August, 2012

Lakenheath Fen

Lakenheath Fen
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Lakenheath Fen

  • A cold start

    After almost four years of working in the Fens, you would have thought I would have got used to the extremes of temperature we experience in our strange little micro-climate. However, when I stepped out onto the reserve this morning I was greeted with a north-westerly wind. I can’t remember too many times in the past when I have had to wear a hat and gloves in August, but this morning was certainly one of them!

    I braved the cold just to make sure that yesterday’s strong winds hadn’t blown in anything unusual, especially lost seabirds. Alas, when I reached the washland viewpoint, all I could see was two little grebes (and how nice they were to!)

    The good news is that the wind is due to turn south-westerly over the weekend. This should make things considerably warmer and more like we like it to be at this time of year!  There were still a couple of signs of spring at the beginning of the week. Four late swifts were over the visitor centre on Monday and five turtle doves were seen from the riverbank on Tuesday.

    Our resident whooper swan with an injured wing has now moved to the second washland pool along with a group of mute swans. This area has been a hive of activity this week with at least three little egrets present. Also, some lucky visitors saw an otter swim across the pool on Tuesday afternoon. A common lizard was also basking on the riverbank nearby on the same day.

    We set the moth trap out on Wednesday in anticipation of the Wildlife Explorers summer club meeting the next day. Here are some photos of two of the highlights:

     Canary- shouldered thorn- Photo credit Katherine Puttick

    Light emerald- Photo credit Katherine Puttick


    We hope to see you soon!

  • Wonderful waders on the Ouse Washes

    Not for the first time and I am sure it won’t be the last, I found myself at another RSPB reserve on my day off yesterday. I spent a very pleasant morning with a colleague over at RSPB Ouse Washes and there was certainly plenty to see.

    I might as well be honest, the main reason we went was to see the glossy ibis that had been there for the last couple of days. If you are not familiar with this prehistoric looking bird, take a look at this:


    Photo credit- Mike Langman

    Sadly, the bird we saw was a juvenile so was not as glossy as this. However, it still provided an impressive sight as it strutted around elegantly in front of grose hide. Although it was elusive at times, it definitely fell into the category of “showing well” for most of our visit.

    There were plenty of other waders to appreciate. At least two common sandpipers kept us entertained as they bobbed around in front of the hide. They were feeding close to a group of snipes, which occasionally took exception to these noisy little fellows and chased them off (they came back soon though!).

    There were also several greenshanks present which pecked around in a very dainty fashion. Good numbers of ruffs were also present, which kept us on our toes because they were in a quite baffling array of plumages. Waders, eh?!

    We moved on to kingfisher hide and we eventually caught sight of a blue flash which showed where the hide got its name from! Although they took quite a lot of tracking down, we eventually found two curlew sandpipers. This is an unusual species inland at any time of year so these two were great to see.

    Our last port of call was Welches Dam Hide. Another kingfisher whizzed past and several yellow wagtails were hopping around in front of the hide. There was an impressive count of at least 18 little egrets which would have been unheard of as recently as 10 years ago.

    I hope this gives you an impression of what you might see at the Ouse Washes at this time of year. If you are interested in visiting the reserve, details can be found here.

  • Moth list Friday August 24

    For those of you that are interested I have attached our moth list from the moth night last Friday.