And hello from us!  With David having left, it will be up to the rest of the team to fill in with recent sightings and blogs posts, but before I go any further, I just want to say a huge thank you to David for his hard work over the last 10 years.  He has contributed massively to the reserves bird list and has done a fantastic job with the blog posts, promoting the reserve and keeping everyone informed, in his own unique way (his words!), as to what's going on down the reserve.  He will be greatly missed but we wish him all the very best, and I'm sure we'll be seeing him down the reserve regularly!

So, what has been happening down the reserve?!  It has been a mixed week really.  It is still proving tricky to locate bittern nests, despite bitterns being seen regularly.  Mere Hide and Joist Fen viewpoints seem to be the best places to see them at the moment.  The four-hour nest watch on Tuesday could only tentatively suggest one possible nest down at the western end of the reserve - we're pretty sure there are more...  There is a suspicion that due to very good fish stocks, our sneaky nesting bitterns are simply walking to and from nests, rather than doing the classic feeding flights.  This does make it rather tricky to locate nests, but we will keep on trying!

Even if a little quiet on the bittern front, the nest watches are a very good time to keep an eye on other nesting birds.  From my particular high seat (at the south western corner of the first reedbed), I had food passes between two pairs of marsh harriers, and food going into two locations, which is a good sign that they are feeding young.  I also had great views of a family party of bearded tits.  Other birds keeping me entertained were a very vocal pair of little grebes, and two male cuckoo’s who were even more vocal in vying for the attention of a female!  A prey pass between a pair of buzzards suggests a nest nearby, probably in West wood.

In addition to the bird action, several dragonflies were fighting it out for a particularly attractive reed stem were a scarce chaser (photo credit: Katherine Puttick), four-spotted chaser, hairy dragonfly and black-tailed skimmer.  All in all a very entertaining morning!

Other sightings through the week included this rather lovely frog (photo credit: Mark Johnston), which may not be on everyone’s list of things to see, but actually a really good sighting – we see more newts on the reserve than frogs!

So, lots to see if you decide to visit over the weekend.  I'll also be running the moth trap tonight, so if anyone is interested in moths, I'll be going through the trap at about 9.30am tomorrow morning.  Feel free to come and have a look!

Hope to see you over the weekend!

Katherine (Warden)

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