Good morning. I will start by sharing one more image of the sparrowhawk that was perched up on the ice of the visitor centre pond on Monday, courtesy of visitor centre volunteer John Wightman:

Image credit: John Wightman

Just in case you don’t know, it is a very important weekend for the RSPB this weekend: It is Big Garden Birdwatch weekend! The survey takes place from Saturday 25 January to Monday 26 January. This year is extra special, as it is the fortieth year anniversary of the survey starting in 1979.

Of course, most of you will probably be doing the survey in the comfort of your own home. However, if you don’t have a garden or you fancy a change, you are more than welcome to take part in the survey here at the reserve. If you do, you have two options: you can either spend an hour watching the feeders behind the visitor centre with a cuppa. Alternatively, if you fancy a wilder experience, you can wrap up warm and spend an hour down at the photography station counting the birds on the feeders there. The choice is yours!

That leads be neatly to what has been seen over the last couple of days on the reserve and as I have just mentioned it, I will start from the photography station. Yesterday, a water rail was showing well under the feeders and a male brambling was on the feeders. These northern finches have been very thin on the ground on the reserve this winter but as you may have seen on the internet yesterday, there is currently a flock of around five million at a single location in Slovenia. This bird obviously didn’t want to spend the winter with his mates! You can read more about the huge flock here.

Anyhow, back to what has been seen on the reserve! A group of roe deer have been feeding in the grazing marsh in Brandon Fen during the last two mornings and I counted at least nine this morning which is a good number for here. A kingfisher has been fishing in the river near the Washland viewpoint regularly and at least two stonechats have also been feeding in the same area.

At least four great white egrets are still present on the reserve and one tends to be feeding near the Washland viewpoint regularly. As the washland pool has been quite icy recently, there haven’t been quite so many swans roosting up there over the last couple of days. However, there were at least 56 whooper swans this morning that were making a merry racket between them!

If you are planning to visit the reserve, please note that the riverbank Public Footpath is now muddy in places. We recommend wearing either walking boots or wellies if you are intending to use this path at present.

 We hope to see you soon!