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Sunday, 8 November 2015

The Wonderful Marsh Harrier Against Grand Old Ely Cathedral.





During the time of the William the Conqueror, Hereward the Wake led Saxon resistance against the Norman Overlords of England during the 1070s and 80s. No one knows for sure, what came of Hereward because he was never captured by the King William's Normans. This is one thing most historians are sure of because the Normans would have been sure to record such an historical event. 

They certainly recorded the event of almost capturing the Saxon rebel in Ely Cathedral when it was surrounded by Norman soldiers. However, in that day and age, Ely was an island surrounded by lakes. So although William's men did circle the huge place, they were on the wrong side of the marshy lake, that was a natural mote. Hereward was able to escape during the night amid the marshland's reeds and live to fight another day.

I love to sit and ponder such historical things in the bird hides of the village of Manea and look across the marshy fen towards old Ely Cathedral. Oliver Cromwell's place of birth is very close to the cathedral too. There is also the advantage of watching the various birds of prey flying across the fen.

Today, (8th November 2015) was a wet autumn day and I did not fancy going to the Manea bird hide. However, my wife, Carole, also enjoys looking out for the various birds and she persuaded me to go. I'm pleased that I did for we saw many different birds. A flock of Canadian geese were in the fen mooching about. There were also other types of water bird too. 

I'm always happy when I see a bird of prey and there was the usual abundance of hunting kestrels hovering and diving for vermin. A sparrow hawk swiftly shot across our path and many of the smaller birds scattered in flocks to avoid the predator's flight path. It did land upon the marsh and for a while stayed put. It was a little too far to get a good shot on my Nikon 3100D with 200m maximum zoom. Still it could be made out.

Another group of bird watchers came into the hide and they had some splendid equipment and must have got some excellent shots. However, just before the arrival of the other bird watchers, Carole called my attention to the regular Marsh Harrier we often see. I'm supposing its the same one, though I could be wrong. Anyway, I got forward with the camera as the Harrier seemed to fly awkwardly against the breeze. 

It dropped low as it came across the fen in front of our bird hide and then began to climb once again against the blue sky with the wonderful Ely Cathedral in the background. I was excitedly clicking away. That was it for me. Nothing could surpass my delight, yet we remained for another hour or so, during which, the other bird watchers arrived with their splendid cameras. They were most polite and complimentary of the aroma of our coffee. It was during this time that the sparrow hawk put in an appearance along with a kestrel too. 














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