Friday, 1 February 2008

Trip to Stodmarsh

After yesterday's awful weather a bright and comparatively calm day was most welcome.

Song Thrushes are now in full voice, they are quite easy to pick out as they repeat each phrase they sing, normally three or four times.
I decided to go out of the area for an excursion to Stodmarsh National Nature Reserve. I quickly found this Treecreeper near the car park but apart from that the wood was quiet with no winter finches (Redpolls or Siskins) at all.

One of the delights here is sitting in the hide and watching the activity over the marsh. Every now and again a Marsh Harrier, in this case a female or juvenile, would fly over and cause pandemonium amongst the other birds.
I don't know why the Greylag Geese fly, they are much too large to be attacked by a Harrier.

Flight of Mallard also got up into the air as the Marsh Harrier quartered the reed bed.

Several hundred roosting gulls scattered over the open water, but quickly returned to carry on loafing about on the lake.

A little later the Teal to my right took flight as another Harrier came through.

This time, however it was a juvenile Hen Harrier, it broad white rump giving it the name of a "ring-tail", a name a pplied to the females and juveniles of several species of Harriers that show this characteristic.

Soon after this another Marsh Harrier arrived and dropped into the reed bed for a while. I don't know if it was pursuing prey, but I didn't see it carrying anything off.

Nearby the hide there were two Snipe that spent most of the time partly hidden in the reeds, but for a short while this one came into the open to preen before returning to the thicker stuff and settling down. All in all an enjoyable visit to one of my favourite wetlands.


Simon said...

A great post Steve, and some super photos too.

tut-tut said...

Great photos; I agree.

Steve of Kingsdown said...

Such a great reserve, with the variety of the woodland next to the reedbeds and lakes.
Great photo of the Hen Harrier!