The past week has seen the onset of a period of cloudy and damp conditions with easterly winds.

The highlights this week have been the vast numbers of regularly occurring birds... The starling roost has had a rise and fall, it appears that the flock peaked at around 8000 on Sunday, but in the past couple of days it has all but fizzled out. It seems as though we will not get our sustained starling roost this year, but it was nice while it lasted. The second of the highlights, which may be more reliable throughout the winter; the marsh harrier roost. On Sunday evening we had a minimum of 40 individuals coming into the roost, this figure will increase and decrease throughout the season as new birds arrive and some of those currently in the roost migrate south.

A hen harrier was seen at dusk on Saturday, but has not been reported this week. A Jack snipe was in front of Fen hide on Monday evening along with three common snipe.

Water birds appear to be here in fairly decent numbers, with perhaps slightly more shoveler from Reception than usual, although far less coots than we are used to seeing.

Winter thrushes are arriving in fairly decent numbers and can be seen picking berries from the shrubs and apple trees around the reserve. In a similar theme, the winter finch flocks have increased and can be observed between the car park and the sand pit, currently there are around 30 goldfinches, 10 siskins and at least five lesser redpolls.

The woodland bird flocks continue to be busy, large numbers of long-tailed tits with additional great, blue, coal and marsh tits as well as goldcrests and treecreepers.

Otters have been seen fairly regularly from the usual spots around the reserve- Reception, Fen and Tower Hides as well as the Lackford Run.

Buckenham and Cantley have shown a steady increase in bird life, with at least 1000 wigeon on the marshes along with 280 Canada geese, 1400 pink footed geese, 75 white-fronted geese, 900 teal as well as smaller numbers of shoveller and mallard. Waders are still on show with three dunlin, 10+ ruff and the occasional black tailed godwit. A crane was heard from the Buckenham Hide area on Thursday, but the bird itself was not located. The taiga bean geese have not yet been seen, but we a fast approaching the time that they usually arrive.

The paths are all open and in fair condition for the time of the year, a bit greasy and slippery in a couple of places, but generally all passible with stout leather/waterproof boots.

Anonymous