Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Recent sightings, a reserve tick too!

After the initial wader peak at Buckenham it appears to have physically and metaphorically dried up (at least the hide pool has anyway).
Signs of autumn are making themselves increasingly evident at the moment, not least made obvious by the fact that I'm back cutting and burning in the fen! The wildlife has also shown signs of changing times, a Garganey and plenty of Ruff from Tower Hide as well as second generation swallowtails emerging and thousands of swallows roosting in the reedbed each evening symbolise departures.

I decided to have an evening walk at Strumpshaw on Saturday evening, I knew that the water levels were looking particularly crakey and with pictures of Titchwells spotted crake all over the net I thought I'd try to find my own. I sat in the hide looked out for about 10 mins enjoying a busy broad when I turned to look at the sightings board- Spotted Crake today! Ok so I was pipped to the post, now to refind the thing. After a couple of hours and the onset of almost darkness I had 'only' seen a couple of water rails and plenty of Juv and adult Moorhens, I conceded defeat and headed home. On the way back I was amazed by the sheer number of Swallows, I estimate that at least 1200 but more likely 2500 must have roosted in the reedbed, a fantastic sight!

Swallows coming in to roost on Saturday night

On talking to a reception volunteer it sounds like the crake sighting could possibly be erroneous with a description of angle of walking rather than bare part or plumage details, they also saw some Sandwich Terns, which not impossible is highly unlikely. I'd love to be proven wrong but at the moment it has not passed the SBRC.

On Monday I was cutting the trails and nipped into Tower hide for lunch and found a Garganey feeding continuously in front of the hide. Its not been reported again but I wonder how many visitors would pick it out of the flocks of eclipse ducks on offer from the hide!

 Today I had a real bit of excitement, I had finished my burning for the day and thought I would follow up on yesterdays fritillary sighting. I walked past the reception to the buddlia and quite astonished to see a SILVER WASHED FRITILLARY nectering out in full view, I dropped my bag to the floor to get my camera out and just as about to push the shutter it flew off into the wood. Wow my first Frit for Strumpshaw, so glad I followed up the sighting, so often the turn out to be Commas, this was the real deal!

Second generation swallowtail
 Whilst watching the Garganey a Buzzard flew over, While I'm sure it is just a common Buzzard I couldn't help but think it looked a little different so I snapped a couple of shots. Structurally it does look a little odd to me or is it just the pale undertail coverts changing the structural impession, the face also looks as if its stripy , with a pale throat, the diffuse and in places thick trailing edge also appears slightly odd. I am aware of variation in C Buzzards so know it probably is one, but any thoughts would be good, could it be a juvenile?


  1. Hi Ben, where abouts have you seen the second generation swallowtails? I'm only in Norfolk for a few days and am keen to see them. Cheers

  2. If you go to strumpshaw fen reception 9.30-5 they will tell you where the most recent individuals have been seen. I had 2 along the lackford run and 1 by reception yesterday. Good luck!