With mixed conditions in early autumn now the norm, this past week we have had a large variety of weather, culminating in a beautiful sunny day on Thursday!
The great white egret remains local, although it seems to be spending more time away from Tower Hide recently and has been spending time over the river at Surlingham Church Marsh. An osprey has put in a few appearances in the past couple of weeks, but has not been easy to catch up with; the bird appears to be doing a large circuit of the Yare valley as well as heading North towards Hoveton Great Broad area. A garganey in fine eclipse plumage is still present in front of Tower Hide along with a decent number of Shoveler, teal, gadwall and smaller numbers of mallard and wigeon. There are still a small number of ruff and snipe showing well right in front of Tower Hide too.
The usual fen species are mainly still present and being seen regularly; bitterns have mainly been seen in flight from Reception and Fen hides, kingfishers have been hunting from all over the reserve with Fen Hide perhaps just topping the sightings board, marsh harriers have been seen over the reedbed, especially early and late in the day and otters have also been seen on and off, mostly at dusk though. Red Kites, hobbys and buzzards have all been seen regularly throughout the week, they are especially enjoying the warm days with a breeze. A family group of bearded tits have been seen from Reception Hide on Thursday, but we will unfortunately not have our impressive flocks along Sandy Wall this year due to the decline of the population as a result of the cold March conditions. The population at Strumpshaw was at 48 first brood nests last year, but this year saw no nests at all on our surveys, hopefully we will see bearded tit numbers rise again over the next few years. Cetti’s warbler numbers halved this year, but they are still present in small numbers around the reserve, but noticeably quieter than in previous years.
The woodland has seen some fairly large tit flocks throughout the wood. While goldcrests, blackcaps and chiffchaffs are making an obvious movement south.
All trails are open and in good condition. There is however a diversion on the meadow trail, please observe signage on site as we will be moving the cattle between the fields over the coming weeks.
We have now cut the long viewpoints in front of Fen Hide and opened up the views immediately in front of Fen Hide and Reception Hide, so you now have a far better view and increase the chances of seeing a variety of wildlife. We will be cutting in front of Tower Hide in the next couple of weeks to improve the view from there too.
Over the coming weeks we will start to notice the wildfowl numbers increase, the first few pink footed geese should return to Buckenham Marshes, warblers should be seen moving along the riverbank and overhead we should start to see an increase in migration of meadow pipits as well as the continued southerly flow of swallows, sand and house martins over the fen.
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