Although it took a while for things to get going, we had a very enjoyable bat night last night. It seems that New Fen viewpoint was the place to be, with a noctule patrolling back and forth just after dark. There were also plenty of pipistrelles around. These were mostly common pipistrelles, which can be heard calling at around 45 kHz using a bat detector.

The local Daubenton’s bats were also out and about feeding low over the water. We heard one distantly from New Fen viewpoint and there was one much closer feeding over the visitor centre pond at the end of the walk. It was certainly worth staying up late for.

We also had a decent supporting cast of other wildlife over the course of the walk. Two hobbys were hunting in the half-light just before we reached East Wood. A tawny owl was calling in East Wood and a roe deer was barking south of the railway line as we walked back. The last surprise came when we got back to the visitor centre: A drinker moth was flying clumsily around our heads and even landed on some bodies’ shoulder at one point.

There was also plenty to see earlier on in the day with several bitterns flying around near Joist Fen viewpoint. Both families of three cranes were seen flying in from north of the river before landing deep in the reedbeds. Two kingfishers were seen from New Fen viewpoint and several small heath butterflies were fluttering around near the riverbank.

The sunshine this morning encouraged good numbers of butterflies out on the wing. This included two painted ladies near the visitor centre:

Photo credit: Chris Gomersall (

A comma was feeding near the staff car park and several small tortoiseshells were on the wing further down the reserve. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the morning came when a spotted flycatcher came and perched on the fence behind the bird feeders. Incredibly, this is the first time I have seen one of these lovely little birds on the reserve this year. What a treat!


We hope to see you soon.