Wednesday, 5 September 2018

September 5th Strumpshaw Fen

Chinese Water Deer
A second wet Wednesday at Strumpshaw in a row. It was just as miserable as last week. Unlike last week though, there was no short outbreaks of sunshine, only grey and gloomy rainclouds. At least it was more drizzly than heavy showers, so I was more damp than soaked through on arrival. This didn't lighten my spirits much, however, as I spent an hour at Fen Hide mostly watching the rain fall across the reserve. A Chinese water deer did wade past the front of the hide, right until my phone went off and scared it off that is. The young marsh harriers were looking as glum as I was, trying hard to continue to make the most of their daily routine of waiting for their parents to drop off some food.

Marsh Harrier
Rainy view from Reception Hide 
The rain didn't ease off when I began my shift at the Reception Hide. It was perfect weather for ducks and there were many of them out on the broad today. They were mostly shovelers, gadwall, mallards and a few teal, but I also managed to spot 3 wigeon and a female pintail amongst them. I was quite pleased in spotting the pintail in particular as it was not exactly standing out of the crowd as a drake pintail would. An amateur could easily overlook it and pass it off as any other grey-brown duck. The key thing that helped me ID it as a pintail was the elegant looking head and neck and the pointed tail. Other than ducks, I also saw a couple of kingfishers flyby, some swallows and house martins with a lone sand martin swoop over the broad and there was a young marsh harrier testing out its hunting skills by stooping on one of the kingfishers by surprise, but was unsuccessful.
Pintail with Mallard
Pintail with Wigeon

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