Good morning. Without any further ado, I will start off where I left off on Wednesday with some more recent sightings. Two cranes were seen in flight over the reserve and a tatty looking buzzard was circling over the visitor centre.

Site Manager Dave saw 12 whooper swans over Joist Fen North and nine pochards were feeding just west of Joist Fen viewpoint. He also saw a great white egret in flight. Warden Katherine was also out and about. She saw 18 wigeons and a female stonechat on her travels.

We were all in early to do our first co-ordinated bittern listen of the year yesterday morning. Suzanne and I were covering New Fen North (the first area of reedbed). As we walked down, we could hear a chiffchaff singing near the visitor centre. As I walked along the southern bank of the reedbed, I was following a stoat along the path ahead of me.

I got to my station, which was the high seat on the south west corner of New Fen North and this was my view:

Although it was fairly quiet, a bird was booming behind me and it seemed to be coming from somewhere near Mere Hide. Great spotted woodpeckers were drumming in both Trial Wood and West Wood. A noisy pair of little grebes were feeding in front of me. A kingfisher also did a few circuits of the reedbed while we were out and about.

Meanwhile, further done the reserve, at least two more bitterns were booming and two different individuals were seen in flight from Joist Fen viewpoint. A single crane was seen in flight over the reedbed on several occasions and at least 50 fieldfares were feeding at the far end of the reserve.

If you would to come and join us on one of our bittern listens during the next couple of weeks, you can do! There are still places available on Tuesday 26 March, 5am-8am. Details can be found here. There is also availability on our April dates, which are 2 April, 9 April, 16 April, 23 April & 30 April. Details can be found here.

As the day went on, our first willow warbler of the year was heard singing near the visitor centre. Suzanne saw a Muntjac deer and a roe deer in Brandon Fen at lunchtime. I popped up to the Washland viewpoint early afternoon and could hear a water vole chomping somewhere nearby.

When I got back to the visitor centre, I took this photograph of the visitor centre pond:

Image credits: David White

I stopped briefly to admire the cryptically camouflaged common snipe that was feeding at the edge of the visitor centre pond. At least two blackbirds were singing their beautiful fluty songs nearby which was lovely to hear.

Although it is a rather chilly start to the day, several chiffchaffs have been singing near the visitor centre. A pair of little ringed plovers have also been seen from the Washland viewpoint, which is a good spring record for here.

If you are planning the reserve, please note that the path alongside West Wood is currently very wet. You will need wellies to negotiate it at present. Parts of the riverbank Public Footpath are also muddy, so walking boots are recommended for using this path at present. The rest of the reserve paths are currently OK.

Also, just in case you haven’t heard, we will be increasing the entrance charge for non-members of the RSPB on 1 April 2019. Please read here for more information.

We hope to see you on the reserve soon!