• It’s the first day of the year and since this morning we have counted 57 birds within the boundaries of Lakenheath Fen! They are, in rough order of appearance:
  1. Mallard (on the VC pond!)
  2. Blue tit
  3. Great tit
  4. Black-headed gull
  5. Shoveler
  6. Gadwall
  7. Blackbird
  8. Dunnock
  9. Coot
  10. Robin
  11. Goldfinch
  12. Reed bunting (several of these hoovering up spilt seed under the feeders at the V.C!)
  13. Collared dove (doing the same as the reed buntings…!)
  14. Carrion Crow
  15. Moorhen
  16. Chaffinch
  17. Bittern (a brilliant one for our first day! Down at Joist Fen in the early morning)
  18. Great white egret (this is the individual that ventures down to the Washland from the little group of six at Joist Fen)
  19. Marsh harrier
  20. Kingfisher
  21. Kestrel
  22. Cormorant
  23. Wigeon
  24. Teal
  25. Lesser black-backed gull
  26. Rook
  27. Jackdaw
  28. Little egret
  29. Greylag goose
  30. Canada goose
  31. Red-legged partridge
  32. Starling
  33. Stonechat
  34. Meadow pipit
  35. Lapwing
  36. Grey heron
  37. Snipe
  38. Fieldfare
  39. Long-tailed tit (which we didn’t get until about lunchtime!)
  40. Pheasant
  41. Water rail
  42. Stock dove
  43. Buzzard
  44. Magpie
  45. Water pipit
  46. Siskin
  47. Jay
  48. Green woodpecker
  49. Cetti’s warbler
  50. Song thrush
  51. Redwing
  52. Wren
  53. Greenfinch
  54. Herring gull
  55. Mute swan
  56. Whooper swan
  57. Common crane


Here’s a lovely photograph taken on 28 December by a visitor of a stunning male stonechat perched in vegetation along the riverbank:

  Photo credit: Guy Pracy

There’s a few conspicuous absences, as there would be I expect if you did this on any day of the year- we are still waiting for an appearance from our regular great spotted woodpecker and any of our coal tits! Perhaps they are on an outing for New Year’s Day. There may be a pair of cranes on site- they were here on at least the 23 and 29 December so they may well be around. They have returned quite early (last year’s first record was on 31 January- so these birds are likely to come and go a fair bit between now and February, which is when any birds attempting to breed will really settle down).

Tawny owl was heard early in the morning too, calling from West Wood, but we are trying to keep the list to just birds which we’ve seen. We plan to put a date next to all of the sightings so that the list can double up in keeping a record of the arrival dates of spring migrants such as swallow and willow warbler too.

It feels a way off now, but when we get our first butterfly, dragonfly and damselfly we’ll have them on a list too!

Bye for now then- watch this space for a further update to our list in the coming days!

By Heidi Jones

Visitor Experience Officer

RSPB Lakenheath Fen.