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 email@example.com. We hope to see you soon.
Please note that the barn owl walk tomorrow (Sunday November 20) is FULLY BOOKED. Unfortunately, we can only accommodate those who have booked places in advance. We are sorry for any inconvenience caused.
After some great wildlife was seen earlier on in the week here at Lakenheath Fen, the last few days have been almost as good! The short eared owl seems to have become a regular feature hunting over the washland late in the afternoons. Nigel, one of our volunteers and Suzanne, our administrator had a great view of it on Thursday evening. It was sat on the Norfolk bank of the river, glaring imperiously around with its startling yellow eyes. It seems to be appearing from around 3.30pm onwards, so it is well worth looking out for it.
Also on Thursday afternoon, I saw three cranes fly in from north of the river and land in one of their favoured areas of grazing marsh. Two bitterns flew in front of Joist Fen viewpoint, included one that seemed to be heading directly towards us at one point! A male merlin was shooting around just before dusk. Despite the fact it was around the same size of a mistle thrush, it was really pelting around the sky!
On Friday, an otter was seen fishing on the pool in front of New Fen viewpoint. It was even seen catching a fish! Several marsh harriers and the odd bittern were also seen. The short eared owl appeared again regular as clockwork over the washland and there were also two barn owls hunting nearby. A female merlin was seen in the same area, which proves that we have at least two birds in the area at the moment.
A green sandpiper flew over Joist Fen viewpoint late in the afternoon, calling loudly as it went. A grey wagtail was also nearby amongst some of the local pied wagtails. Just as it was getting dark, I could hear splashing in the pool behind Joist Fen viewpoint. Hoping that it was an otter, I creeped in that direction to try and find the culprit. It turned out to be a kingfisher, which flew off over my head into the darkness. Oh well, it was great to see anyway!