Glorious Evening

Friday 30th May: After a week of rain persuading me that I really should stay in and finish all "loose ends" it was quite hectic. Friday morning, more work, then a bank run after noon. Grab the camera gear, pop into the city and do the essential bank run. After leaving the smelly, dirty old city about 3.30 it took me half-an-hour to wend my way through Thorpe to head off to "my back garden" (Strumpshaw Fen). On arriving I spoke to a nice couple on holiday from the midlands. Carried on to Reception, thinking I'd get a well deserved cup of tea, but no luck; no volunteer available! Decided to meander along the path to Fen Hide. Saw a few busy parent birds along the way, hastily catching insects for their new families. Stopped at the gateway, near the Meadow Trail watching two Brimstone butterflies mating; well, she was feeding from pollen whilst he tried to mate! Suddenly a small bee landed on the back of my right hand. It looked like a small Buff-tailed bee. He sat there and tasted my hand, perhaps seeking a small amount of moisture? A couple walked past, looking curiously at me looking at my raised hand. "I seem to have been adopted by a bee!" I told them. They were pleased to stop and see it closely. Fen Hide was empty when I got there. Opening the hatch quietly and sitting down on the "luxury" bench, I noticed the male Marsh Harrier perched on a twig, just the other side of the scrape. He stayed there long enough for me to take two good pictures and a video of him; hopefully recording his call too. He eventually took off and kept circling the area. Later he came back, circled, hovered and swooped. Of he went towards his nest site with what looked like a small chick or duckling in his talons. I could not help noting that in front of the hide there were two swans with one signet, last week it was five signets! Small Reed Buntings and another LBJ (Little Brown Job = too quick to recognise!) kept whizzing back and forth, feeding young in their nearby nests. On the way back about 6.30 I saw Tits and Tree Creepers near the gate, plus an unidentified "grass twitcher", possibly a bank vole. Time to amble slowly back through the woods. I'm so glad I did. Stopping near the seat I saw movements. Standing still I saw two Chaffinch playfully mating and feeding, then a Nuthatch feeding nearby. Soon one Nuthatch landed on a trunk just in front of me, then another higher up.... then four others came too! I stood there, moving very slowly, but taking close-up pictures of them and they didn't mind me at all; in fact, the nearest one winked at me as I took several shots! Then a cheeky foraging squirrel came along, did another "Hey, is this cute enough?" pose on one of the tree stumps and moved on. Two Wood Mice also appeared but were more shy and I could not get a shot. Feeling "at one with Tao (Nature)" I decided to leave as I still wanted that cup of tea! But, what a glorious evening.