Good morning. There has been plenty to see on the reserve over the last couple of days so here are some recent sightings from Thursday afternoon onwards:

Suzanne spent some time at the photography station at lunchtime and was treated to good views of a water rail. A barn owl was also hunting at the edge of the car park during the afternoon.

I had fantastic views of a barn owl hunting over Brandon Fen first thing on Friday morning and at least two reed buntings were singing in the reedbeds. I flushed a water rail at the edge of the path and when I got up to the Washland viewpoint, an adult Caspian gull flew up which was nice to see.  

Katherine counted 21 long tailed tits on the visitor centre feeders shortly after we opened and a mistle thrush flew over the visitor centre. Meanwhile, down at the far end of the reserve a blackcap was feeding at the edge of Botany Bay and at least three marsh harriers were hunting overhead. A roe deer was also feeding on the track near Joist Fen viewpoint.

Volunteer Mark and I led a very successful 10 kilometre walk around the reserve on Sunday in the sunshine. Things started very well as we saw a barn owl hunting in front of the Washland viewpoint shortly after we left the visitor centre. We saw three cranes in flight near Joist Fen viewpoint and a bittern was feeding on the ice at the far end of the reserve. We also disturbed a male sparrowhawk which had caught an early lunch near the black barn. 

Other highlights included at least three great white egrets north of the river, six common buzzards hunting overhead and four roe deer at the edge of Botany Bay. We also saw a water rail skulking at the edge of the frozen pool in front of Joist Fen viewpoint which was a bonus.

I took some photographs on the way round which I hope you like:

Elsewhere on the reserve, a red kite was seen over Joist Fen viewpoint and five marsh harriers were hunting in the distance. A Chinese water deer was also seen near Mere Hide which is the first record of this species on the reserve for a while.

It was cold again this morning and I went up to the Washland viewpoint first thing. Here is a photograph of the view:

Image credits: David White

As you will see, there were some wild swans present. This included 18 whooper swans and five Bewick’s swans. I have circled the Bewick’s swans to make them slightly more obvious!

A female marsh harrier was hunting in front of the viewpoint and two roe deer were feeding in the grazing marsh. A reed bunting was singing in front of the viewpoint and a mistle thrush was singing at the edge of the car park.

If you are planning to visit the reserve, the Public Footpath along the riverbank is likely to be slippery in places and wellies are now moreorless essential for negotiating this path at present.

We hope to see you soon!