Strumpshaw Fen June 2018

BLACKBOURNE U3A BIRDING GROUP VISIT TO STRUMPSHAW FEN Thursday the 14TH June 2018

A small group, consisting of 6 keen birdwatchers arrived at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB reserve near Brundall in Norfolk. We walked across the railway crossing towards the reception and there were several Bee Orchids next to a fence. After a coffee and a look from the reception hide we set off through the woodland, heading for the marsh meadow and the river. Not far from reception we saw some orchids which were either Marsh or Common Spotted species. Next to them were some comparatively drab Common Twayblades. At the dipping pond we saw a beautiful Long Horn Beetle which had settled on a blue plastic handle.

So far this birdwatching trip was not proving very successful on the bird spotting front but we pressed on. At the fen hide we observed several Marsh Harriers gliding effortlessly low across the reed beds and a distant Common Tern hunting for fish in the lagoons. Next stop was the tower hide where we saw a colony of extremely noisy Black Headed Gulls including eggs and young.

We were beginning to feel hungry and thirsty so we walked briskly down the long grassy path to the upper rail crossing. After crossing we were hoping to see Swallowtail butterflies in the flower garden of one of the cottages but the temperature was just too cool. We chose to have our picnic near the dipping pond and soon tucked in whilst sitting in pleasant sunshine, albeit accompanied by a cool breeze at times. Just as we finished, and as if putting on a display just for us, a Hobby soared up in front of us, glided to and fro and disappeared.

3 of us decided to complete another short walk through woodland and marsh meadow. As we came out of the wood and glanced back, the Hobby gave a very spectacular aerobatic display over the trees. It soared high and in an instant plummeted vertically and out of sight, only to appear above the trees again.

Angela spotted a Water Vole in one of the drainage ditches and we all saw Norfolk Hawker Dragonflies on the wing. The 6 of us reconvened for a delicious local made ice cream before heading for home. The trip was not a particularly productive one for bird species but the variety of other species of flowers, insects and mammals more than made up for it. We saw a total of only 27 bird species and heard another 7 species.

Bird species seen:
Dunnock, Coot, Black Headed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Swift, Grey Heron, Marsh Harrier, Mallard, Mute Swan, Blackbird, Herring Gull, Common Buzzard, Shelduck, Lapwing, Jackdaw, Reed Bunting, Common Tern, Cormorant, House Martin, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Shoveler, Carrion Crow, Jay and Hobby.

Bird species heard:
Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Reed Warbler, Willow Warbler, Wren,Cetti’s Warbler and Chaffinch.

Other Wildlife seen:
Rabbit, Mole, Grey Squirrel, Muntjac Deer, Water Vole, Norfolk Hawker, Longhorn Beetle, Fat-thighed Pollen Beetle, Red Admiral and Speckled Wood Butterflies, Common Spotted, Bee and Marsh Orchids and Common Twayblade.