In the first of a new series of monthly blogs we are going to run in 2022, here is a short summary of the bird highlights at Fen Drayton Lakes during January.

The first month of a new year is always an exciting time for birdwatchers as they start a new year list and get out for some fresh air after the Christmas festivities. The standout species was the continuing flock of Smew which peaked at 10 birds on 10th. Their favoured hang-out has been Drayton Lagoon but smaller numbers have been seen on Moore Lake and Ferry Lagoon at times. Pintail have been few and far between this winter but three were on Moore Lake on 4th. A pair of Little Owls are in mature trees out on Middle Fen, at a new location for the species. A pair of Green Sandpipers were on Moore Lake on 19th and have also been seen just off the reserve at Springhill. The first Redshank of the year was back on 19th. Lapwings peaked at 410 on 10th and a good count of Snipe - 27 was had at Far Fen Pond. Small numbers of Redpoll and Siskin have been seen in the alders and a single Brambling was along the entrance road mid-month.

The generally mild weather meant counts of ducks, gulls and starlings were low but a cold snap in February could change all that.