The last few times I have been I have seen plenty of wildlife both through the woods and in the hides, otters, herons, bittern, little egrets, Chinese water deer, kingfisher, marsh tits, etc... The problem I find with the hides that may prevent wildlife making an appearance is the noise that some people make while "picnicking" in them. The clanking of coffee cups, rustling of carrier bags stuffed with crisps and constant chatting makes me leave the hide as you just know it's so noisy nothing's going to come close.
In reply to AlanH1693199010:
As you say, there's always something at Strumpshaw but "the usual". Many people only go because they "expect" to see something rare and exciting. Personally, if I see the Long-tailed Tits on their feeding route, with accomplices, I am quite happy.
As for Hide comments: humans are social animals..... well, most are! Ducks, Conies, geese, starlings and most like to gather and chat. It's only natural. IMHO I don't mind people chatting in the hides, but when you get someone sitting there looking grumpy, ignoring everyone else and showing obvious distaste of natural socialising, then that really does cast a cold dark cloud over the time and upsets the ambiance. I've been in Fen Hide, getting chatted to like all the other 10 or so folks in there, when all of a sudden a Bittern flew towards the hide. To satisfy its curiosity, it veered to its left, then did a right to left flypast for us! The noise from about 7-8 "Can-Kons" and 2-3 smaller cameras was reminiscent of a machine gun post! However, this did not scare any wild-life whatsoever.
There are far more serious issues. People wearing bright coloured clothing, waving hands out of the hatch windows, poking heads out too, etcetera. I saw a "serious chap" in there the other day tapping out the dregs from his ceramic mug on the outside of the window ledge! He looked quite miserable, radiating his bad mood, and didn't seem to like anyone else entering the hide. There were about six "grumpy old men" taking up all the places and completely ignoring anyone else who came in. Having an arthritic hip, a dodgy knee and carrying lots of heavy gear for some two hours, I'd have loved to sit down but these ignorant people refused to budge.
One of the more serious "site" issues is selfishness, at any site. You can be standing still, waiting for a creature to come into view and some gormless pillock, male or female, will come marching through and scare away whatever you were patiently waiting for. I have found these people to be (1) people with big scopes or camera on tripods (2) walkers & joggers; people not interested in wildlife and (3) people who are unintentionally ignorant because nobody has told them the "code", not even RSPB or local Wildlife Trust.
In reply to Old Taoist:
The biggest problem with Strumpshaw is the expense of going there. I seem to be unable to visit Strumpshaw without popping into WEX just down the road and I'm rather weak-willed when it comes to visiting camera shops :-)
Picking up on the social side of hides, I agree with Old Taoist, chatting with others is always pleasurable and a good way to pass the time whilst waiting for that elusive Bittern to put in an appearance. Whether it's about the wildlife we're waiting for or discussing hardware (cameras more often than not in my case) it's particularly nice when you're speaking to someone who's not visited the reserve before and you can put them onto something special to make their day.
On the last point though, my experience is slightly different. People with tripods tend to stop and ask what I'm pointing the camera at if I'm waiting. It's the people who wander in front of the lens whilst I'm shooting that bemuse me - if you're visiting a nature reserve, you'd think there'd be at least a little interest in what wildlife someone is photographing!
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In reply to Whistling Joe:
Why would you want to go and see everything anyway? If it was that easy what would be the point!
The way I think is, i go for a walk around a beautiful reserve,if I see anything,that's a bonus.
To say there was "nothing there" is ridiculous,there's always something there,you just have to be patient and look.And who are "they" who have drove all our wildlife away? i've been in hides when people have come in and sat for a minute or two and then left.Chances are you won't see much that way,but sometimes
you just get lucky.Surely that's the fun of wildlife watching,the expectation.Only my opinion obviously.
In reply to Browny:
I agree with Alan's main points. However, it's preferable to eat in the hides rather than out in the open on a wet or windy day; like the animals, we all have to eat! BUT I have seen some fools in hides banging their coffee cups on the outside, people who have "no clue" waving arms out of hatch windows, etc. Talking does not scare away wildlife, arm waving and cup banging does. One day I sat in Fen hide and a woman, her daughter and two little lads came in. The women, wearing hot pants, kneeled on the seats and leaned out of the hatch head and shoulders! :-) Hard to make my mind up on that one... but the two toddlers were left to virtually hang out of the hatches too. As for the joggers and fast walkers... don't get me started on that one!
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