Lakenheath Fen

Lakenheath Fen

Lakenheath Fen
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Lakenheath Fen

  • 27 November recent sightings: Lovely landscapes and record breaking redpolls

    Good afternoon. We have had an interesting week here. As ever, I will start where I left off on Tuesday when some visitors braved the wind and rain to see a bittern from Joist Fen viewpoint.

    It was a nice day on Wednesday and there was plenty to see. A water rail was seen at the edge of the visitor centre pond and 12 siskins were feeding in the alders next to the pool. Two great white egrets were seen from the Washland viewpoint and two kingfishers were seen near Joist Fen viewpoint.

    Our local bird ringer Simon Evans was ringing in Brandon Fen yesterday morning and he trapped and/or ringed a total of 118 lesser redpolls. This is not only a record for the site, but it is a personal record for Simon in this country, as he has never ringed over 100 lesser redpolls in a day anywhere on these fair shores! I have attached his full report to this blog post, just in case you are interested.

    As the day went on, volunteer Pete headed down to Joist Fen viewpoint. He saw 16 marsh harriers and a merlin from Joist Fen viewpoint. He also saw a barn owl alongside Trial Wood and a kingfisher on the washland.

    Meanwhile, closer to the visitor centre, Suzanne took these lovely pictures of the sunset over the visitor centre pond: 

    Image credits: Suzanne Harwood

    It has been a bit dull here today but it has been mainly dry so there have been a few people out and about. A great white egret has spent the day showing well in front of the Washland viewpoint.

    As the day has gone on, volunteers Roger and Roy have seen plenty from the visitor centre window. This has included a water rail, a kingfisher and a merlin that dashed over the pond at top speed.

    I eventually got out for a walk an hour or so ago and took these landscape pictures of the reserve (which are really rather grey and are not as good as Suzanne’s pictures from yesterday!):

    The River Little Ouse:

    The view from the Washland viewpoint:

    The visitor centre pond:

    Image credits: David White

    Although it was fairly quiet around Brandon Fen, I saw a mixed flock of redwings and fieldfares that were feeding in one of the tall poplars near the car park. A couple of meadow pipits also flew over.

    At the moment, the weather forecast for tomorrow is looking not to bad at all. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the weather forecast for Sunday! Please see this blog post for more information. Hopefully, it won’t be quite as windy as they are forecasting. We hope to see you soon. 


  • IMPORTANT: Please read if you are planning to visit the reserve this Sunday (29 November) and/ or you are booked on the Barn owl walks that afternoon.

    Good morning. Please note that due to the high winds that are forecasted on Sunday 29 November, certain parts of the reserve may not be accessible. This especially applies to the paths around the poplar woods. Please ring the reserve office on 01842 863400 or e-mail; for more information.

    Additionally, if you are booked on the barn owl walks on Sunday afternoon, a decision will be made at 9.30am tomorrow morning as to whether the walks will be going ahead. If we do decide to cancel the event, we will let those who have booked places know as soon as possible after that time. If you have any questions or queries about this, please feel free to contact us using the details listed above. 

  • 24 November recent sightings: When the winter winds are blowing chill....

    Good afternoon. Finally, we have had some cold weather! I escaped down to Dorset for the weekend this past weekend so thank you very much to Emma for here fantastic blog post from Sunday. If you haven’t read it yet, it can be found here

    A bittern swimming across the pool in front of Mere Hide:

    Image credits: Mali Halls

    Two otter cubs playing on the riverbank on Sunday morning:

    Image credit: Ian Gillies

    Thank you very much to Mali and Ian for sharing their great images with us.

    Mark, one of our volunteers went up to the Washland viewpoint yesterday afternoon and saw a good selection of birds. A great white egret was showing well in front of the viewpoint and two stonechats were showing well nearby. A marsh harrier and a common buzzard were also hunting in the same area.

    My morning walk was rained off this morning but I did catch a glimpse of a barn owl hunting in front of the visitor centre shortly after I arrived. Shortly after everybody else arrived, an otter appeared in the visitor centre pond and fished in full view for a couple of minutes. What a great start to the day!

    Simon, our local bird ringer spent some time in Brandon Fen this morning. He saw two bullfinches feeding near the visitor centre along with around 40 lesser redpolls.

    He also spent some time at the Washland viewpoint and he saw a large dog otter. He also saw a great white egret, at least 84 shovelers and two redshanks

    As the morning went on, two jays were feeding at the edge of the visitor centre pond which was nice to see. Dave and Suzanne headed down the reserve for a meeting. They saw a bittern and a common snipe at the far end of the reserve.

    I went for a walk around Brandon Fen at lunchtime. Despite the fact that it was raining, I saw a water pipit and a kingfisher so it was worth getting wet.

    I will leave you with a little bit of fun just to brighten up a dreary afternoon. We were one of only three RSPB reserves to receive Visit England’s Welcome Award last year. In recognition of this, we received the coveted Golden Gnome from colleagues at our regional office. As we are sharing the award with RSPB The Lodge nature reserve, they have had it for six months and now we have it for six months. I couldn’t resist sharing these two pictures:

    The Golden Gnome posing with me and me feeble attempt at a moustache:

    Image credit: Suzanne Harwood

    The Golden Gnome posing with a willow reindeer, that Warden Emma made to guard our Christmas tree:

    Image credit: David White

    Anyway, I think that’s quite enough of that nonsense for now! We hope to see you on the reserve soon!