of 20 feral barnacle geese and a green woodpecker. Not a lot to really get a photo of annoyingly.
Barnacle Geese
Some kind of Ichneumon Wasp 
Wasp on Tansey flowers
Speckled Wood
Hooded x Carrion Crow hybrid
Reception Hide was a little better. It started well with this curious looking hooded x carrion crow hybrid that perched closed to the hide for some time. This crow is definitely a hybrid and not a pure hooded crow as the black hood and bib seem rather scruffy and large. I also had a couple of quick flybys from a kingfisher, but it never stopped once to pose for me. A swarm of house martins and swallows occasionally appeared to swoop over the broad and there were at least 6 buzzards circling high above the reserve at the end of my shift.

Mute Swan chasing a Grey Heron
Grey Heron
The real highlight, if you can call it that, was seeing ducks being flushed out of the reeds beside the hide to my right, in which I noticed something furry slip into the water but vanishing as soon as I spotted it. This very fleeting glimpse was of an otter, I was certain of it. I waited for it to show up again, but nature was calling me. I needed the toilet! While I was away to relieve myself, guess what showed up? Yep, the otter. Only one visitor managed to watch it spooking the ducks before swimming down the far left channel not to be seen again! Don't you just hate it when that happens?

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