Strumpshaw Fen, 18 August 2016

Strumpshaw Fen has always been a special place for me since I cut my birding teeth here as a child.
The main reason for this visit was to track down and photograph Willow Emerald damselflies, one of those 'southern' species that is gradually trying to colonise the UK. Armed with directions to the likely spots the weather wasn't ideal to begin with and I only managed to find one which was not very photographable. After a walk to Tower Hide and back it had warmed up considerably and I was able to fill my boots with really close views of c8 individuals. At the same spot was a male Common Emerald damselfly while Migrant Hawkers, Brown Hawkers, Ruddy Darters and Common Darters were out in numbers plus the odd Southern Hawker. A Willow Warbler was strangely in full song this late in the summer.

Willow Emeralds

Migrant Hawker

The walk to Tower Hide was productive too. From the hide were 9 juvenile Garganey, 2 Water Rails, 8 Ruff and Little Egret and then on the way back a lovely 2nd generation Swallowtail that posed briefly by the river bank in almost the exact same spot I had one in early summer. Another one was on the way back along the Lackford Run plus Black-tailed Skimmers, Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Kingfisher.

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