First things first, many thanks to Emma for her recent sightings blog post on Friday. It can be found here. I was off celebrating my birthday so I greatly appreciate it! 

I will begin with a photo that I took of the sunset over the visitor centre pond last Tuesday:

Image credit: David White

Moving on, here are some pictures that local photographer Lee McCarthy took on the reserve on Sunday:

Male bearded tit:

Barn owl:

Grey heron:

Male reed bunting:

Image credits: Lee McCarthy

I returned to work yesterday and the first thing that I saw when I arrived was a roe deer that was grazing on the entrance track as I drove in. I walked around Brandon Fen before work and several corn buntings flew out of the reedbeds at the eastern end of the reserve. A great white egret flew over the Washland viewpoint and a Cetti's warbler was calling nearby.

I went up to the Washland viewpoint at lunchtime and found a Caspian gull. Four redshanks were also present along with two shelducks.

There was plenty going on at the far end of the reserve during the afternoon. A great crested grebe was feeding on the river north of Joist Fen viewpoint and a female merlin was hunting just west end of the viewpoint. I was very pleased to spot a male hen harrier west of Joist Fen viewpoint which appeared from the north at 16.08. This was my first hen harrier on the reserve for a couple of years so I was really rather chuffed!

Meanwhile, further down the reserve, two peregrines were hunting over the far end of the reserve. Emma and I saw two bitterns from Joist Fen viewpoint as dusk fell. As we drove back through the reserve, two woodcocks flew up from the edge of the track. We were also pleasantly surprised to find two otters at the edge of the hard track alongside New Fen North, just before we got to New Fen viewpoint.

I went for a walk along the very muddy riverbank this morning and found a water pipit feeding at the edge of the washland pool north of East Wood. Two great white egrets were feeding in the pool itself. As I walked down towards New Fen viewpoint, another great white egret flew over and seemed to join the other two in the pool on the riverbank.

When I got to the viewpoint, a visitor pointed out a bird of prey to me and to my surprise, it was another hen harrier! It was a "ringtail" with a white rump. Judging by the size of it, it looked like an immature male. Talk about when it rains it pours as they say! When I got back to the visitor centre, a water rail was showing well at the edge of the visitor centre pond and a yellowhammer flew over the visitor centre, calling as it went. 

If you are planning to visit the reserve over the next couple of days, there are a few things just to be aware of: Firstly, the last of the reed burning will be taking place in New Fen North this week so please expect some disturbance near New Fen viewpoint on the days that we are burning. Please read this blog post for more information. Secondly, The Environment Agency are currently in the process of cutting the vegetation alongside the riverbank Public Footpath. Please read this blog post for more information. 

There is plenty to see at the moment so why not come and visit? We hope to see you soon!