Good afternoon. Apologies for the lack of updates recently, there has been a lot going on here recently.

Although the chilly north easterly breeze hasn’t helped, there has been plenty to see and some summer migrants are starting to arrive.

Our resident pair of cranes are present and if you are lucky, you may see a single bird in flight from Joist Fen viewpoint. At least one other pair are also still in the area, so look out for them. They tend to spend most of their time feeding north of the river near Joist Fen viewpoint at the moment.

Although our early morning bittern survey yesterday morning was relatively quiet, we still heard at least eight booming males. Site Manager Dave and Warden Katherine have seen two in flight near New Fen viewpoint this morning.

Our resident marsh harriers are busy skydancing at the moment and if you are lucky, you may witness some truly spectacular aerobatics high over the reedbed. There were at least 10 birds on the wing yesterday morning, which included at least three stunning adult males.

The local bearded tits can be heard pinging in the reedbeds and several were showing well on the approach to Mere Hide on Monday. Look out for them on sunny and still days during the next couple of weeks.

On Monday, I found presumably the same tree sparrow that was seen on Friday 29 March feeding in the hawthorns on the riverbank north of New Fen North, the first area of reedbed. A male yellowhammer was also singing in the same area, which was lovely to hear.

A pair of garganeys have been present for a while now. They tend to be spending most of their time feeding in the newly cut area between Mere Hide and Joist Fen viewpoint. However, they were seen in front of New Fen viewpoint this morning so they are getting around!

I heard our first singing common whitethroat and grasshopper warbler of the year from the riverbank on Monday. Sedge warblers are now widespread and one or two willow warblers are now starting to arrive.

Our intrepid bittern surveyors saw a barn owl hunting near the visitor centre just after first light yesterday morning. Small numbers of hirundines have been seen over the reserve including all three regularly seen species (swallows, house martins and sand martins).

Roe deer and muntjac deer are being seen regularly along with several stoats. The best place to see stoats at present tends to be along the hard track alongside Trial Wood, the second poplar plantation. Good numbers of butterflies were on the wing on Monday, including lots of peacocks and a few small tortoiseshells. Various flowering plants are now starting to appear, including this marsh marigold near the visitor centre:

Image credits: David White

We hope to see you on the reserve soon!