• Beautiful Blackcaps on Your Local Patch!

    The lovely warm weather of today is forecast to continue into next week, and on your daily exercise walks and in your gardens, the song of a new bird will soon be joining the others (such as blackbird, robin and goldfinch)… and it is the blackcap!

    This small warbler is a bit of a Jekyll-and-Hyde in terms of its habits- while we have over 900,000 pairs breeding in the UK each summer, thousands now also overwinter…

    • 4 Apr 2020
  • What to look out for- Brilliant Bee-flies!

    In the first blog since our full (but temporary) closure of Lakenheath Fen, I thought it would be nice to shine a spotlight on some of the highlights of spring that we not only will have at Lakenheath; but also what you can see out and about on your daily ‘exercise’ walks in your local area. I hope these are an interesting read and allow five minutes of escapism for our blog followers- and also something to look out for…

    • 26 Mar 2020
  • Our response to COVID-19 at Lakenheath Fen

    Following the latest government advice we have made the difficult decision to close the reserve completely for the foreseeable future- our entrance gate at the roadside will be locked from 25th March onwards. This is to prioritise the health and welfare of our staff, volunteers and visitors.

    These are difficult and unsettling times for all of us but we hope that nature can provide a welcome respite in whichever form and…

    • 19 Mar 2020
  • 'Chiffy' and his friends- early Spring at Lakenheath Fen

    Our first chiffchaff of the spring was heard on the morning of 8 March, singing outside the Visitor Centre, and this really was the crowning glory on what has been a very spring-like week with warm sunny weather on several days, several sightings of bumblebees and early spring flowers popping up along paths and rides. We had another ‘chiffy’ calling outside the Visitor Centre on Tuesday morning (10th). This…

    • 13 Mar 2020
  • Bittern Booming and Nesting Surveys (March to June 2020)

    As we are at the beginning of March, it is only a couple of weeks before we begin our surveys here at Lakenheath Fen to try and count ‘booming’ bitterns (through late March and into April) and then bittern nests (during May and June). The results from these surveys really help us to assess, at the end of the breeding season, how well we have done as a reserve in creating a home for bitterns- the priority species the reserve…

    • 5 Mar 2020
  • A hint of spring... and all the news from Lakenheath Fen!

    I ought to start with the sensible stuff- and let you all know that if you are travelling to us from the Ely direction there is a road closure which might be relevant- it is the Highbridge Gravel Drove / Newman’s Drove / Farthing’s Drove road between the Mildenhall Road (A1101) and the B1112 that runs from south to north through Lakenheath village and up to the reserve (see below).

    The closure is in place…

    • 27 Feb 2020
  • A week of more snakes than ladders... but here's our sightings!

    Welcome to the latest blog! After a rough start to the week, where our workshop was burgled overnight, the wildlife at the reserve has kept us all sane and reminded us of the good things in life- it has been a week which has seen more and more spring-like activity; more birds seen in pairs and behaviour you'd expect at the very start of the breeding season. Due to the strong winds we have had to close the reserve today…

    • 9 Feb 2020
  • Cranes, cranes and more cranes... Spring is on it's way!

    This week has given visitors almost daily sightings of cranes on the reserve, especially in the afternoons, with Joist Fen being the most reliable place to stop and look for them. Today,  approximately eighteen were seen by Cat on the track beyond Joist Fen, and this follows a count of seventeen by our previous Site Manager Norman in Hockwold, the village just north of Lakenheath- so it looks the same group that is fairly…

    • 31 Jan 2020
  • 23 January 2020 - What's about at Lakenheath Fen!

    On Sunday we had our second 'Ghosts of the Fens' walk and a few of those on the walk did manage to see a barn owl- hunting over Brandon Fen in the late evening. This seems to be the most reliable spot for these at the moment and 'the mound' is a good place to stand and watch for them. The mound, for those who are unfamiliar with it, is a raised grassy hump in the visitor picnic area, marked by a bench, where you…

    • 23 Jan 2020
  • 16 January- the latest from Lakenheath Fen!

    We are now up to 63 species for 2020 so far, with the latest being almost the smallest- the wren. Sparrowhawk, treecreeper, great spotted woodpecker, yellowhammer, barn owl and brambling are new ones too.

    Lately our cranes have been showing very well, and two pairs were seen earlier today flying in and out of Joist Fen South by our Thursday work party. This is just one of the highlights of venturing down the reserve at…

    • 16 Jan 2020
  • New Year's Day at Lakenheath- 57 bird species and counting!

    • It’s the first day of the year and since this morning we have counted 57 birds within the boundaries of Lakenheath Fen! They are, in rough order of appearance:
    1. Mallard (on the VC pond!)
    2. Blue tit
    3. Great tit
    4. Black-headed gull
    5. Shoveler
    6. Gadwall
    7. Blackbird
    8. Dunnock
    9. Coot
    10. Robin
    11. Goldfinch
    12. Reed bunting (several of these hoovering up spilt seed under the feeders at the V.C!)
    13. Collared dove (doing the same as the reed buntings…
    • 1 Jan 2020
  • Reserve update 19th December 2019

    We have had a good week of sightings here at Lakenheath, with one visitor counting twenty seven marsh harriers flying in to roost at Joist Fen on 18th December. Watching this roost build up is a real highlight at the reserve at the moment with the possibility of seeing a merlin or a peregrine at this time of day too- which are often attracted by concentrations of roosting small birds such as reed buntings or tits, and…

    • 19 Dec 2019
  • Road closure on the Wangford Road- and a bit about wildlife too!

    Hello!

    This is just a quick blog to let any potential visitors to our site between now and Sunday 8th December, that the Wangford Road is closed to traffic- see the image below. This closure will affect any attendees for our Ghosts of the Fens walk this Sunday (1 December) at 14:00.

      Photo credit: Google Maps; Wangford Road (red marker)

    There are still several routes into the reserve:

    -Coming from the south, the Fiveways…

    • 28 Nov 2019
  • The latest from Lakenheath- birds of prey, whooper swans and plenty of little birds too!

    Activity on the reserve this week has really brought to our attention the presence of a lot of birds of prey- thanks to our Raptor Spectacular event on last Sunday (17 November). So many pairs of eyes scanning the reedbeds produced a count of seventeen marsh harriers. A male peregrine and male merlin have been seen hunting at dusk too, likely preying on smaller birds such as reed buntings or starlings that are coming…

    • 22 Nov 2019
  • The latest from Lakenheath- harriers at dusk are a highlight

    This week on the reserve has been another wet one, but a lucky couple of visitors yesterday (15 November) saw two marsh harriers and a bittern down at Joist Fen, along with four great white egrets. A visitor today (16 November has reported four bearded tits from this area too, so keep an ear open if you venture down the western end of the reserve for their ‘pinging’ calls coming from the reedbeds. And one of our volunteers…

    • 16 Nov 2019
  • The latest from Lakenheath- birds of prey, fly agarics and house sparrows!

    This week has been quite a cold one which seems to have brought further redwing and fieldfare into the reserve, and these could be seen anywhere with berry bushes, especially hawthorn. Siskin numbers are increasing too, and are becoming a commoner sight on the seed feeders at the Visitor Centre. Here is a good spot also to look for reed bunting (often on the tray underneath), chaffinch, marsh tit and great spotted woo…

    • 10 Nov 2019
  • An update on the reserve- what we've been up to and what the birds have been up to!

    This week on the reserve we have had a large influx of fieldfare- yesterday (31 October) a flock of around 300 flew overhead whilst I fed the birds, and there are plenty of redwing on site too. A lot of these birds are passing through but in the coming weeks they should settle on the reserve more and become easier to see in berry bushes. Siskin numbers are building too, and at the moment they tend to be mixed in with…

    • 1 Nov 2019
  • Whooper swans and solar panels!

    This past week on the reserve has seen a rise in the number of whooper swans on the reserve- on 22 October we had over 200 recorded on the Washland in the early morning. These seem to be leaving at about 09:30ish in the morning, having flown into roost after dark the evening before, to feed on farmland in the local area. They are joined on the water by increasing number of teal (forty three recorded on 19 October, wi…

    • 24 Oct 2019
  • A week of birds coming and going and fungi growing…

    Now we are well into autumn we have good numbers of redwing on the reserve, and they especially like hawthorn bushes at the moment. Brandon Fen family trail is a good spot to look for these, but anywhere with berry bushes is giving sightings. One of our regular visitors found our first fieldfare of the season mixed in with some redwing down near New Fen, on 17 October. This day also gave us our first water pipit (on the…

    • 19 Oct 2019
  • Race for Wildlife 2019 results!

    Hello all,

    Firstly I wanted to thank all those that took part in our Race today for participating. The weather was a bit bleak at times but it was heartening to see so many of you turn up to 'race for wildlife' despite this. I hope it has been enjoyable for each of you, that it has given you some happy memories and that you might think about returning to us next year. In between eating leftover cake (i'm not sure i'll…

    • 13 Oct 2019
  • Finches, fungi and fish-eating birds

    This past week on the reserve has seen an appearance of our elusive cranes- a visitor saw three flying together over Trial Wood on 9 October. Because they are so tricky to see at the moment, it’s unclear whether this is our breeding pair and their mature youngster or not, and we are waiting for a positive ID! Norman Sills used to be our site manager here and knows the cranes individually, by sight, and regularly visits…

    • 12 Oct 2019
  • Migration is well underway at Lakenheath!

    This week has seen a few interesting migrants passing through or stopping off on the reserve. On 2 October we had our first redwing flying over, making their distinctive ‘seep seep’ calls as they went. Our work party counted around forty-six and I saw a further twelve at lunchtime. Leaving after dark on the same day I could hear more, somewhere way up above me in the black sky. In fact 2 October was a good day…

    • 5 Oct 2019
  • Lakenheath's Race for Wildlife 2019- the details!

    Our main fundraising event of the year- our Race for Wildlife- is now just ten days away on the 13 October and we are getting everything ready for the big day! Our warden Emma has been out spray-painting 1km markers along the routes and preparing our plastic-free water station! There are so many little jobs that need doing ahead of the event but it’s something we all love as there is such a lovely atmosphere on the day…

    • 3 Oct 2019
  • Globe-trotting egrets and a spadger- 29 September 2019

    Yesterday a beautiful cattle egret graced us with his/her presence on the Washland- spotted by one of our regular visitors and enjoyed by several more once word got out. These birds have an amazing history- in the 20th Century they expanded their range so rapidly- from being found just in southern Spain, Portugal and tropical areas of Africa and Asia, to colonising the Americas (where is it believed they flew of their…

    • 29 Sep 2019
  • Early autumn on the reserve

    Hello! We have had an interesting week here at the reserve, thanks in part to an exotic visitor in the moth trap on Sunday night- a big, beautiful, blue clifden nonpareil! It's an odd name which originates from the first British record coming from the Cliveden estate in Berkshire (in the 18th Century) and the French word 'nonpareil' means 'without equal'- a suggestion of how beautiful it is! It drew in crowds earlier…

    • 21 Sep 2019