Hello to all and welcome to the latest blog. We eagerly await the arrival of our new moth traps on Tuesday, but we just couldn't wait that long so Katherine kindly brought her own trap in last night and we caught a huge variety and number of moths. For those enthusiasts, the list is below:

Setaceous Hebrew character 6
Ghost moth 1
Eyed hawkmoth 15
Poplar hawkmoth 11
Lobster 1
Elephant hawkmoth 2
Cinnabar 3
Bright-line brown-eye 33
Olive 1
Spectacle 8
Large emerald 2
Brown-line bright-eye 2
Clouded border 16
Burnished brass 7
Barred straw 10
Udea olivalis 2
Common footman 18
Common white wave 3
Poplar grey 17
Common emerald 1
Riband wave 6
Buff-tip 2
Garden pebble 1
Large yellow underwing 7
Flame 10
Barred yellow 1
Uncertain/rustic 33
Willow beauty 2
Dark spectacle 1
Anania coronata 1
Double square-spot 35
Brimstone 2
Lychnis 4
Common wainscot 17
Mottled rustic 5
Dark arches 3
Dingy shears 5
White point 2
Schoenobius gigantella 2
Cream-bordered green pea 1
Brown rustic 1
Swallow prominent 2
Double-lobed 1
Donacaula forficella 1
Dwarf cream wave 5
Four-dotted footman 1
Buff ermine 2
Scarce footman 1
Straw dot 2
Treble brown spot 2
Smoky wainscot 1
Swallowtailed moth 1
European corn-borer 1
Beautiful china-mark 1
Short-cloaked moth 2
Brown china-mark 1
Dark sword-grass 1
Small magpie 1
Engrailed 1
Common pug 1

There's a few more tiddlers still to be identified but the above is our list so far! It was a great first trap of the year and every moth was welcome since we haven't been able to trap here overnight this year, due to losing both our traps to fire damage in March.

Here's a few of warden Katherine's photos from this morning for you:

  Photo credit: Swallow-tailed, lobster and large emerald moths by Katherine Puttick, 24 June 2022.

Recently on the reserve a visitor found a beautiful red-tipped clearwing feeding on bramble blossom near the Visitor Centre (see the photo below). These brambles have been a superb area to search for red admiral, comma, large white, small tortoiseshell and meadow brown butterflies, as well as a myriad of beetles such as thick-kneed flower beetle and a variety of longhorns (see the photos below). If you don't have much time on your hands or can't walk far, this bank of flowers is an excellent way to spend an hour. You can ask our volunteer team where to find the brambles if you are unsure when you arrive. Another six-legged highlight has been a beautiful hummingbird hawkmoth joining the small and large skippers on the viper's bugloss in the raised Brecks plant bed opposite the Visitor Centre.

  Photo credit: Red-belted clearwing, golden-bloomed grey longhorn and Rutpela maculata (another longhorn beetle) by Cathy Ryden.

The same visitor who took the beautiful photos of the clearwing moth and beetles also spotted a Norfolk hawker near Mere Hide, which is our first record for a couple of years. We hope one day they will colonise us here despite our lack of water-soldier- a plant they seem dependent on. I have heard that the continental individuals aren't as fussy so perhaps when we have a Norfolk hawker visiting us and staying a while it is more likely to be European. We live in hope that it may colonise us in the future!

  Photo credit: Norfolk hawker by Cathy Ryden, 23 June 2022.

In terms of bird life, there are a few marsh harrier fledglings now, and you may see them with their rich orange-brown heads flying clumsily around. They also often crash-land into willows in the reedbed, or even sit on the tracks in pairs and threes waiting to be fed! A few lucky visitors have been spotting young bitterns too being fed by their Mums (as all the rearing of bittern chicks is done solely by the females) such as these beautiful photos captured recently on the reserve:

  Photo credit: Young bitterns being fed by Mum bittern- taken by David Sparrow on 19 June 2022.

Kingfishers, our great crested grebe family and young bearded tits have been showing well from Mere Hide recently, and highlights on the Washland have included a return visit from our white stork recently, and as you can see in the background there is a good variety of ducks up there- shoveler, shelduck, gadwall and mallard, with a few tufted duck too and several sets of young ducklings. Most days lapwing, redshank and avocets can be seen up there too. On the bird feeders at the Visitor Centre, young goldfinches have been seen regularly in amongst plenty of reed bunting and some juvenile blue tits and great tits. Out on the reserve, whitethroat, blackcap and garden warbler are singing well and it would be unusual to have a walk around without hearing all three singing from the bushes. We are hearing fewer cuckoos now but that is to be expected- the males will soon begin to filter slowly back to Africa whilst the quieter females stay on for longer to sneakily deposit their eggs in the nests of songbirds, before they themselves begin to leave.


Photo credit: White stork on the Washland and male cuckoo by Tushar Bala.

The work parties for the past couple of weeks have been busy repairing fencing on Cowles Drove, which has been very hot work at times but is vital for keeping livestock safe and contained. We are approaching the end of our weekly early-morning bittern and harrier nest watch surveys too- next week should see the last one.

As usual, please give us a call on 01842 863400 or e-mail us at lakenheath@rspb.org.uk if you have any questions for us. You can read about and book onto our latest events here. Coming up are:

Treasures of the Moth Trap - 30 June and 28 July (10-11am)

Friday Foray - 1 July and 5 August (11am-1pm)

Beginner's Photography Workshop - 3 July (10am-4pm)

Big Wild Sleepout - Sunday 30 July - 31 July (1pm-1pm)

With best wishes,

Heidi Jones (Visitor Experience Officer, RSPB Lakenheath Fen).