This week has at last seen a rise in temperatures and has been largely dry and bright.
The highlight of the week has been hearing the first bittern booming of the year. On Thursday evening I headed out to check on bittern progress and was pleased to hear a male just starting to warm up his neck muscles, he produced at least one soft boom in each of his grunting boom trains.
On Thursday the sky was filled with birds of prey with buzzards and marsh harriers making up the majority of birds, but a few sparrowhawks and a pair of red kites were also seen drifting over. A woodcock flew in front of Reception Hide at lunch time and the common snipe put in another appearance right in front of the hide.
The relatively warm and sunny day on Sunday produced a few brimstone butterfly sightings as well as the first common lizard of the year along Sandy Wall, a small number of mining bees were also spotted emerging from the fingerpost area near the second pond dipping platform.
Throughout the week we have been hearing lots of bird song in the woodland with marsh tit, bullfinch, goldcrest, treecreeper, both mistle and song thrushes, as well as chiffchaffs being most notable. The great-spotted woodpeckers are also busy drumming.
Kingfishers have been seen regularly this week, but as with most birds at this time of the year, they are not hanging around for long and appear to be concentrating on getting ready for breeding rather than sitting up on a perch to be admired.
Buckenham and Cantley are still maintaining their high numbers of passage waders throughout this week, the peaks are as follows: 30 ruff, 15 avocet, 425 black-tailed godwit, 15 pintail, 22 curlew as well as 2500 wigeon. So this is certainly the place to be for waders at the moment.
An otter appears to have been very regular in front of Reception this week, it has been seen on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday fishing in front of the hide, interestingly it has not been reported from anywhere else on the reserve this week. Also on the mammal front, we have had a large number of stoat sightings right across the fen this week. it is not clear if it is the same individual taking a liking to the footpaths and being seen a lot, or if it involves multiple stoats.
We still have not yet had any definite sub Saharan migrants yet this year, but I would expect that by the end of the easter weekend we should have logged our first obvious arrivals of chiffchaffs and blackcaps as well as our first sand martins, willow warblers and sedge warblers sightings. Ospreys are on the move too so we could always hope for one of these to pass over on its way to breeding grounds. Keep an eye on the weather charts and if it looks like the wind is coming from the south, there is a good chance of seeing a migrant or two.
The paths are beginning to dry up after a week with little rain and only minor flooding of the river on Monday night. I would still recommend wellingtons or waterproof boots if doing the full circuit past Tower Hide and Lackford Run, but the situation is fast improving. The woodland loop should be largely fine with decent footwear, although there are a couple of patches which are still a little bit muddy.
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