Lakenheath Fen

Lakenheath Fen

Lakenheath Fen
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Lakenheath Fen

  • 26 May recent sightings: Creepy crawly country!

    Good morning. I will begin with some photographs that I took on Sunday morning.

    Common stretch-spider

    Drinker moth caterpillar

    Furrow orb spider:

    Cercopis vulnerata

    I will start off where I left off on Sunday. A lucky visitor saw four bitterns flying together from Joist Fen viewpoint. There were also three garganeys on the washland, two drakes and a duck.

    There were also plenty of invertebrates on the wing. This included several freshly emerged scarce chasers alongside Trial Wood and several broad bodied chasers near New Fen viewpoint. 

    As the day went on, a common buzzard was hunting over the car park. A scarce species of fly, thought to be conops vesicularis, was seen in the vegetation near the Washland viewpoint.

    A young song thrush was on the entrance track on Monday morning and a marsh harrier flew over the visitor centre pond. I came down for a walk in the evening and saw a bittern over New Fen North, the first area of reedbed. A mistle thrush also flew into the same area.

    On Tuesday, a turtle dove was seen near Wilton Bridge, which is where the riverbank Public Footpath meets the main road. A lucky visitor saw seven bitterns display flying together from Joist Fen viewpoint and there were also at least 12 hobbys feeding overhead. 

    Suzanne and I did our Common Bird Census (CBC) around Brandon Fen this morning. We disturbed a roe deer and saw a female barn owl hunting over the grazing marsh. A common buzzard was circling over the car park and at least two cuckoos kept flying around.

    There were plenty of signs of breeding activity. We saw a Cetti’s warbler carrying food near the Washland viewpoint and a kingfisher whizzing across the grazing marsh with a fish.

    Meanwhile, further down the reserve, a female garganey was seen from New Fen viewpoint along with a bittern. There were also good numbers of swifts feeding aerobatically over the reserve.

    As I haven’t been here much this week, I have unfortunately missed most of the excitement of dragonflies and damselflies emerging from the pond raised bed outside the visitor centre. However, I got lucky this morning and took this photo of an emperor dragonfly about to emerge:

    Image credits: David White

    If you have been following our blog posts regularly, you will know that the great tits in our visitor centre have chicks. They now have five chicks which should hopefully fledge on around 5 June. Why not come and watch their comings and goings from the comfort of our visitor centre?

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

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • 22 May recent sightings: Incoming!

    Good morning. It’s a lovely sunny morning so here are some more recent sightings. As it is a nice day, hopefully the local hobbys will be performing like they were when these pictures were taken on Thursday 12 May:

     

    Image credits: Phil Hacker

    Thank you very much to Phil for sharing these great images with us.

    I will start off where I left off on Friday. A short eared owl was seen north of the river and two common buzzards were circling over the visitor centre. Three bitterns were seen display flying from Joist Fen viewpoint and a single crane was seen in flight.

    As the day went on, at least 17 hobbys were hunting over the far end of the reserve. There were also plenty of dragonflies and damselflies on the wing. This included our first records of the year of banded demoiselle and scarce chaser.

    I went for a walk before work yesterday morning and I saw a cuckoo in Brandon Fen. A male marsh harrier was hunting over the washland and two tatty drake garganeys were dabbling in the pool north of East Wood. As I walked towards New Fen viewpoint, I spotted a glow worm larvae in the vegetation alongside the path.

    As the day went on, a single crane was showing well from Joist Fen viewpoint along with a water rail. There were at least 12 hobbys hunting overhead and closer to the visitor centre, a female garganey was seen in flight from the river into New Fen North.

    In the afternoon, some very bizarre bittern activity was reported from New Fen viewpoint: Two birds were having a bit of a squabble in front of the viewpoint and then they took flight. Suddenly, the higher bird of the two defecated on the other one. Disgusting! I have never heard of this behaviour below and to be honest, I feel bad for the bird on the receiving end of this “unexpected” surprise!

    I walked down to Joist Fen viewpoint before work this morning and there were cuckoos everywhere! I saw at least five different birds. Two bearded tits were showing well just east of Joist Fen viewpoint and two marsh harriers performed a food pass near Mere Hide.

    As I walked back towards the visitor centre, a bittern flew over my head (and thankfully for me didn’t defecate at that particular moment!) and it landed just east of Joist Fen viewpoint. There were also garden warblers singing in Trial Wood and East Wood.

    Just before I go, I just have space to say that the pair of great tits in our nestbox with a camera in it now have at least four chicks! They can currently be viewed from the comfort of the visitor centre.

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

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • 20 May recent sightings: Cuckoo central

    Good morning. There has been plenty going on here over the last couple of days but I will begin with some images that have been taken here over the last week or so:

    Male orange tip

    Two cranes in flight:

    Image credits: Dave Rogers

    Male marsh harrier

    Hobby:

    Swift

    Image credits: Matt Walton

    Thank you very much to Dave and Matt for sharing these great images with us.

    I will start of where I left off on Wednesday. It was a bit crazy in the office in the morning so Katherine took me out on the reserve for 10 minutes to show me a couple of things. She showed me a water vole feeding horde near the visitor centre and the sad sight of a dead coot. The coot was absolutely crawling with burying beetles, which are known as the undertakers of the insect world. 

    I went up to the Washland viewpoint at lunchtime and saw at least 75 swifts feeding over the large pool. I also saw a smart rhombic leatherbug near the viewpoint. 

    Suzanne and I did our Common Bird Census (CBC) in Brandon Fen yesterday morning. We heard a nightingale singing by Wilton Bridge and a smart buck roe deer on the riverbank. We also saw two collared doves, which are a tricky species to see here. 

    I led a guided walk around the reserve later on in the morning and we saw two cuckoos from New Fen viewpoint. We found a large drinker moth caterpillar alongside West Wood and at least three bearded tits were showing well just east of Joist Fen viewpoint. 

    At the viewpoint, at least 12 hobbys were feeding overhead along with a couple of marsh harriers. We could also hear at least three different bitterns booming.

     As we walked back through the reserve, I spotted a smart female hairy dragonfly perched up near the track to Mere Hide. When we got to the eastern edge of Trial Wood, we were treated to the unprecedented sight of a grasshopper warbler reeling right out in the open which was a real treat. Just before we got back to the visitor centre, some visitors pointed out four common lizards that were basking at the edge of the fen pools. 

    I walked around the reserve this morning and there were cuckoos everywhere! I saw and heard at least five individuals. A turtle dove also flew south over the visitor centre.

    There were plenty of invertebrates around alongside Trial Wood including a nursery web spider, a blue tailed damselfly and an azure damselfly. I also saw a freshly emerged damselfly, which was most likely to be a variable damselfly

    Katherine did her Common Bird Census (CBC) in East Wood and she was lucky enough to see a tawny owl. She also saw cercopis vulnerata (the froghopper that produces cuckoo spit) and a green carpet.

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