• 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
  • 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
  • Rare moth found at Lakenheath Fen!

    We've been regularly running the moth trap near the visitor centre, and yesterday we had a rare moth amongst all the more common ones.  The moth of the moment is Clifden Nonpariel, which has a large grey forewing and broad violet blue band across the hindwing.  It is an immigrant moth, probably from eastern Europe or Scandinavia.  Only a handful of these moths reach the UK each year, so we're really chuffed to see one…

    • 17 Sep 2019
  • Signs of change

    Following on from our yellow wagtails and green sandpipers of last week on the washland, we have seen another migrant pass through the reserve this week- our site manager Dave saw three wheatears on 3 September on Joist Fen South, and we are still seeing swallows and house martins in the skies above the reserve, with the odd hobby too. Yesterday a lunchtime walk rewarded me with a hobby, a kestrel and a little egret over…

    • 6 Sep 2019
  • Blog Part 2- Insect life on the reserve

    Aside from yesterday's birds, if you like your insects the reserve won’t disappoint either- we are bursting at the seams with migrant hawker, brown hawker and ruddy darter dragonflies. Common darter, red-eyed damselfly, common blue damselfly and southern hawker are plentiful too. The butterflies taking centre stage at the moment are the late summer specialists- red admirals and painted ladies, both of which are everywhere…

    • 31 Aug 2019
  • Hello everyone! Part 1- Bird life on the reserve

    This is my first blog post and the wildlife has been kind to me in giving me something to write about- what a week it has been for sightings. Some of our star species have been showing well and the reserve is sitting somewhere between late summer and early autumn now, with wildlife and sights from both seasons sharing the days, so it’s an interesting time to visit the reserve. There’s ripe berries and early fungi starting…

    • 30 Aug 2019
  • Migrants on the move

    It's been another quiet week for us here, with not a lot of sightings to report. 

    Keeping ahead of the rain clouds yesterday were small numbers of hirundines, including five swifts and a dozen or so house martins and swallows.  Also overhead were a group of four yellow wagtails.

    On the small wash beside Wilton Bridge (not on the reserve), there have been up to two green sandpipers, and single wood and common sandpipers…

    • 16 Aug 2019
  • Recent sightings 9th August – The calm before the storm!

    With the strong winds forecast for the weekend we’ve been making the most of the nice weather whilst we can, meaning this has been the first opportunity we’ve had to blog for a little while!

    It’s still a little quiet on the bird front, which is usual for this time of year, but we’ve still got plenty of sightings to report….

    A family of kingfishers have been showing off nicely in front of…

    • 9 Aug 2019
  • Big Wild Sleepout postponed until 3 August

    Due to the poor weather forecast for this weekend we've taken the decision to postpone the Big Wild Sleepout this weekend.  We decided that camping in thunderstorms and heavy rain would not be a very good idea!  We have, however, rearranged it for next Saturday 3 August.  We do now have spaces, so if you would like to experience Lakenheath Fen after dark, please contact the reserve direct on 01842 863400, or email lakenheath…

    • 26 Jul 2019
  • Insects galore!

    I'd just like to start by apologising for the lack of blogs since David left.  We are doing what we can, but please bear in mind, we are short staffed, and with lots to do out on the reserve, we just haven't had the time to do more of the blogging side of things.  David's replacement will start in mid August, when hopefully the blogs and recent sightings will be updated a bit more regularly!  Here's what's been…

    • 19 Jul 2019