Trip reports

Strumpshaw Fen

Strumpshaw Fen
Jane Bond

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

From the excellent information centre hide we inevitably saw a marsh harrier - later up to three at a time were seen in the air at once. A kingfisher was also observed from this hide, obscured in distant reeds, although most people eventually managed to scope it. A black swan was also seen here. Most people decided to do the circular walk, pausing at the tower hide for lunch where those hoping for a better view of a perching kingfisher were disappointed. Nevertheless a bittern was spotted in flight, always an exciting event, as were many hirundines and swifts, several duck including a lone pochard. A cuckoo was heard and eventually came quite close, conveniently perched on telephone wires. A pair of garden warblers gave us good views and blackcaps were singing everywhere, as were the 'invisible' and noisy Cetti's warblers along with reed and sedge warblers. The elusive water rail was also heard, whilst a buzzard was spotted high amongst the clouds.
Naturally we hoped to see, apart from some good birds, several swallowtail butterflies but only a few were spotted as the afternoon grew warmer. The warden told me that this had been a very poor year up till then for them due to the cold and wet winter and spring. Hopefully next year will be better as generally up until then butterflies were in short supply. Another good sighting was of a Chinese water deer and its calf. All in all a good 'birding' day with over 50 species on most people's lists.
Birds seen or heard were: Chiffchaff, Woodpigeon, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler. Pheasant, House Martin, Moorhen, Kingfisher, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Grey Heron, Mallard, Reed Warbler, Blackcap, Blue Tit, Cuckoo, Coot, Great Tit, Jay, Willow Warbler, Swift, Swallow, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Tufted Duck, Common Tern, Reed Bunting, Marsh Harrier, Water Rail, Skylark, Great Crested Grebe, Long-tailed Tit, Greylag Goose, Mute Swan, Gadwall, Garden Warbler, Teal, Shoveler, Egyptian Goose, Sparrowhawk, Lapwing, Shelduck, Pochard, Little Egret, Bittern, Whitethroat, Black Swan, Greenfinch, Curlew, Robin and Buzzard. Butterflies included Swallowtail, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock and 'White'. Chinese Water Deer and calf.

David Jeffries