Trip reports

Coach outing to Lackford Lakes (Suffolk Wildlife Trust) and Lakenheath Fen (RSPB) 28 April 2019

Coach outing to Lackford Lakes (Suffolk Wildlife Trust) and Lakenheath Fen (RSPB) 28 April 2019
Aidan Shaw

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

We arrived at Lackford Lakes at around 9:30 am and as soon as we stepped off the coach we were serenaded with the song of a Nightingale singing from the scrub which surrounds the car park. I heard another five singing Nightingales around the reserve and there have been reports of up to eight being heard.

We headed to the visitor centre where we were met by the very friendly and helpful staff and volunteers of the Suffolk Wildlife Trust. The trust have built artificial banks for the Kingfishers to nest in and we were rewarded with excellent views of a pair darting in and out of the nest hole with food for the hungry chicks. The feeding station here also provided good views of Siskin, Marsh Tit and Great Spotted Woodpecker.

As we walked around the reserve the birds were in full song, especially abundant were Blackcap along with Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Sedge Warbler.

As the winter visiting wildfowl have now left for the breeding grounds the lakes were relatively quiet with Mallard, Tufted and Shoveler ducks along with Little and Great Crested Grebes seen.

The weather was a bit too cold for butterflies however I did manage to find five Orange-tip Butterfly eggs on the Garlic Mustard which lined the pathways.

Other notable flora found included Town Hall Clock (Moschatel) so called because the plant has flowers facing out in four directions like the four faces of a town clock, a very small green plant with green flowers made for a painstaking search but we eventually found it (photo attached). Also seen were Spring Beauty, Meadow Saxifrage and Common Stalk's-Bill.

Our next stop was the RSPB's reserve at Lakenheath Fen. The weather was now starting to warm up as we headed towards the visitor centre and the excellent array of pin badges.

We headed out on the main path towards joist fen viewpoint. Along the way Marsh Harriers were seen included a very striking male hunting over the reedbed. Sedge, Reed and Cetti's Warbler were singing along with Reed Bunting and Goldfinch.

We arrived at joist fen viewpoint and waited patiently for one of the star birds of this reserve the Bittern. Scanning across the reedbed through my scope I could see at least fifteen Hobby hunting at the far end accompanied by five Marsh Harriers. The Hobby refueling after their long migration north from Africa. Swallow, Sand and House Martin were seen hunting low over the scrapes.

After about 20 minutes as I scanned the reedbed through my binoculars a large brown bird arose from the reeds about half way across the reedbed in front of me and began to fly low over the reeds. I put the shout out 'Bittern flying right!' and everyone managed to get on the bird before it disappeared from view.

We returned to the coach and departed after a very successful days outing.

Thanks to the members of staff and volunteers at both reserves for accommodating us and thanks to the organisers of the trip.

Aidan Shaw