Trip reports

Coach trip to Lakenheath Fen, Suffolk

Coach trip to Lakenheath Fen, Suffolk
Bearded tit by Sally Douglas.

Sunday, 20 May 2018

This site was once farmed arable land and was purchased by the RSPB in 1995 and transformed into reedbeds and grazing marshes. The reserve concentrated on providing habitat for bitterns, the numbers of which had been reduced to very low levels during the 1970's and 80's. The reserve now has ten breeding pairs, more than the whole of the U.K. during the lowest breeding period. Reed warblers were only at four pairs in 1995, but rose to the current level of over 350 pairs. Marsh harriers bred in the newly created reedbeds for the first time on this site in 2002.

The Group visited on a very warm Sunday , with blue skies and little breeze. The first sound of the reserve is the sedge and reed warblers seen and heard at Fen pools. Also several reed buntings were seen, the males handsome with their black and white heads. New Fen viewpoint had a lovely great crested grebe, with three young stripy grebes riding on mum's back. Bearded tits were heard around the pools here and also some members had good views from the Mere hide.

At the Joist Fen viewpoint a bittern gave a great view , flying over the reedbeds and heading for the river area. Cuckoos were seen and heard all over the reserve, with a really good view of a female in the reeds near the Trial Wood viewpoint . Cetti's warbler and blackcaps were heard at several sites, marsh harriers were also seen flying over the reedbeds.

Returning back along the river bank footpath , with good views of the River Little Ouse, the group saw lapwings, oystercatchers, tufted duck and gadwall. Back around the Visitor Centre, common blue and green hairstreak butterflys were found on the gorse and birch trees at the enterance to the car park. In total 57 species were seen.

Report by Colin Strudwick.

20th May, 2018.