Well, it has been a fantastic weekend if I may say so myself. I had the pleasure of leading the “long walk” today and also did a rece yesterday. The star performers have undoubtedly been the cranes. There may have been as many as ten birds present over the course of the weekend.
We saw four during our rece yesterday. The family of three that we currently know as “little, large & their youngster” were in Humphreys Paddock before flying off further down the reserve. We also saw a single bird in flight further down, which was actually standing on the hard track until we disturbed it.
If this was good, today’s walk was awesome! The birds were keeping us guessing though. Our first sighting of them came just beyond viewpoint when three adults flew in from north of the river. Quite where these birds came from is anybodies’ guess and the local birds seemed to take exception to them as a furious bugling match ensued. The three eventually flew over very high to the north...........
Shortly after, one of the families flew in from the north and landed at the west end of the reserve. As they flew in, further bugling nearby indicated that the other family were also present somewhere in the reedbed. Our last crane sighting came while we were standing right at the west end of the reserve, as three flew over the reedbed and landed north to the river. Phew!
There was also plenty of other things to see. Over the course of the walk today, we saw three bittern flights, including one that flew right alongside us offering a great view of it. We also saw three juvenile bearded tits at very close quarters, which was a real treat.
A juvenile cuckoo entertained us south of Joist Fen viewpoint by perching in a bush at very close quarters. A green sandpiper flew over nearby and a hobby was over the west end of the reserve.
There were plenty of invertebrates out enjoying the sun. This included large numbers of brown hawkers and one or two fresh migrant hawkers. Two Silver Y moths were also on the wing at the west end of the reserve.
I will leave you with a photograph of one of my favourite plants that we encountered at the west end of the reserve:
Photo credit: Roger Horton
Its large-flowered hemp nettle and it can be found at various places on the reserve at the moment. We hope to see you soon.
Please note that the long walk on Sunday July 29 is FULLY BOOKED. We can only accommodate those who have booked places in advance. We are very sorry for any inconvenience caused.
Summer has well and truly been here at Lakenheath Fen this week. I will begin by sharing some great photos that were taken by Allan King during the week:
Barn owl & kestrel having a ding- dong
Three cranes in flight
A juvenile cuckoo
The lovely weather began in earnest on Sunday and a bittern was seen in flight from Joist Fen viewpoint. A hobby was also feeding close to the viewpoint. The first emperor dragonflies were also on the wing, with two zipping around imperiously near East Wood. There were also plenty of black tailed skimmers around.
The cranes have been particularly active this week, presumably showing their respective youngsters the best places to feed on and around the reserve. Three were seen from Joist Fen viewpoint on Monday. A kingfisher was seen in a similar area and around 50 lapwings flew over.
I came down later on in the evening and saw the “other” three cranes fly in from north of the river. They flew right over Joist Fen viewpoint, which was a real treat. A bittern also flew right over the viewpoint and flew the entire length of the reedbed in front of me before dropping down right at the western end of the reserve.
A juvenile cuckoo kept perching on bushes near the viewpoint and a green sandpiper flew over somewhere nearby. A grasshopper warbler was also reeling at the western edge of Trial Wood.
Our ex-Site Manager came down early on Wednesday and saw all seven cranes over the course of the morning. He also saw at least three bittern flights. A female/ 1st summer male golden oriole was in West Wood with perhaps another calling nearby.
Yesterday morning, a grasshopper warbler was reeling near the visitor centre and a green sandpiper flew over. At least three common terns were fishing in the reserve pools and there were plenty of bearded tits out and about enjoying the sunshine.
A charm of ten goldfinches flew over and two weasels were chasing eachother around near East Wood. A hobby was also hunting very high over Trial Wood. Lets hope the weather stays lovely and we hope to see you soon.