Good afternoon. We have now reached the mad month of May! There has been plenty to see recently so here are some more sightings for you:

Although our cranes have been relatively quiet for most of the week, at least three individuals were seen in flight yesterday. They were actually seen over New Fen North, the first area of reedbed, which is relatively unusual for this time of year. 

We did our last early morning bittern listen yesterday morning and despite the early morning mist....

Image credit: David White

...We still heard up to 11 booming males which is a great count for here. I was stationed on the south west corner of New Fen North and saw four bittern flights while I was in position. I then went and joined volunteers Kim and Caroline at Joist Fen viewpoint, and we saw another bird in flight. 

We now have a short gap until we start our nest watching events, which are called: A close encounter with bitterns and marsh harriers. These start on Tuesday 21 May, and will take place every Tuesday until 25 June. Unlike the bittern booming listens, which started at 5.30am, these start at the more civilised time of 7.30am! They are slightly longer and will finish at approximately 12.30pm. Please click here for more information. 

Whilst on the subject of marsh harriers, are local birds are continuing to show well and regular visitor Martin Peake photographed this smart male on Friday:

Bearded tits are continuing to show from time to time and several were calling near Mere Hide yesterday morning. Listen out for their distinctive pinging calls on sunny and still days.

Numbers of aerobatic hobbys are gradually building up and at least 29 were feeding over Joist Fen viewpoint yesterday afternoon. Here is a picture of one from Friday:

Image credit: Martin Peake

Thank you very much to Martin for sharing these lovely images with us. 

New Fen South, the newly cut area between Mere Hide and Joist Fen viewpoint is continuing to be full of interesting birds. Up to four garganeys are feeding in there at present and three great white egrets were in there this morning. Good numbers of redshanks can also be heard displaying in there at present.

Grasshopper warblers have been heard reeling in 10 different locations on the reserve over the last couple of days.  Please ask in the visitor centre on arrival for the best places to listen for these reclusive little birds.

At least four male cuckoos are present and they are being seen regularly around the poplar woods. Swifts have been passing through in reasonable numbers and a common sandpiper flew along the river this morning. 

Numbers of dragonflies and damselflies are gradually increasing and our first four spotted chaser of the year was seen this morning. Good numbers of hairy dragonflies are now on the wing along with reasonable numbers of large red damselflies

If you are planning to visit the reserve, please note that there are currently cattle grazing on the riverbank Public Footpath.

We hope to see you soon!