As it was the first day of spring on 20th March, the tern rafts were put out on Moore Lake and Ferry Lagoon ready for the return of the common terns. Waders were much in evidence that day, with a green sandpiper & two ruff passing through and oystercatchers, redshanks and lapwing all showing signs of holding territories.
The reedbeds are begining to come alive; a sighting of a pair of bearded tits (I'm old school & haven't got into the habit of calling them reedlings yet!) got us very excited. A female marsh harrier has been seen on several occasions, checking out Holywell Lake & Elney Lake, so fingers crossed.
The migrants are slowly begining to arrive. We've now had sightings of sedge warbler, blackcap, swallow and little ringed plover to add to those already reported in earlier blogs. At least seven species of butterfly have been reported, thanks to the unseasonally warm weather - brimstone, peacock, red admiral, comma, small tortoiseshell, orange tip & small white.
Don't forget, tomorrow is the Raptor Watch. Join us at the Discovery Zone between 10 & 12 as we scan the skies in search of migrating and displaying birds of prey.
Mothers' Day, a cold breeze and a rainy forecast - not a good combination for a busy day at Fen Drayton Lakes, but there were rewards for our visitors.
Chiffchaffs were singing in several locations, a handful of sand martins were spotted and a first-time visitor found our first wheatear of the year. We hope this visitor will return soon and make more discoveries!
It was too cold for butterflies, but 70 other bird species were recorded today, including siskins, lesser redpolls, fieldfares, the first male marsh harrier of 2012, a curlew, 2 ringed plovers and a peregrine.
We had an opportunity to look at fieldfares through our telescopes during yesterday's Wednesday Wander guided walk. Lovely to see, although in much duller light than on Sunday, when Colin took his photo that is on our gallery. While we were looking at the winter visitors, I heard a chiffchaff singing a little way off, my first one for this year.
Another highlight was a Cetti's warbler that burst into song right next to were we were standing - one of the people in the group even saw it. We also two ringed plovers at Ferry Mere, as well as oystercatchers, lapwings, redshanks and snipe.
...Fen Drayton Lakes' volunteer Nigel Sprowell, who has scooped the honours in the Cambridgeshire Bird Club's Photo of the Year, 2011. 25 images of birds taken in the county during 2011 were put to the vote, for visitors to the bird club's online gallery to decide.
Nigel's winning image was taken here at Fen Drayton last summer, showing a huddle of six treecreepers, just minutes after they had fledged their nest. What's more, another of Nigel's pictures was placed second - a bearded reedling, also photographed here. Nigel also won the 2010 competition with a female stonechat taken in winter. And yes, you've guessed - that was also taken here!
Congratulations, Nigel - you've set a very high standard for the rest of us!
Nigels winner, Cambridgeshire Bird Club Photo of the Year 2011
and his second-placed image:
The party of six tundra bean geese has been reported at Moore Lake again this morning, see from the Coucher Hide.
Steve has just reported a red kite flying over the car park at around 1pm today - I hope he managed to get a photo add to our gallery.
We saw the geese during yesterday afternoon's guided walk, when we also saw common and green sandpipers, a redshank, a pair of oystercatchers, displaying lapwings, a pair of goosanders, a raft of drake shovelers, all without moving from the hide. The best view for many in the group, however, was of a common snipe in the reed stubble, just a few metres in front of the day. You can see Steve's great image of it below, or in our picture gallery alongside some of the other birds we saw yesterday.