We are now officially in the season of spring. Its not just the calendar that tells us that, but a whole host of indications in the natural world are becoming increasingly obvious by the day.
The most obvious avian highlight of the week was the first wave of migrating chiffchaffs arriving on the reserve on Tuesday. Up until now we have had singles singing around the reserve but on Tuesday morning we had at least 10-15 birds singing throughout the reserve, particularly along the riverbank, which is a sure sign of migration. On Wednesday morning a blackcap was also heard singing in the basecamp area, this could well be an overwintering bird or possibly another early migrant.
The marsh harriers have been enjoying the warmth and have been displaying really well over the reedbeds, they are currently displaying very high up in the air so if you are not seeing them on nice days, tilt your binoculars up more!
The male bittern is grunting still, but he does almost hit a proper boom on each effort, so I suspect he will start getting his boom on in the next week or two!
Many trees are coming into leaf now, the hedgerows and certain trees in the woodland look like they have a fuzzy green glow to them, I suspect a few weeks of mild weather and they will rapidly unfurl their leaves and the emerald green hue will return to the reserve.
The early flowering species are out in force, dog violets of multiple colour are popping up at the woodland edges, coltsfoot is putting on a good display along Sandy Wall, these yellow daisy-like flowers are slightly odd in the fact that the flower appears before the leaves, they also go by the name ‘sons before fathers’ for that reason. A large amount of green leafy vegetation is emerging from the path sides and from the waterbodies across the reserve, a sign of things to come.
The mining bees are also busy creating their holes to lay their young, these are easily seen by the bench at the start of Sandy Wall, its quite interesting watching them emerge, mate and return with pollen and start digging the burrows, ready to lay…and so the process continues.
Buckenham Marshes has also seen a good number of waders arriving, oystercatchers, avocet, redshank and lapwing are back on territory, also present are 35 black tailed godwit, 250 golden plover, 30 ruff, 25 curlew as well as peregrine falcons, marsh harriers, red kites and buzzards.
The coming few weeks will see an increase in migrating chiffchaffs, we should also see the first arrival of blackcaps and will hopefully also see a few sand martins and other early migrants passing through as well as marsh harriers nest building, bitterns booming and the resident species upping their volume across the reserve.
The trails are a little soft in places thanks to a small flood on Monday, I would recommend stout footwear/wellingtons if doing the full Fen Trail, the woodland trail via Sandy Wall is in a good condition and can currently be walked in good outdoor footwear.
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