Upon arrival we noticed some strange fruits growing on a tree near the Visitor Centre which on first appearance looked a bit like green grapes! However when we looked closer they seemed more plum-like and Andy M (acting in his capacity of taster of mystery fruits) tried one, confirming that they were indeed plum-ish, being quite tasty with a small stone.
|There's that stone.|
We set off in the opposite direction to the rest of our group to avoid overcrowding of the small hides! The weather was great if a bit breezy and the fen was looking lovely:
|Reeds in front of one of the hides.|
We made our way round stopping in the hides and soon found ducks aplenty, including Pintail, Teal, Wigeon, Gadwall and Shoveler. We heard a fair few Cetti's Warblers too and also outside one of the hides, Bearded Tit - frustratingly they sounded quite close, but we never got a glimpse, I think they were keeping low out of the wind. We had amazing views of a female Marsh Harrier flying towards us over the reedbed, then right over the path we were standing on - brilliant!
Unfortunately I didn't have much time for drawings and I only managed these brief sketches of Teal. Thought I'd have a go at one swimming towards us, I need some practice at that by the looks of things!
Here's a few other things spotted on our way round, although it is harder in winter to find new plants to learn, I haven't forgotten and at least berries are something distinctive to look out for and try to ID:
|This soft hair was caught on a very low fence in a spot that seemed inaccessible to larger animals - we thought it might be from a Muntjac?|
|A deer footprint; as the visitor centre said that both Roe and Muntjac were around on the reserve, we thought the size of this probably made it Roe.|
|More mystery berries to try, our food taster's verdict was that these were not as delicious! I think they are probably Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica). Looking at that name, it's a good job Andy spat them out...|
|More ginger fence-fluff, this was higher up and very coarse, pretty sure it's from the Highland cattle that graze the fen.|
|Close enough for me to get this record shot!|
|Wicken Fen in the fading light.|
|Spot the Hen Harrier (it is there!)|
|There's one here too!|
What a spectacular end to the Bird Club's year!