|Nature Diary Pages for Strumpshaw|
|Gadwall (the one with its head up!)|
We took a walk along the 'woodland path', a route I haven't taken since I was an undergraduate ecologist, and found some interesting organisms, including a Scarlet Elf Cup fungus, plenty of snow drops, and some flowering cherry plum blossom.
|Scarlet Elf Cup|
|Cherry Plum Blossom|
|Long Tailed Tit|
On reaching the path next to the river, we found some elusive deer footprints, and lots of low flying geese and ducks, a few of which obliged by forming amusing aerial positions for photographs.
|Chinese water deer??|
When we eventually reached the 'Fen Hide', we spotted a couple of circling marsh harriers; I always find them slightly hypnotic and addictive to watch. There's always tension and excitement when one disappears below the tree line, then majestically ascends again. There were also some teal on the water who were eventually joined by a black swan.
The light started to fade, so we began a meander back to the car, hopefully gazing across the grass for a glimpse of the Chinese water deer, but not today. We listened to the birds evening chorus, picking out the various tits and finches, and a couple of song thrushes even made an appearance. We had almost reached the car park when the sky erupted in noise, seemingly coming from all directions, and all of a sudden was blackened by the silhouettes of calling geese, hundreds of them, perhaps even thousands. A perfect end to the trip.
|Huge flock of geese|