I have just been trawling through my e-mails and have come across these wonderful photographs that were taken by local photographer Joe Rolph:
A short eared owl north of the river showing its tiny ear tufts from which it gets it’s name
The same shortie showing it's bright yellow eyes
A bittern in front of one of the viewpoints on the reserve.
A tawny owl and a green woodpecker having a disagreement in nearby Hockwold in August.
Many thanks to Joe for sending these over.
It has certainly been rather breezy over the last couple of days. However, not everything has blown away and there is still plenty of good wildlife to see. The seven cranes were still present on Friday and were keeping us all guessing by splitting themselves into a four and a three.......
Luckily, several photos were taken of them allowing us to have a go at identifying them. It seems that the four consisted of “our” family from this year plus another bird. The three seemed to be our other pair, “Little and Large” along with another struggler.......
Whether these other two interlopers are Tiny and Ginger Nut, our young cranes from 2009 and 2010 respectively or different birds is anyone’s guess. However you see it though, it is great to have so many birds on the reserve.
Also on Friday, a ringtail hen harrier was seen from Joist Fen viewpoint. Two short eared owls were hunting over the riverbank late in the afternoon. Close inspection revealed that one bird is very dark and the other is much paler. They were also taking exception to eachother and were frequently seen squabbling over the best areas to hunt!
Whilst performing a routine trail check yesterday, one of my volunteers was lucky enough to see an otter dashing across the path in front of them in New Fen North (the first area of reedbed.) A bittern was also seen flying low over the reedbed. Elsewhere on the reserve, a female merlin was seen perched in West Wood and four whooper swans were feeding north of the river.
Later in the day, I went up to the washland with two of my volunteers to try and see the short eared owls. However, the birds didn’t show, perhaps because of the strong wind. While we were waiting, six whooper swans landed on the washland pool in front of us which was lovely to see. A single drake pintail was flying around with a flock of shovelers and a water pipit flew overhead. Although it was rather cold, this provided a great end to the day!
It has been another action packed week here at Lakenheath Fen. Starting on an unseasonably warm Saturday, despite it being November 19, there were still some dragonflies around. This included plenty of ruddy darters and one or two migrant hawkers.
There were five redshanks on the washland along with the usual suspect gull species. A bittern was seen at Joist Fen viewpoint along with two cranes, that were circling over the viewpoint. In total 17 corn buntings flew over the viewpoint and a common buzzard drifted overhead.
The regular short eared owl that had been gracing the washland for much of the past week was joined by another bird on Saturday evening. This boded well for my barn owl walk on Sunday. Ironically, we had much better views of short eared owls (there were two once again) than we did off barn owl. The barn owl made a cameo appearance as it drifted low over Brandon Fen into the mist of the night.
As well as the short eared owl, there were also three goosanders on the washland on Monday. A black tailed godwit also made an appearance on Wednesday, along with 7 redshanks. A barn owl also made an appearance on the same evening.
It seems that crane numbers are building up once again, as there were seven present yesterday (Thursday). This included “our” five plus two additional interlopers so who knows where they came from. We have some photos so hopefully we will be able to share them with you all soon. Watch this space!
The short eared owl has just been seen again this afternoon over the washland. It seems to be appearing from around 3pm onwards, so if you would like to see this beautiful owl with staring yellow eyes, now is the time to come! If you get any photographs of it even better! Please e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope to see you soon.