Good morning. So, we have reached the end of May. Doesn't it go quickly every year!

There have been some interesting sightings over the last couple of days of a variety of wildlife so without any further ado, here we go:

Our first large skipper butterflies of the year are now on the wing and they can be seen in various places on the reserve.  Local bird ringers Pete and Simon were here on Wednesday and they ringed a juvenile stonechat. This is encouraging as it suggests that this species has nested somewhere nearby. They also saw the following fly over while they were ringing in Brandon Fen:

Interestingly, Suzanne saw a hedgehog near the pond dipping on Wednesday. Surprisingly, this is likely to be the first record of this species on the reserve. It was still present yesterday, so hopefully, it is in good health. 

Suzanne and I did our penultimate Common Bird Census (CBC) around Brandon Fen yesterday. There were plenty of common birds singing and we were very fortunate to see a water vole from the bridge near the photography station.  We also saw good numbers of rhombic leatherbugs and a smart male azure damselfly on our travels. 

Shortly after we opened up the visitor centre, a kingfisher put in a brief but spectacular performance as it hovered in pursuit in food over the visitor centre pond. Meanwhile, further down the reserve, good numbers of hobbys were feeding over Joist Fen viewpoint and a bittern was showing well from Mere Hide. 

I popped up to the Washland viewpoint early afternoon and found out that an otter had just been feeding in the river which is a great record. I saw two redshanks and a male marsh harrier while I was up there.

We were also sent these lovely images that were taken on the reserve over the course of the day:

Cream spot tiger moth (which is only a second record of this species on the reserve!):

Great crested grebe with a couple of chicks looking to hitch a ride on its back:

Juvenile long tailed tit:

Cuckoo:

Image credits: Dave & Liz Knowles

Thank you very much to Dave and Liz for sharing these lovely images with us. 

I had a pleasant walk around the reserve in the sunshine this morning. My personal highlight was finding this hoverfly:

Image credit: David White

Although I am not sure what species it is, it looks like it is from the genus Syrphus. If anybody knows what it is, please comment below! I also saw a red admiral and a peacock butterfly feeding in front of the visitor centre shortly after we opened which were both nice to see. 

If you are planning to visit the reserve, please note that there are still cattle grazing on the riverbank Public Footpath between the Washland viewpoint and Joist Fen viewpoint.

We hope to see you soon! 

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