What a difference a day makes – beautiful hot weather yesterday, to heavy showers and a definite drop in temperature today! Whilst we’ve all been enjoying the summer sunshine, the rain was a welcome relief as the reserve is certainly in need of a little extra water!
The hot weather hasn’t put the wildlife off however and there’s plenty to report from the past few days. Kingfishers have been making some star appearances over the last week, both on the visitor centre pool and from New Fen viewpoint.
Myself, John and Roy were happily watching a kingfisher from the visitor centre yesterday morning when we witnessed a very strange sight – a very unhappy moorhen chasing the kingfisher around and away from the pool! Luckily, it didn’t seem to be put off by this and was back again throughout the day.
Thanks to Matt Walton for sharing this beautiful photo with us:
New Fen viewpoint has also proved to be the spot for bearded tits this week, with juveniles being seen from there over the last couple of days. They are proving to be slightly elusive, but a little patience has been rewarded with great views of these iconic birds;
Posing on the kingfisher perch! Image credit – David Capps
Sticking together. Image credit – Matt Walton
Bitterns have been regularly seen in flight from both viewpoints and also from Mere hide. The first juvenile marsh harriers of the season are now being seen from Joist Fen viewpoint and along the river bank. These very dark birds with orangey-red heads are often perched in willows within the reedbeds, as they start discover their full flying potential!
A pre-work walk for David on Friday produced two barn owls (one in Brandon Fen, the other over the washland), a song thrush singing in Brandon Fen, cuckoo and a skylark singing over the visitor centre.
Making the most of the sun yesterday I headed out to have a look for butterflies and whilst I didn’t record huge numbers I saw a good range including red admiral, comma, small tortoiseshell, meadow brown, large skipper and ringlet.
The warm weather is also perfect for moth trapping, though I’m glad I didn’t put the trap out Friday night with the spectacular storms we had! The forecast last night was much better; the trap went out near the visitor centre and recorded 21 different species including (there really are some brilliant moth names!) buff ermine, bright-line brown eye, brown-line bright eye, barred straw, ringed china mark, dark arches and light arches to name a few.
Dark Arches - Emma Cuthbertson
Brown-line bright eye - Emma Cuthbertson
Burnished brass - Emma Cuthbertson
Good morning. I mentioned in my blog post yesterday that the RAF's Red Arrows display team would be displaying over nearby RAF Feltwell tomorrow afternoon (Saturday 4 July). Sadly, the display has been cancelled due to a security alert. Please read this article for more information.
Good afternoon. It has been really rather warm recently, hasn’t it?! I will begin my posting some pictures that were taken here last Saturday, courtesy of Matt Walton:
Sunrise over the river:
An otter fishing in the river:
A barn owl hunting over the washland:
A flying bittern:
A four spotted chaser:
Image credits: Matt Walton
Thank you very much to Matt for sharing these great images with us.
A hobby was over the washland on Monday lunchtime and a common buzzard was overhead. Suzanne saw a stoat in Brandon Fen and three curlews flew over the visitor centre.
There were plenty of invertebrates on the wing including good numbers of meadow browns. Several Roesel’s bush crickets were buzzing away near the Washland viewpoint and lots of banded demoiselles were feeding over the river.
I went for a walk before work on Tuesday and saw two cuckoos in and around East Wood. A painted lady was on the wing on the riverbank and there were three species of skippers on the wing. This included several large skippers, lots of small skippers and one or two Essex skippers.
It was very warm yesterday but several people were out and about despite the extreme temperatures. A kingfisher was seen from New Fen viewpoint and several bittern flights were seen from Joist Fen viewpoint. A green sandpiper also flew over.
The little bittern was heard barking in New Fen North triangle. It’s great to know that it is still around!
I went for a walk before work this morning and a cuckoo was calling in East Wood. There were several male black tailed skimmers basking on the riverbank and a comma was posing alongside the Public Footpath.
An emperor dragonfly was patrolling the skies in front of New Fen viewpoint and a common tern flew over. A garden warbler was also singing in East Wood.
The reserve team have done a bittern survey this morning and volunteer Darren won the prize for the most amount of flights: 14 just west of Joist Fen viewpoint! A single crane also made a brief flight in the same area.
Emma was based down at the far end of the reserve and she was startled by a large grass snake that slithered across the path in front of her.
There is plenty to see at the moment so why not come and visit? We hope to see you soon.