Lakenheath Fen

Lakenheath Fen

Lakenheath Fen
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Lakenheath Fen

  • 2 May recent sightings: Hello Stanley!

    Good morning. I will start off with some exciting news: Stanley the cuckoo has been on the reserve recently! If you are not familiar with Stanley, he is one of the cuckoos that has been satellite tagged by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO). You can find out more about his movements by following this link

    I will start off where I left off with some sightings from Friday. I went for a walk around Brandon Fen first thing to try to hear the turtle dove that was present the previous day. Although I didn’t hear it, I did see it make a brief flight over the poplars. I was very pleased to find a nightingale singing near the eastern end of the Public Footpath, very close to the junction with the main round.

    As I walked along the riverbank, I saw my first swift of the year over the washland and there were four common terns feeding in front of the Washland viewpoint. Meanwhile, further down the reserve, a whimbrel flew west along the river and at least 60 swifts were over Joist Fen viewpoint.

    As the day went on, stoats were seen near the car park and alongside Trial Wood.  A muntjac deer was seen alongside Trial Wood and a green veined white was seen alongside East Wood. The turtle dove was also heard calling in Brandon Fen.

    There was plenty to see on Saturday morning. A short eared owl was seen from Joist Fen viewpoint and two whinchats were reported on the riverbank in the same area. A single crane was seen from the viewpoint and at least eight hobbys were hunting overhead. A yellow wagtail also flew over.

    Meanwhile, closer to the visitor centre, the nightingale was singing in Brandon Fen along with a garden warbler. A greenshank also flew west over the Washland viewpoint. Local photographer Dave Capps also took these photos of a sedge warbler:

    Thank you very much to Dave for sharing these great pictures with us.

    There weren’t many reports yesterday but a red kite flew over the reserve which was the highlight of the day.

    I had a walk around Brandon Fen this morning and the nightingale was in full song near Wilton Bridge. There was a notable increase in the amount of reed warblers singing and two cuckoos were singing near New Fen viewpoint. Two bitterns were also booming near the viewpoint.

    As the morning has gone on, a willow warbler was singing near the visitor centre and a bittern made a long flight over the Washland viewpoint.

    There is plenty to see at the moment so why not come and visit? We hope to see you soon!







  • 28 April recent sightings: Just "Purrfect"

    Good afternoon. There have been some interesting sightings on the reserve over the last couple of days so here is an update for you. There were plenty of cuckoos around on Tuesday afternoon and Site Manager Dave saw a single crane flying from south of the railway line into Humphrey’s Paddock, the grazing marsh just west of Joist Fen viewpoint.

    It was a chilly start to the day yesterday morning but there were plenty of grasshopper warblers reeling on the reserve. I heard one around halfway along the riverbank in Brandon Fen. Katherine, Dave and Emma were also doing their respective Common Bird Census’ (CBC). Emma and Dave’s patches overlap slightly so they both saw a grasshopper warbler reeling out in the open at the western edge of Trial Wood.

    As the day went on, two collared doves flew over the visitor centre (surprisingly, a difficult species to find here!) and Suzanne saw the grasshopper warbler in Brandon Fen.

    It was a cold but bright start to the day today and there were some interesting birds out and about first thing. This included a short eared owl over the washland and our first turtle dove of the year. The turtle dove was heard “purring” at the eastern edge of Brandon Fen, not far from the road bridge. A group of three black tailed godwits also flew over the washland, which is an unseasonal record here.

    I went for a walk when I got in and saw a presumably newly arrived grasshopper warbler reeling out in the open at the top of the steps onto the riverbank near the big willow. As I walked along the riverbank, there were two common terns over the washland and the reedbeds were just alive with the songs of reed warblers, sedge warblers, common whitethroats and Cetti’s warblers.

    As I walked from the stile towards New Fen viewpoint, a blackcap was singing out in the open at the edge of East Wood. A bittern was booming in New Fen North and a male marsh harrier was hunting over the reedbed.

    As I walked back through the reserve a chiffchaff was singing out in the open near the Fen pools and a green woodpecker was calling in East Wood. We have had our office window open this morning and a song thrush was belting out it’s exuberant song in the staff car park. A brambling was also singing it’s much more subdued song at the edge of the visitor car park.

    Several hobbys were seen from Joist Fen viewpoint in amongst the swifts mid-morning and a bittern was seen from Mere Hide. A single crane was seen from Joist Fen viewpoint and several bearded tits were seen near Mere Hide.

    I will leave you with the up to date “birding map” for the reserve:


    I have also attached the up to date first migrant list for this year.

    There is plenty to see at the moment so why not come and visit? We hope to see you soon!






  • 26 April recent sightings: Arctic blast

    Good morning. It is pretty chilly this morning so I will begin with some photos that were taken in more hospitable conditions.

    A bittern from Mere Hide on 6 April:

    Image credits: Ian Saggers

    Thank you very much to Ian for sharing this great picture with us.

    A couple of mine from 17 April:

    Image credits: David White

    There were plenty of cuckoos around on Saturday and four were seen together at one point. A short eared owl was over the washland and a bittern was seen from Mere Hide. I went up to the Washland viewpoint after lunch and was pleased to find a holly blue butterfly on the wing.

    As the day went on, three cranes were seen from Joist Fen viewpoint and three garganeys were seen on the washland north of New Fen north. At least four common terns were also feeding over the washland.

    It was a pleasant start to the day on Sunday and I went for a walk before work. I saw my first cuckoo of the year from the Washland viewpoint. A bittern flew across the large washland pool and two common sandpipers were feeding nearby.

    As I walked along the riverbank, a crane flew high over East Wood before disappearing north east towards Hockwold. I stopped briefly at New Fen viewpoint and heard a bittern booming. There were also at least three marsh harriers hunting nearby.

    As the day went on, our first garden warbler of the year was heard near the visitor centre. Two greenshanks flew east along the river and three whimbrels flew south overhead.

    In the afternoon, a cuckoo was being mobbed by two bramblings in Trial Wood.  A hobby was hunting over the car park and a smart male brambling was showing well behind the visitor centre.

    Site Manager Dave was out and about on the reserve yesterday and he saw three swifts over the far end of the reserve. Suzanne walked around Brandon Fen yesterday lunchtime and heard a grasshopper warbler. She also saw a marsh harrier hunting over the grazing marsh.

    Suzanne and I did our forth Common Bird Census (CBC) around Brandon Fen this morning and it was really rather cold. We saw three roe deer and heard a cuckoo. There was also a grasshopper warbler reeling and the reserve was alive with the sound of Cetti’s warblers.

    I just have enough space to give you an update on out visitor centre nestbox. A turf war is ongoing between a pair of great tits and blue tits and somebody has now laid three eggs inside it. However, both sets of birds are still coming in and out so the situation is far from clear. Hopefully the eggs will be brooded by somebody soon!

    Also, one of the Highland cows in Brandon Fen calved yesterday evening. Mother and calf are both doing well and they can be seen in the grazing marsh near the car park.

    There is plenty to see at the moment so why not come and visit? We hope to see you soon!