Those of us who visit regularly (with or without cameras!) are aware that Fen Hide can be very good for close views of Otters, Kingfishers , Water Rails, Bitterns and Bearded Tits. We're also aware (because we spend a lot of anticipatory time there in all weathers at all seasons) that, like the rest of SF, bird density is not high and nothing is guaranteed. My personal preference for the replacement would be for a mini Tower Hide, allowing better views across the reed beds and fringes.
In his recent posting on BF,
Ben hasn't mentioned it, but I would imagine there are factors that constrain the design of modern public structures - wheelchair access for example - so that a second stilted hide might be a non-starter :(
One last thing: the 'photographer bashing' on BF is getting a bit old: much of the invective showered upon those of us who carry a camera is unjustified. I personally believe that photography plays a major part in record-keeping, and I'm sure Ben would agree that many of the RELIABLE records of new / unusual species at places like Strumpshaw are better when supported by photographic evidence. There's a group of perhaps ten regulars at the Fen who carry cameras: some are genuine artists (Norman Tuttle, Mark Ollett, Brian Tubby - links to their photography are here on my blog) and others use a camera to record what they see (Liz Dack, Kim Breddy, Nigel Parfitt..... Ben Lewis!) I would suggest that a fair number of the birds that people from other parts of the county come to the Fen to see were found by one of us during our regular visits: Penduline Tit, Crane, Caspian Tern, Savi's Warbler, Red-backed Shrike, Monty's, Ferruginous Duck are some that come to mind!