Good morning. It is a bit of a dull day this morning unfortunately. However, plenty has been seen over the last couple of days so here are some more sightings:

I led a very windy crane talk & walk on Sunday afternoon. Despite the weather, we still saw a few interesting things. Seven tufted ducks were feeding in front of New Fen viewpoint and two great crested grebes were showing well just behind Joist Fen viewpoint.

The local marsh harriers were putting on a good show in the wind in front of the viewpoint and at least eight were hunting simultaneously at one point. Frustratingly, the local cranes weren’t playing ball. Our only possible sighting came when two large birds were seen flying south over the railway line.

Ironically, two cranes were seen in flight from Joist Fen viewpoint on Monday. It is good to know that they are still around though! Suzanne saw a female sparrowhawk over Brandon Fen and at least five water pipits were feeding between Mere Hide and Joist Fen viewpoint.

It was cold but clear yesterday morning so I could hear a bittern booming in the distance when I left the visitor centre for my morning walk. A male sparrowhawk was perched up I Brandon Fen and a water pipit flew up from the riverbank. A smart great crested grebe was showing well on the river.

As the day went on, a buzzard was circling over the visitor centre and seemingly enjoying the breeze. Site Manager Dave also saw a bittern in flight near Joist Fen viewpoint.

I thought I would provide a bit of a comparison this morning and share two photographs, taken almost exactly two years apart:

5 March 2017:

6 March 2019:

Image credits: David White

Although things look fairly similar, you can definitely see the difference in the shape of the crack willow at the back of the picture. Also, if you look carefully in the picture from this morning, you can see the new(ish) photography station in the background.

I saw three oystercatchers from the Washland viewpoint and a little egret was showing well at the edge of the visitor centre pond. Two buzzards were also circling over the car park shortly after we opened up.

If you are planning to visit the reserve, please note that the riverbank Public Footpath is currently muddy in places. The grassy path alongside West Wood is also very wet. Wellies are recommended if you are intending to use either of these paths at present.  All of the other reserve paths are fine.

We hope to see you soon.