October, 2011

Lakenheath Fen

Lakenheath Fen
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Lakenheath Fen

  • Bittern by the bug

    As promised, I have now been sent some wonderful pictures of the bittern that was strolling around in front of Joist Fen viewpoint on Friday morning. They were taken by local photographer Ken Clegg. Enjoy:


    What are you staring at?

    I can show off if I want to!

    Poised for the kill

    The bitterning posture

    That’s all folks!

    I am so jealous!

  • Hunting cranes at Lakenheath Fen by Richard Whiting

    This poem was very kindly sent to us from Richard Whiting from the poetry aloud group in Bury St Edmunds. Enjoy!


    The first crane we saw

    Was a grey heron;

    Masked, comic-book hero

    Shallows stalker, fish-eyed,

    Statue still.

    The next a bittern

    In rare flight

    Head curled back

    Like a lord

    Being driven to the races

    His pan-piping friends

    Left to their secrets.

    Between rattling trains

    We watched Marsh Harriers sky-dance

    Letting the earth race

    To meet them

    As they tumbled and fell

    Into the arms of love.

    Then, low over the reeds

    A cuckoo, heavy with egg

    Scouted for Warbler nests

    As foster homes

    In moments usually reserved

    For the small-screen

    During which all gatherings

    Of breath were suspended.

    In the old match-woods

    The fleeting sight

    Of a Golden Oriole

    Gold, black, exotic

    Fluting his enigmatic echoes

    Across this jungle of Suffolk.

    Night drops in veils;

    Two barn owls quarter

    The far fields

    Each ghosting across the grasslands

    Silent death

    To voles and shrews,

    Life for their nestlings

    Destined for days like these

    In the years to come.


    Ah, but no cranes!

    The car fills with memories

    Of all we have seen;

    The talk seeps through

    The windows and out

    Into the dark

    Fenland night

    Where, no doubt

    The cranes dance and stalk

    In secret celebration

    At another successful

    Undercover operation!

    But then, the joy

    Of all we have seen,

    And the joy

    Of what is yet to come.


  • Autumnal activity

    After the miserable day that was Thursday, the sunshine returned on Friday. That’s not to say that nothing was seen on Thursday though, as a bittern was lurking around near the visitor centre pond!


    Site staff have recently strimmed some areas near both viewpoints and also by the visitor centre pond, in the hope of making some of our reedbed specialities easier to see. We certainly haven’t been disappointed............


    On Friday morning, two of our locals were sat in the shelter at Joist Fen viewpoint, and were treated with the incredible sight of a bittern skulking around right in front of them in the newly strimmed area! This bird seemed to be comfortable with being watched and several cracking photos were taken of it. They will hopefully be sent to me, so watch this space!


    There were also plenty of bearded tits pinging nearby and hanging off of the reeds like little moustached trapeze artists. Several marsh harriers were hunting effortlessly nearby, obviously enjoying the morning sunshine.


    A kingfisher was seen from New Fen viewpoint later on in the day. This bird certainly seems to be a regular customer in that area at the moment! A mouse-like treecreeper was also seen in West Wood, which is a good record at this time of year.


    After almost a month of absence, “our” five cranes reappeared yesterday and were all seen from Joist Fen viewpoint. Who knows where they’ve been and we hope they stick around for a while! There was also a large flock of whooper swans feeding in the fields north of the river, so it is well worth looking out for them.