Here is the latest recent sightings blog post from April RSPB Ouse Fen.
March heralded the start of a delightful extended period of warm dry weather which brought out the butterflies and birdsong. Brimstones brought some colour to the rides at Needingworth, with peacocks and small tortoishells across the reserve. Brown hares boxed while roe and muntjac deer grazed.
The reedbeds were alive with ‘pinging’ bearded tits, ‘laughing’ little grebes and the deep ‘booms’ of secluded bittern activity. Six bitterns flying over the reedbeds in April was this Spring’s record, indicating that the habitat is becoming ever more favourable as it develops.
The wonderful sight of sky-dancing marsh harriers on Spring mornings also rewards an early rise. Our new Warden, Barry O’ Dowd joined us in March and was amazed by the birdlife activity on such a ‘new’ reserve. Hard to believe these reedbeds were arable fields just 10 years ago.
Migration was lively at Berry Fen, with some garganeys and a displaying flock of 33 ruffs joining the breeding lapwings and redshanks. Barleycroft Lake islands provided a welcome roost for 417 Icelandic black tailed godwits, stunning in their brick red summer plumage.
A pair of Mediterranean gulls joined over 300 pairs of nesting black headed gulls, soon to be joined by graceful common terns too. Red kites quartered overhead on a number of days and common buzzards are now very common in the area. Who would have expected this ‘bird of the west’ a few short years ago? A great white egret brought a tropical feel as it joined passage waders at the newest open water ‘lagoon’ at Ouse Fen.
May is in many ways the best month to visit the reserve, the warblers have all arrived are in full song, early nesting wildfowl are feeding young and the place is alive with activity. Anything can appear, so look out for unusual terns over the pools.
See our events listings on this page for forthcoming walks, booking is essential. The first is an evening walk on Wednesday 21 May from 6pm -8.30pm. We hope to see you soon!
Image credit: RSPB Ouse Fen staff & volunteers