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Recent sightings

  • 22 March 2015

    22 March recent sightings: How wonderful it is to see the sun!

    Good morning. Once the solar eclipse was over and the sun actually came out on Friday, it was a lovely day. Emma went down the reserve in the morning. She saw a great white egret and two cranes just west of Joist Fen viewpoint. She also heard two bitterns booming in the same area.

    I finally saw my first butterfly of the spring mid-morning when a red admiral was flying around in the staff car park. Emma and I went up to the washland at lunchtime and we had a splendid view of the male garganey up on the washland.

    In the afternoon, a stoat was dashing around at the edge of the visitor centre pond and an impressive count of 15 curlews flew over the visitor centre. Just as closed up, two shelducks flew over the visitor centre heading towards the washland.

    It wasn't very nice at all yesterday morning but several visitors braved the wind and the rain nonetheless. The female ferruginous duck was in the pool just behind Joist Fen viewpoint and eight whooper swans flew west over the viewpoint.

    There was also plenty on the washland. This included a high count of 278 teals, a female pintail, two shelducks and a dunlin. I dashed up there shortly after we opened and found the drake garganey cowering from the wind.

    Meanwhile, further down the reserve, a bittern was seen from Joist Fen viewpoint along with four cranes, which were feeding in Humphrey’s Paddock. Two stoats were seen along the hard track and a kingfisher was seen from Mere Hide. 

    It was a lovely morning this morning and I went out armed with my camera. Here are some of the pictures I took:

    Image credits: David White

    There was plenty to see including a good count of 11 little egrets on the washland along with two shelducks. A kingfisher was fishing in the river and a very vociferous oystercatcher was flying around the large pool. As I got down to New Fen viewpoint, I could hear a chiffchaff singing in Trial Wood.

    The weather forecast for the next couple of days isn't looking too bad so why not come and visit? We hope to see you soon! 

    Posted by David White

  • 20 March 2015

    20 March recent sightings: March winds

    Good morning. The weather has been a bit hit and miss this week but there has been plenty to see nonetheless. I begin with a few pictures from last weekend:

    A skulking water rail at the edge of the visitor centre pond:

    A redshank on the washland (alongside the remains of a large pike!):

    A pair of great crested grebes:

    A flock of little egrets in flight:

    Image credits: David Mackey

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

    There was a nice surprise on the washland on Sunday morning when I found a dunlin on the washland. This is the first record of this species on the reserve for a couple of years so it was great to see. Three common snipe were also present along with a great white egret and a water pipit. The drake garganey reappeared mid-morning in the same area mid-morning but remained elusive.

    I spent a good half an hour looking over the washland on Monday morning. The dunlin was still present along with a redshank. A bittern flew across the large pool and four common snipe were lurking at the edge of the pool.

    Meanwhile, further down the reserve, 41 whooper swans were feeding north of the river and the drake garganey on the washland. A colleague from another reserve counted 23 little egrets on the washland, which is a new reserve record.

    It rained for most of the day on Tuesday but there were two song thrushes singing defiantly in Brandon Fen. A chiffchaff was also calling in the same area.

    As I mentioned in my blog post on Tuesday, a chiffchaff was singing in Brandon Fen during the afternoon. A great white egret was also present on the washland.

    I was elsewhere for most of the morning on Wednesday but before I left, a redshank was displaying on the washland and a great white egret was showing well. A kingfisher was also perched up alongside the river.

    When I returned, I finally saw the drake garganey on the washland a coal tit was a nice surprise on the feeders in front of the visitor centre.

    I helped out with a bittern survey yesterday morning and although I didn't hear much (two booms in three hours!), I saw plenty. I was based at Joist Fen viewpoint and I saw two cranes and a nice long flight from a bittern. The female ferruginous duck was in the pool just behind the viewpoint and a sparrowhawk flew low over the viewpoint.

    I went for a little walk before the total eclipse this morning (which, from here, was monumentally disappointing if I may so myself as all that happened was that it got a bit colder!) The drake garganey was displaying on the washland and there were two dunlins feeding with a redshank.

    The weather forecast for this weekend isn't looking too bad so why not come and visit? We hope to see you soon!

     

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    Posted by David White

  • 14 March 2015

    14 March recent sightings: Good weather for ducks

    Good afternoon. Waterfowl have featured very prominently here over the last couple of days so the majority of today’s images are wetland themed:

    A group of Canada geese in flight:

    An action shot of a mute swan:

    A great white egret and a little egret:

    A group of curlews in flight:

    A hunting barn owl:

    Image credits: David Mackey

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

    I will start with an interesting ringing recovery. A Canada goose with a red neck collar (sporting the letters AHH) has been present on the washland recently. It was present at the British Trust for Ornithology’s headquarters at Nunnery Lakes in Thetford 10-15 July last year (where it was ringed). It was next seen at Pentney Gravel Pits in Norfolk 7 September before being seen here. It is always interesting to hear where these birds get to!

    There was plenty to see on Thursday and the visitor centre was a great place to be based. A female sparrowhawk was perched up at the edge of the pond and a peregrine flew over. A group of four curlews also flew over.

    Suzanne went up to the washland viewpoint at lunchtime and saw four bearded tits. She also saw a great white egret.

    It was a lovely day yesterday and there was some excitement when two garganeys were seen on the washland. These are our first definite summer migrants of the year. A female pintail was also present.

    Meanwhile, further down the reserve, a female red crested pochard was seen in flight over Joist Fen viewpoint along with five gadwalls. This is a very unusual sighting for here indeed.

    There were also several invertebrates on the wing. This included a peacock butterfly and a small tortoisehell alongside East Wood. 

    I had a quick look from the Washland viewpoint this morning and had good views of a kingfisher and a barn owl. At least nine little egrets present and a water pipit flew over.

    Meanwhile, further down the reserve, one of our regular visitors found a female ferruginous duck in the pool just behind Joist Fen viewpoint. This bird has been present for a while but this is the first time that it has strayed onto a part of the reserve that is visible from public paths (hence why I have not been able to mention it until now!)

    There were two green sandpipers on the washland north of West Wood and one of our pairs of cranes flew in to New Fen North, the first area of reedbed.

    As the day has gone on, two great white egrets were seen from Joist Fen viewpoint along with at least eight marsh harriers. There was a high count of 17 little egrets alongside the river and a drake garganey was eventually seen on the washland.

    The weather forecast for the next couple of days isn’t looking too bad so why not come and visit? We hope to see you soon!

     

     

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    Posted by David White

  • 12 March 2015

    12 March recent sightings: Its all about the mustelids

    Good morning. Members of the mustelid family (that includes stoats, weasels and also badgers) have featured quite prominently here at Lakenheath Fen this week. I will start with some pictures of the local stoats:

    Here are some pictures of the partially ermine individual:

    Image credits: Trev Tabram

    ...And here is a picture of a more summery looking individual leaping through the air:

    Image credit: Matt Walton

    There have also been plenty of other things to see, including this directionally challenged barn owl:

    ...And this large Canada goose:

    Image credits: David Gowing

    Thank you very much to Trev, Matt and David for sharing their great images with us! 

    I walked around Brandon Fen on Monday morning and saw a chiffchaff. Although it could have been a summer migrant, it may well have been one of the individuals that has overwintered on the reserve.

    Meanwhile, further down the reserve, volunteer Gill saw a bittern swimming across the pool on front of Joist Fen viewpoint. She also saw two great white egrets “interacting” on the washland.

    On Tuesday, Suzanne saw her first Lakenheath Fen kingfisher of the year at New Fen viewpoint. Volunteer Paul saw a great white egret and a bittern from the washland viewpoint.

    Katherine and Emma were working down at the far end of the reserve and they saw a small tortoiseshell butterfly on the wing. This is the first “spring” butterfly record of the year here, which is very exciting indeed! 

    I woke up early yesterday morning so I had a pleasant walk down to Joist Fen viewpoint before work. There were two great white egrets on the washland and just before I got to the western edge of West Wood, two cranes flew south over Joist Fen viewpoint, before landing south of the railway line.

    At least nine whooper swans flew north in front of Joist Fen viewpoint and a yellowhammer was singing near the viewpoint. A water rail scurried across the ditch in front of me and I flushed a common snipe near the track down to Mere Hide.

    There was a moment of drama outside the visitor centre later on in the day: A weasel almost caught a rabbit on the lawn in front of the visitor centre. The scene was soon attended by two magpies so it seems that the lucky rabbit lived to see another day!

    I went for a walk around Brandon Fen in the sunshine this morning and although it was fairly quiet, I heard at least three different treecreepers singing and a kingfisher on the washland.

    We hope to see you soon!

    .

    Posted by David White

  • 8 March 2015

    8 March recent sightings: Mid afternoon update

    Good afternoon. There has been so much going on this weekend that I thought I would do an update now. This gives me the chance to share some of the great pictures that have been taken over the weekend:

    A hunting barn owl:

    A great white egret in flight:

    Two pictures of “Little & Large”, one of our resident crane pairs:

    Image credits: Matt Walton

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

    Image credits: Matt Walton

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

    I will start with some late news from Friday evening. An ex-colleague of mine was down at Joist Fen viewpoint at dusk and was lucky enough to see an otter. He also saw a woodcock in flight. 

    Matt Walton, who took the pictures taken above yesterday morning, saw three barn owls hunting near New Fen viewpoint. He also saw a kingfisher fishing in front of the viewpoint.

    I went for a walk in the lunchtime sunshine and found plenty of coltsfoot in flower on the riverbank.  I witnessed a moment of drama on the washland: all of the ducks took flight, which in turn flushed a great white egret, which flushed a bittern! Quite what caused all of this fuss is any bodies guess, but I think it was an unseen otter. It’s just a shame that I didn't see it just to be sure!

    Meanwhile, further down the reserve, volunteers Roy and Emma saw two great white egrets from Joist Fen viewpoint along with five marsh harriers. They also saw an oystercatcher on the washland.

    I went for a walk this morning and although it was rather breezy, the sun was shining which was nice. Two mistle thrushes flew north over East Wood and two roe deer scampered alongside the railway line. 

    I walked back along the riverbank and had a good view of two great white egrets in flight. A marsh harrier was hunting over the washland and a kingfisher was calling nearby.

    Katherine, Emma and volunteer Paul did the last WeBs count of the winter this morning. Highlighting included two cranes, a redshank and a jack snipe that they saw on a part of the reserve that isn't open to the public.

    As I mentioned yesterday, B1 class steam locomotive “Mayflower” came past the reserve earlier on today on its way to Norwich. Here is a slightly wonky shot of it (my tripod was on uneven ground, that's my excuse!):

    Image credit: David White

    The weather forecast isn’t looking too bad for the coming week so why not come and visit? We hope to see you soon!

    Posted by David White

  • 7 March 2015

    7 March recent sightings: What, waders here?!

    Good morning. This reserve has never been well known for waders but they have been quite prevalent here this week (for us, anyway!)

     I will start where I left off on Tuesday. A great white egret flew over the visitor centre and there were four oystercatchers on the washland. Two common curlews flew over the visitor centre, which was a reserve year tick for most of the staff! Two whooper swans were also photographed on the washland.

    I went for a walk on Wednesday morning and saw a great white egret on the washland. I flushed seven meadow pipits from the riverbank and a barn owl was hunting in front of New Fen viewpoint.

    Meanwhile, further on down the reserve, all five cranes were seen from Joist Fen viewpoint and presumably the same partially ermine stoat that featured in my blog post from Tuesday was seen alongside Trial Wood. 

    I was working elsewhere for most of the day on Thursday but managed to sneak out for 10 minutes before I left. A great white egret was on the washland along with a whooper swan. A common curlew also flew over.

    There was a three way sing off between three species of thrushes near the visitor centre. This included a blackbird, a song thrush and a mistle thrush. This was great to hear!

    Later on in the day, Emma and some of the volunteers did a snipe count. They found at least 36 common snipe in Botany Bay and another six slightly closer to Joist Fen viewpoint. They also saw a bittern in flight from Joist Fen viewpoint.

    Volunteer Emma saw 10 common curlews on the washland yesterday. This may well be a reserve record! She also saw 21 lapwings over Brandon Fen.

    I saw nine roe deer alongside the entrance track as I drove in this morning and there was a muntjac deer feeding in East Wood. A great white egret was on the washland along with a shelduck, which was the first sighting of this species on the reserve this year. 

    I took two pictures which just about summed up the seasonality of the reserve:

    A mouldy giant puffball, symbolising that winter is almost over:

    Some alder catkins, symbolising that spring is on its way:

    Image credits: David White

    For all of you steam engine fans, you may be interested to hear that B1 class locomotive “Mayflower” is due past the reserve tomorrow just before Midday on its way to Norwich. Full timings can be found here

    We hope to see you soon!

    Posted by David White

  • 3 March 2015

    3 March recent sightings: A right old song and dance

    Good morning. We have had another great couple of days here. I will begin though with a picture I have not shared yet:

    A roe deer grazing alongside the entrance track:

    Image credit: Matt Walton

    Roy and Emma spent most of the day out on the reserve on Saturday. They saw two great white egrets on the washland along with three little egrets. They also saw a water pipit.

    There were at least eight marsh harriers hunting in front of Joist Fen viewpoint and a single barnacle goose was feeding alongside the river near the viewpoint. This is a very unusual bird for here indeed. Perhaps it was the same bird that was here in late 2012/ early 2013:

    Image credit: Dave Rogers

    The excitement didn't end there for Emma. As she was leaving, she saw two muntjac deer and four roe deer alongside the entrance track.

    Emma C (our new Warden) was in on Sunday and she saw a stoat alongside the Fen pools. Volunteers Roger and Janet went down the reserve and were lucky enough to see one of our resident pairs of cranes dancing in Humphrey's Paddock, the grazing marsh in front of Joist Fen viewpoint. 

    I went for a walk before work this morning. A hungry barn owl was hunting persistently over Brandon Fen and I saw it catch and eat a water shrew. A song thrush was also singing nearby. It was obviously a great mimic as I heard it doing impressions of a greenshank and a stone curlew. Clever bird!

    I spent some time up at the Washland viewpoint and a great white egret was right in front of the viewpoint. A water pipit was also showing well nearby.

    The weather forecast isn’t looking too bad for this week so why not come and visit? I will leave you with some pictures of a partially ermine stoat that were taken on the reserve recently. We hope to see you soon!:

     

    Image credits: David Mackey

    Oh, and thank you very much to Matt and David for sharing their great images with us!

    Posted by David White

  • 27 February 2015

    27 February recent sightings: So much to say, so little time!

    Good morning. This week has been great as there has just been so much to see! I will start with some photographs that have been taken in the last week:

    Firstly, we have these lovely images of a long tailed tit that were taken by eight year old Amber Wallis:

    Image credits: Amber Wallis

    Secondly, here are one of our resident pairs of cranes, Little and Large, coming into land in Humphrey’s Paddock:

    Image credit: Matt Walton

    Thirdly, here are two species of herons...

    A great white egret:

    ... And a bittern:

    Image credits: Ron Smith

    Thank you very much to Amber, Matt and Ron for sharing these wonderful images with us.

    I will start off by returning to Sunday. A red kite flew low over the visitor centre and a male sparrowhawk was perched at the edge of the visitor centre pond.

    Meanwhile, further down the reserve, four cranes were showing from Joist Fen viewpoint and a bittern was seen in flight. There were also at least five marsh harriers hunting in front of the viewpoint.

    On Monday, a pair of cranes flew over the visitor centre and there were 46 tufted ducks on the washland.

    On Tuesday, a red kite flew over the visitor centre and a common buzzard flew over Brandon Fen.

    As Dave mentioned in his blog post on Wednesday, everybody (apart from me) went down early to listen for bitterns. As well as the bitterns that Dave mentioned, Katherine was lucky enough to see two otters playing near New Fen viewpoint.

    Meanwhile, Suzanne was stationed at Joist Fen viewpoint. She saw at least 10 bearded tits and two barn owls. I popped down later on in the day and saw an oystercatcher on the washland just north of New Fen North. I saw a great white egret in flight heading north of Joist Fen viewpoint and a common buzzard was perched up close to the viewpoint.

    On the way back through the reserve, a cheeky stoat was squaring up to me on the hard track near Mere Hide and I was following a barn owl that was hunting between New Fen viewpoint and the visitor centre.

    I saw seven roe deer alongside the entrance track as drove in yesterday morning and a muntjac deer was skulking around in Brandon Fen. A barn owl was hunting over the grazing marsh and a great white egret was showing well in front of the Washland viewpoint. 

    Emma and I went down to listen for bitterns early this morning and we heard probably two birds booming west of Joist Fen viewpoint. I also saw two individual birds in flight.  One of the pairs of cranes flew over and seven whooper swans flew north across the river. Emma saw 51 lapwings in one of the areas of grazing marsh at the west end of the reserve.

    As you can see there is plenty to see on the reserve at the moment so why not come and visit? We hope to see you soon!

    Posted by David White

  • 21 February 2015

    21 February recent sightings: A bit of variety

    Good afternoon. I've got a busy day planned tomorrow so, slightly earlier than usual, here are some recent sightings.

    Suzanne went for a walk at lunchtime on Thursday and saw two great white egrets from New Fen viewpoint. She also saw a stonechat perched up on the riverbank.

    The reserve team were also busy building a willow fence between the path up to the washland and the pond dipping area. Here is the finished product:

    Image credits: Emma Greenacre

    It wasn't too bad a day yesterday and one of our regular visitors was lucky enough to see an otter from New Fen viewpoint. He also saw around a dozen redwings in Brandon Fen. 

    I came in early to do a radio interview for BBC Radio Suffolk this morning (at around 07.50 if you really want to listen to it by clicking on the link above!) I did my interview at the Washland viewpoint and I had a great view of a great white egret right in front of the viewpoint. There was also a song thrush belting out its song from Brandon Fen. 

    A coal tit was on the feeders in front of the visitor centre which was nice to see. I had a quick walk around Brandon Fen at lunchtime. A marsh tit was singing and a female marsh harrier was hunting over the washland. There were also at least 30 tufted ducks on the large washland pool, which is a good count for here.

    Meanwhile, further down the reserve, three cranes have been showing well from Joist Fen viewpoint for most of the day, although a telescope has been helpful as they have been fairly distant.

    This leads me neatly on to a few pictures of the cranes that were taken recently on the reserve:

     

    Image credits: Ron Smith
    Thank you very much to Ron and Emma for sharing these great images with us.
    The weather forecast isn’t looking too bad for the next couple of days so why not come and visit? We hope to see you soon!

    Posted by David White

Your sightings

Grid reference: TL7286 (+2km)

Water Rail (3)
25 Mar 2015
Cetti's Warbler (5)
25 Mar 2015
Kingfisher ()
22 Mar 2015
Little Owl (1)
20 Mar 2015
Egyptian Goose ()
25 Mar 2015
Gadwall ()
25 Mar 2015
Sparrowhawk ()
25 Mar 2015
Buzzard (4)
25 Mar 2015
Stock Dove ()
25 Mar 2015
Green Woodpecker ()
25 Mar 2015

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Where is it?

  • Lat/lng: 52.44839,0.53250
  • Postcode: IP27 9AD
  • Grid reference: TL722864
  • Nearest town: Brandon, Suffolk
  • County: Suffolk
  • Country: England

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