Reception Hide remains closed today due to the snow.
There are staff on site however, so please visit the office if you need assistance or call us on 01603 715 191.
Photographed from the Strumpshaw office today, a Chinese water deer filling its stomach with ivy leaves.
Please note that Strumpshaw Fen itself will be open this weekend, but the Reception Hide will be CLOSED. Visitors are welcome to visit the reserve as usual but there will be no staff or volunteers available to help with your queries. Please also be aware of the icy conditions in the car park and on the paths.
We are hoping to be open again on Monday, however if the snow forecast for Sunday is severe we may not be able to. We will keep you updated both here on the blog and on our facebook page.
Please remember to feed the birds in your garden during this cold weather, it may well save their lives! I've just made a rudimentary fat ball (some lard with seeds pushed into it) and the robins in my garden have been fighting over it since I put it outside!
It is also important to put out fresh water for them at times like this as it is near impossible for the birds to find fresh, unfrozen water. Put out a shallow dish of water and remember to keep removing the ice. It may sound silly, but don't put anti-freeze in the water as it is highly toxic to birds! A ping-pong ball or twig can sometimes help to stop the water from freezing, but in temperatures such as these you may need to go and remove the top layer of ice every so often for them.
If you would like any more advice on feeding your garden birds please visit http://www.rspb.org.uk/advice/helpingbirds/feeding/index.aspx
Path conditions update: the riverside path to the towerhide is extremely muddy so take care and wellingtons are strongly advised. Also be aware that due to current high river levelswe we may need to close the riverbank temporarily from time to time. The Lackford Run path has been closed for the past week and is likely to remain closed for the next few weeks. On arrival please check with the volunteer at Reception Hide who will let you know what the current path siutation is.
Some recent sightings from Strumpshaw Fen this week:
Otters have been showing well as usual with up to four individuals seen. Recption hide is probably best with daily sightings, but the sluice area and fen hide are also good places to look.
Kingfishers are still regular due to the relatively mild weather - they disappear when the weather gets cold.
Marsh Harriers are being seen daily - with around 6 birds roosting and 2 or 3 birds hunting around the fen all day.
Hen Harriers are showing regularly - a female and an adult male - and can be seen from all three hides
Bitterns are showing regularly at all three hides and sometimes giving incredible views on the ground.
Willow tit - one was seen and heard in the woods today. This bird is now very rare in the area with only a handful of winter records most years, and is easily confused with the relatively numerous marsh tit so if you think you have seen one make sure it really is a willow tit!
Other regular sightings around the fen include water pipits, nuthatches and marsh tits (still being seen at the feeders), tree creepers, lesser redpolls, goldcrest, sparrowhawks, peregrine and kestrels.
Recent star sightings at Buckenham and Cantley Marshes are a regular short-eared owl (seen today), and the wintering flocks of white-fronted geese, bean geese, wigeon, several resident barn owls and 2 or 3 wintering peregrines. Two bean geese are wearing neck collars - these were fitted by researchers in Sweden in the autumn and will help us understand the movements between the various wintering and breeding areas. However reading the 3 letter combination is a challenge even with the best telescope.
Lackford Run is under water at the moment and visitors are advised to avoid it until the conditions improve. River Path is extremely muddy so please wear wellingtons and take care on the path!
If you encounter flooding on any of the paths please turn back immediately.
Please check in with the volunteer at Reception Hide who will inform you of the trail conditions.
Otters have been showing spectacularly well with four individuals seen at once in the sluice at the top of Sandy Wall this week!
Kingfishers are still showing in front of the hides, with great sightings from Reception Hide in particular.
Marsh Harriers are being seen daily and are enjoying this wind today!
Hen Harriers are still about and can be seen from all three hides if you have the patience or good fortune to see one.
Bitterns - we are having a fantastic time with bitterns at the moment! The winter visitors are here and along with our resident birds they are giving visitors incredible views from the hides. There were two bitterns stalking about in front of Reception Hide on 18/12 and there were up to 11 different sightings from Reception Hide alone on Monday!
Water rails are very active at the moment and can be heard squealing at all times of the day, though particularly at dusk.
Other sightings from this week include reed buntings, water and meadow pipits, nuthatches (still being seen at the feeders), tree creepers, goldcrest, bearded tits, woodcock, redpoll, snipe, brambling, barn and tawny owl, wigeon, sparrowhawks and kestrels.
Recent star sightings at Buckenham and Cantley Marshes are a short-eared owl (seen flying across the river and back), peregrines, white-fronted geese, bean geese and Whooper swans.
Observations from Strumpshaw Fen/Surlingham Marshes on 16/12/12 by M. Chipperfield
Teal 50+ displaying
Cormorant 2 feeding in Yare
Bittern 1 flew in from the SE low over the broad and dropped into the fen. Also a definite 2 probable 3 heard flight calling at dusk
Grey Heron 3+ about fen
Little Grebe 1+
Great Crested Grebe 2 on Yare
Marsh Harrier 9 (1 male) pre-roost about fen/marshes
Hen Harrier 2 (1 male)
Water Rail 33+ calling
Lapwing 282+ high over SE/E
Common Snipe 14+
Barn Owl 3
Tawny Owl 7 calling at dusk
Marsh Tit 4+
Bearded Tit 6+
Cetti's Warbler 9+
Common Starling 160+ E over Rockland Broad pre-roost
Song Thrush 3+
Mistle Thrush 2+
Water Pipit 2
Lesser Redpoll 5
Redpoll sp. 1+ (Mealy?)
Reed Bunting 23+