A relatively cool and overcast week, with very un-spring like conditions, however the migrants are certainly arriving and the forecast weather for next week should most certainly see the migrant flood gates open!
Since my last update the spring migrants have been arriving slowly but surely. The first migrant chiffchaffs appeared on 14 March, with sand martins returning 28 March, these are often the first to return from Africa. These were followed the day after by a pair of garganey in front of Reception Hide showing amazingly well. There was then a short gap before the first big wave of blackcaps appeared on 4 April along with the first swallows and willow warblers on the same day. 5 April saw the first whimbrel over the fen with common tern, house martin and sedge warbler appearing on the 6th , the first reed warblers arrived on 10 April.
We now have fairly good numbers of the majority of above species at Strumpshaw Fen (the garganey pair appear to be at Buckenham once again) and are waiting for the rest to arrive in the promised favourable conditions next week.
Our resident species are doing their best to be noticed too, we have some very fine looking male marsh harriers attending their females in nest building over the fen, at least one bittern is booming very well, kingfishers appear to be nesting in their usual locations and can be seen darting back and forth briefly from Fen and Reception hide. The woodland is alive with bird song, particularly early in the morning when everything is trying to outcompete each other to be the loudest.
The wet grassland is beginning to become quite productive with the passage migrants and breeding waders. Last Friday I counted 300 black tailed godwit, 142 ruff, 11 curlew, 14 pintail and a pair of garganey in front of Buckenham Hide, also present but not counted were stacks of lapwing, redshank and a decent number of snipe.
The wave of migrants that should be heading our way next week should include grasshopper warblers, cuckoos, garden warblers, possibly early swifts as well as a lot of sedge, reed and willow warblers and a general increase in all migrants. The airmass is supposedly coming from quite far south so the potential for a rarer migrant or two may be possible, a savis warbler, night heron or similar would be most welcome!
I have not even mentioned and non avain species yet! With the warmer conditions we should see our first orange tip butterflies along with good numbers of brimstone, peacock and small tortoiseshells. Otters continue to show intermittently from Reception and Fen Hide as well as the river. The lizards should be basking well along sandy wall and on the fen boardwalk too as well as a flush of green raising from the earth with many flowers beginning to peak out.
A final call for the improvers bird identification course, we have two remaining places on this event. This event runs over three mornings and focusses on improving bird identification by sight and sound at Strumpshaw Fen- check out more details here and book now- first session is this Tuesday, come and see all these lovely birds I keep on talking about!
We spend 90% of net income on conservation, public education and advocacy
The RSPB is a member of BirdLife International. Find out more about the partnership
© The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity: England and Wales no. 207076, Scotland no. SC037654