A good week of spring weather with some warm sunny days, mixed in with cool cloudy days, wind largely from the West, but briefly turning from the south.
The migrants are still arriving in dribs and drabs, this week we have had our first sedge warblers at the fen as well as an early grasshopper warbler reeling from Fen Hide, which appears to be the first Norfolk sighting this year. Willow warblers are being heard more frequently now, while chiffchaffs and blackcaps appear to be very numerous. We have had a number of days with good passages of sand martins as well as smaller numbers of swallows and house martins also passing through. A drake garganey was seen near Tower Hide at the weekend, which was a very welcome addition to the fen year list. An equally welcome addition was that our second male bittern has started booming, on Saturday evening two were heard booming at the same time from Tower. They are still not being heard in the middle of the day, but hopefully they will be heard more frequently in the coming months. Another feature of this time of the year are the waders migrating over the fen, last week I was lucky to see a pair of avocet, a spotted redshank and 2 common redshank passing over the reserve, heading towards Buckenham Marshes.
The marsh harriers have been enjoying the sunny mornings, with up to six males displaying together at times. As well as the marsh harriers, buzzards have been particularly evident overhead. Whether these are birds just passing through or if they are now the resident breeders, I’m not entirely sure, it does however appear that there are at least five pairs in close proximity to the reserve this year.
The kingfishers have started to put in a few more appearances recently but are still not guaranteed.
Buckenham had a surprise rarity last week, with a Greenland white-fronted goose present with greylags. As far as I know this is the first record for the reserve, as the name suggests this subspecies breeds in Greenland and is more often encountered in winter throughout Ireland and Scotland. Also at Buckenham this week, the great white egret has remained present, avocets have been seen on the hide pool, black-tailed godwits have been passing through and the numbers of lapwings, redshanks and oystercatchers have also been increasing.
Many visitors have been enjoying the mining bees near the Gnarly Oak, they are best seen on sunny days, but emerge even in the slightest glimmer of sunlight.
Butterflies continue to increase in number, just this morning I have seen peacock, small tortoiseshell, small white, speckled wood, orange-tip and brimstone.
The trails are generally in good condition with the riverbank beginning to get quite compacted now, the Lackford Run remains wet and soft in places, however is quite passable with good footwear.
Wildlife hotspot -watch out for blackcaps: See if you can get a view of a male blackcap singing in the woodland. One of the best places currently is just past the first pond dipping area
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