The past couple of weeks have seen quite a mix of weather, currently we have a fantastic blue sky with settled conditions with a southerly wind forecast for the coming week.
The marsh harriers are displaying well on the calm clear days, treating us to their cartwheeling in the sky. Red Kites, buzzards and sparrowhawks are also taking to the air and displaying. If at first you don’t see any birds of prey, try scanning with binoculars and you should soon be counting buzzards and harriers at very least.
A kingfisher was seen on the river on Thursday as well as a bittern in front of Reception hide on Tuesday and Wednesday. The bittern can be sexed from photographs as a male, it has already gained its blue base to the bill, so we can hope for at least one boomer in the coming months.
At least three water pipits are still present at the fen, these can be mostly encountered in flight calling, but they have been seen using the cut strips at Fen Hide this week. two or three snipe have been hiding in plain sight in front of the Tower Hide for a month now, see if you can spot them!
The woodland has continued to see finch flocks containing goldfinch, siskin and lesser redpoll. Bullfinches have been seen regularly in the first part of the woodland and around the carpark/railway crossing area as well as treecreepers singing from the woods.
The marsh harrier roost is slowly starting to break up, however there are still at least 20-30 birds coming to the roost each dusk, a ringtail hen harrier has also been seen on a number of occasions this week along with barn owls hunting over the fen and meadows at dusk.
Buckenham and Cantley continue to hold on to decent numbers of waders and wildfowl. The geese are now beginning to depart, however there are still 600+ pink footed geese along with 50+ white-fronted geese. The lapwings are beginning to pair up and display to one another as well as the first skylarks singing from the heavens.
Plants are starting to grow well now, the snowdrop display is still very good throughout the woodland, daffodils are beginning to sprout up and the first blossom has appeared. The moth trap held 87 moths of seven species on Tuesday night, so the spring is beginning to feel like its approaching faster now.
The trails have responded well to a week of dry sunny weather, I would certainly still recommend stout footwear or wellingtons to do the full loop, but there is less deep mud than in recent weeks.
Its half term from Saturday 16 February so with the forecast weather there is no excuse for a spring visit to the fen and woodland to see what signs of spring you can find.
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