Fen Drayton Lakes

Fen Drayton Lakes
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  • Blog Post: back to autumn - or forward?

    The weather certainly hasn't been remotely summery over the Jubilee weekend, but birds have been getting on with their busy lives. A pair of blackcaps has been working hard throughout, flying with caterpillars from a hedge to their nest in some bushes, then back to trhe hedge a few moments later...
  • Blog Post: what a weekend!

    Phew! It has been hot and sunny, with lots of people out for a walk. Some even had binoculars with them. Many of them signed the RSPB's Letter to the Future. 87 different bird species were recorded at Fen Drayton Lakes today, which equals our best one-day tally. They included 10 species of warbler...
  • Blog Post: Misty morning, sunny afternoon

    I was out in the fields of Middle Fen, this morning. Middle Fen is an interesting part of Fen Drayton Lakes as it still retains many of its old field boundaries and ancient grassland habitats. Shallow patches of water can make parts of Middle Fen very attractive to breeding waders such a lapwing, redshank...
  • Blog Post: Autumn highlights

    October’s usually one of my favourite months, and this year is proving no exception. Here are some of the wildlife moments we’ve been enjoying in the autumn sunshine. We saw some redwings this morning, the first winter thrushes to arrive. Look out for them feeding up on berries or in large...
  • Blog Post: Beans for brave birders

    Today's rain was enough to discourage most people from going for a walk, but there were rewards for a few brave birders who reached shelter of the Coucher Hide, overlooking Moore Lake. Before reaching the hide, two people found a flock of eight siskins in the alders on the south side of Elney Lake...
  • Blog Post: 76, and counting

    The brilliant winter sunshine has been enjoyed by many visitors, and our birds. Our visitors today, including a coach-load from the Hitchin and Letchworth RSPB Local Group, found 76 different species, with the 77th not far away. Each visitor would have had their favourite - perhaps it was seeing a bittern...
  • Blog Post: more exciting wildlife

    Today's tally of wildlife sightings finished on 75 bird species, counting pied & white wagtail as one. An osprey and two ravens were highlights for some lucky observers, but we also had some smashing views of a male marsh harrier. A grasshopper warbler was singing again today, with a few common...
  • Blog Post: first brimstone

    We saw our first butterfly of the year this morning, an immaculate brimstone, flying in the sun alongside the Oxholme Drain, on the east side of Drayton Lagoon. Not long afterwards, there was a very ragged comma butterfly flying over Holywell Ferry Road. Great tits, chaffinches and goldfinches seemed...
  • Blog Post: Is it spring yet? Snow.

    Last week's flooding has thankfully receded, leaving the car park and most paths clear if a little muddy. For some sections you do still need wellies to get by, notably the stretch between the Busway and Coucher Hide, the south-west corner of Drayton Lagoon and the south-east corner of Ferry Lagoon...
  • Blog Post: things that screech at night

    I heard a tawny owl's calls as I cycled home on Thursday night, and had great views of a barn owl the following night. The latter was hunting the edge of a field alongside my route home, and it came to within 10 metres of me. Brilliant! Will we see or hear them - or other nocturnal beings - on...
  • Blog Post: Warming up

    With temperatures back into positive figures, just, and the ice receeding, it's actually getting a little bit more tricky to see birds like bitterns and water rails. However, careful watching of the lake shores and islands today produced 3 bitterns at Drayton Lagoon, Oxholme Lake and flying into...
  • Blog Post: spring migrants update

    Quite a few people got out this morning to make the most of the sunshine (and frost). Their highlights were a beautifull male yellow wagtail and a little ringed plover near the Coucher Hide (Moore Lake), and a sedge warbler at Drayton Lagoon. Chiffchaffs seemed to be everywhere, and blackcaps were singing...
  • Blog Post: back on form

    After a couple of below-par performances, the starlings gave a much better performance tonight. The estimated numbers had dropped back a bit from the beginning of the week, and the flying displays had been relatively short, with the flock dropping into the chosen roost site before early. Late arrivals...
  • Blog Post: Wednesday Wander

    Our monthly Wednesday Wander set off from the car park this morning with a few redwings in the hedge ahead of us. It was noticeable how few berries were left on this stretch of hawthorn - it had been laden just over a month ago, before the winter thrushes arrived. Our first challenge was to show people...
  • Blog Post: Weekend update 27/28 Nov

    Pick of the weekend's sightings was our first drake smew of this winter period. This fine male joined the redhead on Swavesey Lake on Sunday. Another 'sawbill', a male goosander, was also seen over the weekend, on Drayton Lagoon on Saturday. These ducks are known as sawbills because of the...
  • Blog Post: yellows to brighten the morning

    The weather has been gloomy today, but my walk to work was brightened by two splashes of yellow. Firstly, the leaves of the field maples, which turn to a lovely buttery yellow, and secondly, some siskins, which were mixed up with goldfinches. I bumped into Dennis, one of our great team of volunteers...
  • Blog Post: wild goose chase this afternoon

    We now have six tundra bean geese dividing their time between Moore Lake and the adjacent wheat field, to the south of the lake. The sixth one was spotted yesterday - had it just arrived or had we overlooked it? The geese were in the field earlier this morning, and they'll be our primary "target...
  • Blog Post: Back to spring

    Cold rain yesterday, wind and sun today - so Spring is still here after all. The wind has made birdwatching quite challenging today, as most birds seemed to be taking shelter. 80 bird species were recorded by 5pm, so they were there if you looked or listened. You could hear Cetti's and garden...
  • Blog Post: The starling roost is over

    The flocks of starlings that have been roosting here at Fen Drayton Lakes have now moved on, leaving just a relatively small flock of local, hardy residents. Although these birds try, there just aren't enough of them to give the fantastic displays we were seeing when there were over 1000 starlings...
  • Blog Post: Hares and tortoises

    We had a great Sunday here on the reserve - lots of people out enjoying the lakes and the start of spring in very different ways! Our hares were the runners of the inaugural Swavesey half marathon and 5 miler . The routes included many of the surfaced tracks around the reserve and the Busway cycle...
  • Blog Post: Scorcher

    The good luck that was with me last weekend did hold, as I saw four cranes at the RSPB Ouse Washes than another six at WWT Welney. They're now all at Lakenheath, so when I go past there on the train to Norwich this week, I'll make sure I've got a window seat. October has started off with...
  • Blog Post: the start of winter?

    With a temperature drop of 18 Centigrade in the past week, and a north-westerly wind to chill to the bone, today certainly felt wintry. Just to add to the atmosphere, several parties of redwings flew over us this morning. Our hawthorn hedges are laden with berries, but the redwings ignored them - why...
  • Blog Post: common tern chicks are fledging

    The oldest of our common tern chicks are now beginning to fly, and the remainder should be flying within the week. Migrant dunlins, common and green sandpipers were seen today
  • Blog Post: More signs of spring

    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...
  • Blog Post: right place, right time

    I claim not to be a twitcher, but this afternoon I made an exception. I was in the Fen Drayton Lakes car park, waiting for a visiting group to arrive. Just as they appeared, my mobile phone rang. One of our local bird watchers was calling to tell me he had just found a great grey shrike - about 500...