Cranes are certainly the talk of the town at the moment. Every since one of our pairs fledged its first young in mid-July, it seems that there are mentions of cranes everywhere! This is great news though, as it is fantastic to publicise having such a stately bird on the reserve.


It started when I sent off a media release celebrating the success of the cranes to the local press. Before I knew it, I was on BBC Radio Suffolk yesterday lunchtime talking about them! Should you wish to listen to it, it was on Lesley Dolphin’s show from about 58 minutes. Our retired Site Manager Norman Sills is interviewed first, swiftly followed by yours truly!


I have also been reading The Norfolk Cranes’ story, by John Buxton and Chris Durdin. This is a fantastic read if you ever get the chance. It has helped to explain plenty of the bird’s behaviour that we have seen here in the past. It even explained what was seen on the reserve yesterday:


Little and large, our pair of cranes that didn’t manage to fledge young this year, were seen in flight from Joist Fen viewpoint. Now this doesn’t seem too unusual, but they were circling around and reached a great height, calling as they went. They then flew off high and east and gradually disappeared from view.


This behaviour is quite common after the breeding season, and means the birds have gone for a wander. There is nothing to worry about though, as they have done this several times before, and have always returned eventually afterwards! Let’s hope that when they return, they bring some more cranes with them!


Our resident family of three are still present, and if you spend enough time at Joist Fen viewpoint, you may get lucky as they fly over the reedbed. Also from this viewpoint, it is still well worth looking for bitterns, as they are being seen fairly regularly at the moment. Several marsh harriers are still around, and a male was even hunting near the visitor centre yesterday.


We had a very successful bat night last night, but it took a long time to get going! We were treated to great views of a hobby near East Wood just before it got dark, and as darkness finally fell, bats started to appear.


Along the western side of East Wood, we were treated to a noctule clip-clopping above us and a Daubenton’s trickling away in the distance. Common pipistrelles were having a feast over New Fen viewpoint, and it was great to listen to them having a good feed and socialise as they emerged for an evenings hunt.