March, 2011

Lakenheath Fen

Lakenheath Fen
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Lakenheath Fen

  • All quiet?

    After the excitement of some of our first migrants arriving, including sand martins, swallows and chiffchaffs, it seems that in the dull weather today, that everything has gone quiet. Even the seemingly omnipresent chiffchaffs have either passed through or just stopped singing. However, if you look carefully, there is still plenty to see.

    A peregrine was seen from Joist Fen viewpoint yesterday afternoon, interacting with the local marsh harriers. Our bitterns seem to be finally finding their voices, and some fully booming has now been heard. The latest count indicates that there may be as many of four grunting/ booming males. As the sun was out yesterday afternoon, we were starting to count bearded tit territories. We were slightly concerned that they may have been affected by the cold weather in November & December. However, there seemed to be plenty around in New Fen North (the 1st area of reedbed) which is a great sign.

    The next migrants that we can expect to arrive here are garganeys (they are much later than last year), sedge warblers and blackcaps. We may even get small numbers of yellow wagtails passing through from the first week of April onwards and who knows, we may even get a passing osprey flying along the river Little Ouse! As ever, we will keep you up to date with sightings as and when they occur! 


  • A pleasant surprise

    On Saturday afternoon, there were plenty of interesting birds to see on the reserve. Marsh harriers were wheeling around in front of Joist Fen viewpoint, and several males were displaying at close quarters. A bittern had a brief flight across the channel in front of the viewpoint, and a mixed group of hirundines flew over. This consisted of mainly sand martins, along with small numbers of swallows and even one house martin.

    Just as we were about to lock up at 5pm, we were treated to the awesome sight of a red kite flying very low east over the visitor centre. This was an unexpected treat at the end of the day, as these birds are still pretty rare in these parts. A few more swallows moved through yesterday, and there seemed to be even more chiffchaffs present.

    A bittern was heard producing almost a full boom, and the red kite was again reported flying along the riverbank beyond Joist Fen viewpoint. A kingfisher was in New Fen North, and a little egret was on the washland. Who knows what will turn up next?


  • Its raining chiffchaffs!

    I've been in the North Pennines all week, and apart from a wheatear near Hadrians Wall on Thursday, summer migrants were notable by their absence, and I didn't see a single chiffchaff. However, as I headed further south yesterday, I started hearing that characteristic two-tone song. I heard singing birds at RSPB Old Moor and in Clumber Park.

    I arrived back in Suffolk early this morning, and was treated to the sound of one singing its heart out right in the centre of Lakenheath village. As I got to the reserve, these charming little warblers were everywhere, both singing and flitting around the bushes near the riverbank. A sand martin was also whizzing around over the washland, which was nice to see.

    There has been plenty of crane activity over the last week, so a trip down to Joist Fen viewpoint could be worthwhile. As Steve reported, we now have three grunting male bitterns, so this may lead to more frequent sightings of these elusive birds. Several marsh harriers can be seen floating over the reedbeds, and bearded tits are still being seen regularly.