December, 2011

Lakenheath Fen

Lakenheath Fen
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Lakenheath Fen

  • Christmas opening times and things to look forward to in the New Year

    Its time for my last blog post of the year and before I continue, I would like to thank you all for reading my blog. I hope you have enjoyed reading them as much as I have enjoyed writing them.


    Yesterday was a damp and drizzly day, but those who braved the weather saw a bittern in New Fen North, the first area of reedbed. A Tornado swept through the reserve at lunchtime, but fortunately it was the steam engine on the way from Basingstoke-Norwich.


    While we were waiting for the train, there were some bearded tits pinging behind the visitor centre. We have also put up some new feeders in that area so hopefully this will provide closer views of the “usual suspects” plus reed buntings; great spotted woodpeckers and perhaps even bramblings.


    As Christmas is almost upon us, here are our opening times for the festive period: The reserve will be open at all times. The visitor centre will be closed from Christmas Day until New Years Eve and will reopen on New Years Day. The toilets will be open December 28-31.


    Thinking ahead to the New Year, there will be a Stepping Up for the New Year event on Sunday January 1 2012. The idea will be very simple: in exchange for sharing you New Years resolutions for wildlife with us and adding them to our display, you will receive a FREE hot drink and a biscuit. We hope to see you there.


    If you have visited the reserve recently, you may know that we will be running a Stepping up For Nature photography competition in 2012. There will be five categories in total. They will be: “people and wildlife”, “something completely different”, “a real rarity”, “lovely landscapes” and “beautiful botany”. All photographs must be taken on the reserve but so hopefully these categories should provide some ideas of what to aim for.


     The competition will begin on Sunday January 1 and will run for the entire year. This will give budding photographers plenty of opportunities to get out on the reserve and take some wonderful pictures. If you would like more information, please ring 01842 863400 or e-mail


    All that remains is to wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the team at RSPB Lakenheath Fen.

  • Caught in a WeB

    You may or may not know that once a month in winter, there is a nationwide wetland birds survey or WeBs count that take place on nature reserves across Britain. It was the last WeBs count of the year yesterday and here were the results:


    Mallard: 230

    Wigeon: 5

    Teal: 45

    Gadwall: 16

    Coot: 24

    Mute swan: 96

    Tufted duck- 1


    Whooper swan- 1

    Black headed gull: 93

    Lesser black backed gull: 24

    Herring gull: 5

    Common gull: 2

    Lapwing: 326


    There was also a co-ordinated marsh harrier count and between 21 to 26 birds roosted on the reserve. This is an amazing count and it’s good to know that these birds are doing so well nowadays.


    One bird in particular is very interesting, as it has green wing tags. We have just received some background about the bird from the BTO and it is a juvenile male that was tagged at Sculthorpe Moor nature reserve near Fakenham on June 10 2011. It is amazing to know that it has travelled so far (around 45 miles to be exact.) It will be well worth looking out for this bird on the reserve.


     Keeping on the raptor theme a short eared owl was over the washland yesterday afternoon along with two barn owls. There was a good roost count of corn buntings as 15 flew over the washland viewpoint at a similar time.


    Elsewhere on the reserve, a water rail has been making regular “smash and grab” visits to the area below the visitor centre feeders recently. Reed buntings and lesser redpolls have also been visiting the feeders at the back of the visitor centre.


    The visitor centre will be open until Christmas Eve so why not come and give us a visit? After your walk you can warm up in the visitor centre with a hot drink. Merry Christmas from the RSPB.

  • Stuck with ideas for Christmas gifts?

    Are you struggling to think of a Christmas gift to get somebody? Would you like to find a gift that lasts? If your answer is yes to both, then read on. If the receiver has a garden or at least some hanging baskets, how about some plant seeds? They are cheap, can be found in most garden centres and grow into wonderful plants!


    They are also your opportunity to encourage others to Step Up For Nature! If you are not familiar with this phrase it relates to the RSPB’s new campaign, Stepping up For Nature, which will run until 2020. The campaign aims to encourage everybody to do just a bit more to help wildlife.


    The steps you take don’t have to be large, and encouraging others to plant some seeds as a Christmas present is just one thing you do. You will be hearing a lot more about this new campaign over the next year or so, so watch this space! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the team at RSPB Lakenheath Fen!