Lakenheath Fen

Lakenheath Fen

Lakenheath Fen
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Lakenheath Fen

  • 13 September recent sightings: Sun, fun(gi) & much, much more!

    Good evening. We have had a nice couple of days here at RSPB Lakenheath Fen so here is an update on what has been going on.

    I went for a walk around Brandon Fen yesterday morning and it was a lovely, sunny morning. The Brecks part of the reserve looked really rather autumnal:

    Image credit: David White

    There was plenty of activity over the washland with singles of green sandpiper and common snipe flying over. There were also six wigeons wheeling around overhead. I was at a meeting for most of the day but volunteer Lawrence headed out on the reserve in the afternoon. He spent some time up at the Washland viewpoint and saw two common buzzards, two hobbys and a kestrel. A bittern was also seen from New Fen viewpoint that evening. 

    I went for what turned out to be a very productive walk this morning and saw a female marsh harrier hunting over the washland. It flushed two common snipe as it flew towards the poplar woods. I also caught a fleeting glimpse of an otter just east of the Washland viewpoint which was a nice surprise. 

    While I walked through the curiously named "Field 5026" (which is between the visitor centre and East Wood by the way!), I spent some time watching a four-spot orb weaver spinning its web. Here it is suspended in the air, looking like it is floating:

    When Roy came in, he showed me this curious looking fungus that is growing at the edge of the car park:

    Image credit: David White

    After much head scratching, we decided that it was most likely to be a pestle puffball. However, if any of you don't agree, please comment below as we are not experts!

    While we were puzzling over it, a tiny goldcrest popped out right in front of us which was a treat. Roy then headed up to the Washland viewpoint where he had a great view of a hobby.

    The local kingfishers were showing well from New Fen viewpoint and three hobbys were circling over Brandon Fen at lunchtime.

    As the afternoon went on, Roy spotted at least seven common lizards near New Fen viewpoint and a grass snake behind the visitor centre. He also saw four sparrowhawks over East Wood and a lucky visitor saw presumably the same otter from this morning at New Fen viewpoint. 

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

  • 11 September recent sightings: Sunny September

    Good morning. I won't be here for most of the day tomorrow so this week, you get Friday's update earlier! 

    It definitely feels like autumn outside and reserve sightings have reflected that. There were at least three hobbys over the washland and Brandon Fen on Monday. Katherine did her first Wetland Birds Survey (WeBS count) of the autumn on Monday morning. Volunteer Mark also spend some time up at the Washland viewpoint in the evening and saw:

    He also saw a barn owl and two kingfishers.

    Local photographer Matt Walton was also around and took these lovely images:

    A long tailed tit:

    A water rail:

    Image credits: Matt Walton

    A bittern was seen from Joist Fen viewpoint on Tuesday and there were also several bearded tits showing nearby.

    There was plenty to see yesterday and Suzanne saw two hobbys over Brandon Fen. Nigel T headed down to Botany Bay, at the far end of the reserve. He saw a hobby over Joist Fen viewpoint and three common buzzards over West Wood. He also saw at least five bearded tits towards the far end of the reserve.

    It turned out to be a great day for bearded tits all over the reserve. Matt Walton spent some time in Mere Hide and got this cracking picture of a male:

    Image credit: Matt Walton

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

    I returned to work after another hectic couple of days away (I won't bore you with the details!) and went for a walk around Brandon Fen. The hybrid-black poplars on the reserve have been suffering from poplar rust since August but now they have started shedding their leaves. It was therefore a very "crunchy" walk along the ramp up to the riverbank. Although it made me very noisy to any rare birds that might be hiding nearby, it did make me feel very autumnal!

    A little egret was present on the large pool in front of the Washland viewpoint and several common snipe flew overhead. I also flushed a couple of meadow pipits as I walked along the riverbank. Meanwhile, further down the reserve, a bittern was seen in flight from New Fen viewpoint. 

    The weather forecast for the next couple of days is looking quite good so why not come and visit? We hope to see you soon! 

  • 7 September recent sightings: Plenty of signs of autumn

    Good morning. It turned out to be an interesting day here yesterday. Things started well when  a yellow wagtail flew over the visitor centre, calling as it went. A chiffchaff was also singing in the car park, which was nice to hear. 

    I went for a walk around the interior path of New Fen North, the first area of reedbed. This path is only ever open in the winter months, so it was good to reacquaint myself with it. I saw lots of garden spiders along the riverbank and a four-spot orb weaver by the stile 

    As I walked around the reedbed, I found this shaggy ink cap by the path:

    Image credit: David White

    A kingfisher shot low over the reedbed and several bearded tits were "pinging" in the south west corner of the trail. A treecreeper was also calling in West Wood.

    As I walked back past East Wood, I found this lovely female common darter perched on one of my seasonal interpretation signs:

    Image credit: David White

    Shortly after I got back to the visitor centre, I got a phone call from Simon, our local bird ringer saying that he had caught a female sparrowhawk in one of his mist nets. I went and had a look and took some rubbish photos of it (I will spare you all of them this morning!)

    Simon and Lee reported a green sandpiper over Brandon Fen earlier on in the day and a brown argus on the wing at the edge of the car park. Lee also spotted a blood vein moth resting in the long grass.

    We had a pleasant surprise at lunchtime when a yellow wagtail perched up on a willow bush at the edge of the visitor centre pond. This was a very welcome "visitor centre window tick" for me! One lucky individual came back reporting a male goosander on the river near Joist Fen viewpoint which is a very early record for this species on the reserve. 

    Meanwhile, further down the reserve, bitterns were seen from both viewpoints and Mere Hide over the course of the day. There were also at least five bearded tits and three kingfishers showing in front of Mere Hide.

    There were at least three hobbys showing from the Washland viewpoint and a yellowhammer was a nice surprise on the riverbank north of East Wood. There were also plenty of butterflies on the wing, with plenty of commas, speckled woods and red admirals around Trial Wood, the second poplar plantation. 

    The weather forecast for the coming week is pretty good so why not come and visit? We hope to see you soon!