After writing about unseasonably warm weather in my last blog, its now time to write about a period of particularly windy weather! This past week has seen gusts of wind 50+mph on each day, luckily the trees are not yet in leaf as that would have resulted in far more fallen trees than we have seen so far. The wind is due to remain strong until late Saturday afternoon so it is likely that there will be woodland trail closures until then.
Despite the wind, some wildlife sightings have been coming in throughout the week; marsh harriers continue to display over the fen, some particularly fine grey males have been carrying out some amazing tumbling displays in the wind. Buzzards have also been seen very regularly around the fen, these and the red kites have been seen hanging in the wind, particularly over the woodland areas.
The woodland has been closed for the majority of the week due to the risk of falling trees, but the areas around reception have been fairly busy with birds clinging on. Bullfinches, siskins and the usual tits have been encountered as well as goldcrests and treecreepers.
Tower Hide broad has been busy this week, the black headed gulls have returned to inspect the islands, while at least two snipe remain in front of the hide, wildfowl present most of the week included shoveler, pochard, teal, shelduck and the occasional group of tufted duck. The great crested grebes moved onto the broad while it was good weather, but have now headed back to the river to await spring like conditions once again.
Our resident black swan ‘Cobber’ appears to have abandoned us after at least nine years at the fen. I last saw Cobber on 27 March in the field next to the overflow car park and as far as I know he has not been seen again!
An otter has been seen fishing from Reception Hide on and off this week, it was seen on Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday from Reception so keep an eye out as it appears to be a current favoured feeding area.
This week has obviously not been as good for insects as the previous weeks, however we have been seeing bees and hoverflies in the sheltered areas in sunny periods as well as peacock and small tortoiseshell butterflies.
We have received a number of fungi sightings from Stephen and Yvonne Pinnington, which they identified on a visit last week, amongst the list that they provided are the following fungi for you to watch out for if you are visiting. We always appreciate records like this, particularly of the more obscure species groups, please do send your data to us and I'll try to feature it on a blog like this as well as adding it to our records database, thanks guys!
The species below have some great English names: in order of appearance- Scarlet elf cap, Alder goblet, Artists bracket, Yellow brain and Witches bracket.
With all of the heavy rain this week as well as some minor flooding of the river, the riverbank and Lackford Run trails are quite muddy, at present I would suggest wellingtons or good waterproof footwear for the trails. Also another reminder that the woodland trails (including the den building area, pumphouse track and riverbank path to pump house) are all closed at present and likely to remain closed until Sunday 17 March due to the very strong winds.
Reception Hide will be closed on Monday 18 March until 1pm due to a planned power cut, the reserve will be open as usual during this time, but coffee will be unavailable!
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