The bearded tit flock has become increasingly reliable with as many as 50 individuals together, viewable mainly from Sandy Wall. These are absolutely fantastic to watch at relatively close quarters and a large proportion of them are the attractively marked males with their big black ‘moustaches’ (not beards!).
Kingfishers have been seen regularly from all hides throughout the week.
Bittern sightings have been steady throughout the week, the 08.15 fly by at Fen Hide appears to be fairly reliable, so if you have never seen a bittern before I recommend getting to Fen Hide for 8am and waiting! On Friday a bittern was also seen flying in from a height, which could well have been a migrant bird coming to spend the winter with us.
The tit flocks around the woodland and scrubby areas now contain a decent number of goldcrests, marsh tits, treecreeper and other more standard species.
Marsh harriers have become scarcer in recent weeks as they have largely disappeared to hunt the arable land further afield, however there are certainly five to ten birds being seen with some regularity. A large number of birds have been tagged this year so ensure that any tags that have been read are reported to reception and added to the tag list in our folder.
Buckenham Marshes are beginning to have the more wintery feel to them, with the pink footed geese increasing in number, seven barnacle geese, two white fronted geese, 1 little stint, two avocet, seven dunlin, nine ruff and fifteen snipe. It is still a little early for wigeon to be building in number, we will expect the first flocks once the weather turns a little colder….this northerly wind may well help them along the way.
Migrant hawkers are the most frequently observed medium sized dragonfly, with common darters and willow emeralds still on the wing along with the last few brown hawkers patrolling the ditches.
The Fen Hide viewpoints have been cut to allow an increased chance of interesting observations, I have also put a new kingfisher perch closer to the hide and carried out some minor landscaping in the hope of attracting snipe and jack snipe to be viewable.
The reserve flooded on Tuesday and we are expecting more high tides today (Friday) and most probably throughout the weekend too. These predicted high tides have been made worse by the northerly wind, I expect the riverbank to Tower Hide and the Lackford Run to have closures throughout the period, so please pay attention to the tide tables, reception volunteers and the signage around the reserve. The woodland trail via Fen Hide should remain open throughout.
If you approach the reserve from the Norwich direction you will encounter some pretty major roadworks underneath the railway bridge in Brundall. The road is currently closed and not scheduled to re-open until 6 December. So the signposted diversion will take you around Lingwood and Strumpshaw, before arriving at the fen. If you are planning to get here for a certain time and are coming from the west I recommend leaving 10 minutes earlier than planned.