• Highlights from this week at RSPB Lakenheath Fen

    Welcome to this week’s blog, and to start with here is a selection of the moths we caught in the trap last night. We had another specimen each of marbled clover and tawny wave, which are both specialities of the local area. Marbled clover caterpillars feed on the flowers and unripe seeds of a variety of plants which grow well in the Brecks, such as white campion, common toadflax and red clover. Tawny wave is classified…

    • 7 Aug 2020
  • News and sightings from Lakenheath Fen - 1st August 2020

    This week has been a brilliant one for butterflies and dragonflies, who love the hot weather, even if we don't always! Our commonest butterflies this week have included red admiral and peacock, gliding across paths and visiting hemp agrimony and buddleia- their favourite flowers here. Closer to the ground on the viper's bugloss, which is coming to the end of it's flowering period, small skipper, Essex ski…

    • 1 Aug 2020
  • The highlights from a superb week!

    Hello to all and welcome to our latest blog. We have had a busy week here implementing changes to how to work to bring back more of what we used to do here at the reserve prior to lockdown. The changes start inside the building- now we have had our coffee machine recommissioned, we can offer the full range of coffee, teas and hot chocolate as we used to do, plus cold drinks (bottled water and Breckland Orchard Posh Pop…

    • 17 Jul 2020
  • Calling all volunteers!

    Hello and welcome to our latest blog- usually these are all about sightings but today we need to ask for help in another way. Since we reopened about a month ago, we have installed a Welcome Point at the side of the Visitor Centre to welcome visitors to the reserve in a COVID-secure way. We keep a mobile reserve map, sightings board and a volunteer or staff member is always there during our opening hours of 9am to 5pm…

    • 10 Jul 2020
  • A week of waders at RSPB Lakenheath Fen!

    Hello to all of our supporters, old and new, and welcome to the latest blog from Lakenheath Fen! This week the view from the Washland has been spectacular, with a wide variety of different wading birds recorded, and this is all down to it being the breeding season. While a few of the species up there- avocet, redshank and lapwing- have bred with us this year, there are a few 'extras' making cameo appearances for a few…

    • 3 Jul 2020
  • Activities for little explorers to Lakenheath Fen!

    Families that visit us regularly at the reserve will be familiar with our usual activities on offer for children- we usually hire out activity backpacks, spotter sheets, bug hunting and pond dipping kits, as well as having a table of indoor crafts for rainy days. However, with the hygiene restrictions due to COVID-19 we sadly can't do this at the moment. So, we have come up with a range of activities children can do around…

    • 27 Jun 2020
  • A week of butterflies and dragonflies at Lakenheath Fen

    On the back of a couple of very hot days here, our butterfly and dragonfly lists for the year have risen dramatically. Now we are up to 16 species of butterfly:


    Orange tip

    Common blue

    Brown argus

    Small copper

    Small white

    Large white

    Small skipper

    Large skipper

    Meadow brown

    Ringlet (25 June)

    Painted lady

    Small tortoiseshell

    Red admiral



    And the following 15 species of dragonfly:

    Common blue dams…

    • 26 Jun 2020
  • An update on our wildlife at Lakenheath Fen!

    Welcome to the first sightings blog in a very long time- it is lovely to be able to write again about what wildlife we have on the reserve at the moment and what you should be able to see if you visit us. During the lockdown, our knowledge of what the wildlife were up to was very limited. But, in the past week it has been clear that the reserve is packed with wildlife who have been making the most of having the reserve…

    • 5 Jun 2020
  • The re-opening of RSPB Lakenheath Fen!

    After a long time without any blogging from the team here at Lakenheath Fen, it is an absolute pleasure to be writing it once again! One of our wardens, Emma, and I are now back from furlough, joining our Site Manager Dave and our administrator Suzanne. Over the past couple of weeks we have been working hard and working together to get things ready for opening today.  This blog will describe in detail what we are able…

    • 5 Jun 2020
  • Bank Holiday weekend - the reserve remains closed

    With the Bank Holiday approaching, we would like to remind everyone that the reserve remains closed to visitors at the moment and our events are postponed. 

    It is with great sadness that we ask you to continue to refrain from visiting us, but we will only re-open when it can be done safely for our visitors, staff, volunteers and wildlife. Keep an eye on here for updates. 

    Discover a whole host of ways we can help connect…

    • 23 May 2020
  • Easter - the reserve remains closed

    With Easter approaching, we would like to remind everyone that in line with clear instructions from the Government for us all to remain at home (apart from a limited number of allowed activities), the reserve remains closed to visitors until further notice and our events are postponed.

    It is with great sadness that we ask people to continue to refrain from visiting us, but we must play our part to help restrict the…

    • 10 Apr 2020
  • 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!


    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