Simon Evans, our local bird ringer was out on the reserve bright and early yesterday morning. He was so early in fact, that it wasn’t even fully light. Despite that, there were still one or two hobbys out and about feeing over the washland. You have to wonder what they were feeding on at this time of day. Is it bats? Is it moths? Who knows!
Simon also ringed a juvenile kingfisher, which is a good sign that they have nested in the area. He is heavily involved in the Suffolk barn owl project, and here is a photo of five fluffy bundles of joy that he ringed on the reserve in 2009:
Photograph by Katherine Puttick
He went to check on our resident pairs, and sadly one of the chicks was found dead in their nesting area. This still means that both pairs more than likely fledged four young each, which is especially good considering the cold winter.
Recent highlights have included a couple of late swifts feeding over the washland with three hobbys on Monday evening, and a couple of good bittern sightings. There was a report of all five cranes from Joist Fen viewpoint, which is a great sign that they have all returned from their recent wanderings.
According to the news this morning, today marks the end of summer. This also signifies that it is the beginning of my favourite season: autumn! If you are planning to visit the reserve in the next month or so, it is well worth talking a walk around the Brandon Fen family trail, as there is a lot of cover for migrants. Who knows, you may even find yourself a rarity?!
Here is a list of the moths that we trapped during our latest moth nigh on Friday August 26th:
The two species highlighted were first records for the reserve. Also of interest were two extremely inquisitive dor beetles and a serotine bat between the visitor centre and East Wood. This was our last moth night of the year, but watch this space for next year’s events listings shortly.
Are you passionate about wildlife? Do you enjoy a nice long run or walk? If your answer is yes, then why not join us for our annual run (and walk!) for wildlife on Sunday September 11th 11am. There will be courses of 2km, 5km and 10km. All of the proceeds will go towards the society’s work. Refreshments and goodie bags will be provided after the run.
All of the courses will be waymarked and will offer circular routes around the reserve. Part of the 10km route will go through areas of the reserve that are not open to the public, so they will offer a rare opportunity to visit these areas. There should be some interesting wildlife to see which could include bitterns, marsh harriers and even cranes.
There is a suggested donation of £10 per participant. Alternatively, you can sponser yourself and donate the proceeds to the RSPB. If you are interested in taking part, please ring 01842 863400 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. We will send you a registration form, some information about routes and a sponser form if required. We hope to see you there.
I had a pleasant surprise on Friday morning. I was opening the shutters at the back of the visitor centre and a water vole swam across the visitor centre pond. Lovely! Despite having a healthy population here, this is the first one that I have actually seen on the reserve for over two years. The closest I usually get is a very distinctive “plop” as one dives under water close by never to be seen again!
Continuing on the mammal theme, a stoat was seen on the path up to the washland viewpoint on Friday. Despite the wet weather earlier on in the day, there were a few bats around in the evening while the moth night was taking place. An unidentified species was the highlight, which was most likely to be a serotine, which is not recorded here very often these days.
Unfortunately, Sunday morning’s early morning walk was hampered by strong north westerly winds, and it was fairly quiet out on the reserve. However, we saw three marsh harriers over the reedbed and three turtle doves perched up on telegraph wires north of the river. There were also bearded tits pinging in various places, but they were keeping their heads down in the wind.
Later on in the day, three cranes were seen walking along the riverbank footpath beyond Joist Fen viewpoint. Although this might sound like an unusual place for them to be, this particular pair can sometimes be seen here, especially in March when they are displaying. At least three swifts were over the west end of the reserve, which is an unusually late record for this species.
A lot of our migrant birds will soon be thinking of leaving for warmer climates. If you would like to join us for a guided walk to look out for summer migrants, you may be interested in our Farewell to migrants guided walk on Sunday September 4th 8am-11am. This walk will focus on the Brandon Fen family trail and the poplar woods. The cost is adults £6, children £3 (RSPB/ Wildlife Explorer members half price). Booking is essential. To book, please ring 01842 863400 or e-mail email@example.com.
Please note that the moth night this evening is fully booked. Unfortunately, we can only accommodate those who have booked in advance. We are sorry for any inconvenience caused.