We wish you all a slightly belated Happy New Year!
The Christmas and new year period has seen a number of good sightings at Strumpshaw Fen and at Buckenham Marshes. Below are some of the highlights.
The year ended with a stunning waxwing along Sandy Wall at Strumpshaw, this individual was well watched as it commuted between the berries along Sandy Wall and Buckenham car park between 21 and 29 December, not quite appearing on this year’s list though.
The marsh harrier roost at Strumpshaw has continued to be spectacular on certain nights, it seems to be fairly variable in numbers- 63 on 23 Dec, 42 on 27 Dec 34 on 4 Jan and then back up to 50+ on 7th Jan. The roost is best watched in the evening between 15.30 and 16.10 when they all come to roost in the middle of the reedbed.
The other spectacle at dusk is the starling roost, this has been even more hit and miss than in previous years, but there appear to be between 0 and 2000 birds roosting in front of Reception Hide at Strumpshaw, however there is a much larger flock numbering 8-10,000 that appears to be roosting on the Surlingham side of the river.
Although the fen is generally quiet during the day at this time of the year, we have still had near daily otter sightings, with Reception Hide being the top spot. The finch flock that can be found around the car park or Reception areas appears to be mainly goldfinches, but on occasion a small flock of lesser redpoll and siskin also join them, so always worth a look. The woodland birds have started singing well on the milder mornings, with blackbirds, song thrush, great tit, blue tit all singing already.
Tundra bean geese by Elizabeth Dack
Buckenham Marshes has been spectacular over the past few weeks with upwards of 8,000 birds present. The geese have particularly enjoyed the marshes with 7 taiga bean geese, 4 tundra bean geese, 261 white-fronted geese, 2500 pink footed geese, 28 barnacle geese and 238 Canada geese present. We have also had 3500 lapwing, 1600 wigeon, 27 ruff as well as singles of black-tailed godwit and dunlin. While the skies have held good numbers of birds of prey including marsh harriers, buzzards, kestrels and peregrines. All in all a very impressive spectacle!
The trail to Tower Hide has been flooding regularly over the past few weeks and today, having received a flood warning from the Environment Agency we have closed the trail from the river end of Sandy Wall right around to and including Lackford Run. The woodland circuit including the raised riverbank and Fen Hide remain fully open.
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