Good afternoon. Well, unfortunately, the weather in May has started with a bang rather than a whimper! Nevertheless, there has still been plenty to see so here are some more sightings:
There have been several sightings of a group of three cranes over the last couple of days, mostly from Joist Fen viewpoint. As all indications seem to show that our nesting pair are still on track, these are most likely to be extra birds. Hopefully, they will stick around for a while.
Good numbers of bitterns are still present with up to 11 booming males. I was fortunate enough to see three in flight over Joist Fen viewpoint this morning. This looked like two males and a female. The female is a very distinctive bird, as she has a dangly leg! She has been here for a couple of years now, so presumably her injured leg doesn't inhibit her too much!
Whilst on the subject of heron species, at least one great white egret was feeding in New Fen South, the newly cut area between Mere Hide and Joist Fen viewpoint,. this morning. A green sandpiper also flew up nearby, which is the first record of this species on the reserve for a while.
Although the chilly weather hasn't been ideal for hobbys recently, there are still at least 30 birds in the area. They are best seen hunting over Joist Fen viewpoint. Marsh harriers are still widespread and a red kite was circling north of the river yesterday.
Up to four male cuckoos are present and are being seen regularly in flight. In fact, for the last two mornings, cuckoos have been the first birds I have seen when I have got here! Good numbers of grasshopper warblers are still singing, although they sounded rather subdued in the chilly conditions this morning.
There seemed to be good numbers of swifts passing through yesterday and at least half a dozen were feeding over the visitor centre mid-morning. The reserve team also saw two yellow wagtails feeding north of the river, so it is well worth looking out for these colourful little birds over the next week or so.
The garganeys in New Fen South have been rather elusive over the last couple of days. We are pretty sure they are still in there somewhere though. A drake pochard has been present in front of New Fen viewpoint several times recently, which is a good sign that this species may be nesting on the reserve.
We were treated to a brief visit from a kingfisher at the edge of the visitor centre pond yesterday which was nice to see. As these birds are nesting at the moment, they haven't been quite as conspicuous as usual recently.
I have seen roe deer several times on my travels around the reserve during the last couple of mornings. Several species of dragonfly and damselfly are now in the wing and here is the list so far:
There are some lovely wetland plants in flower, including lady's smock and this pretty bog bean:
Image credit: David White
If you are planning to visit the reserve, please note that there are cattle grazing on the riverbank Public Footpath.
We hope to see you soon!
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