Saturday, 23 April 2016

April 23rd Weeting Heath and Lakenheath Fen

Today is St George's Day and I am with my parents for a day out in the Breks around the Norfolk/Suffolk border. We were going to spend most of the day at Lakenheath Fen, but as it was on the way, we made a short visit to Weeting Heath to see if the stone-curlews were about. There were three pairs reported so far, however, they weren't showing themselves in front of the hides this morning. In fact, there was hardly anything about from West Hide. Even the rabbits were fewer in number than usual. Fortunately, the yellowhammers gave us at least something great to photograph from the hide overlooking bird feeders, so it wasn't a complete waste of a visit.

Female Chaffinch
We were caught in a short shower as we arrived for a couple of walks at Lakenheath. Though it did not last and the sun did emerge from cloud cover with warm spells from time to time, a blustery wind made us really cold in its absence. Our first walk was to the shelter in the centre of the reserve and back to the car for lunch. We didn't see that much except for a marsh harrier, a kestrel and a few whitethroats.

Marsh Harrier
Our second walk was much longer as we made our way around the entire reserve. We started walking from along the bank followering the river to the far end of the reserve. The wind was strong on this stretch of the walk and we were trying our best to keep warm while also looking for wildlife which was limited to mute swans, little egrets and the odd heron, coot, greylag, Canada goose and great crested grebe. The viewpoint shelter at the far end of the reserve was a great place to recover from tiredness and the cold wind for a while with views of marsh harriers, swifts, swallows and house martins. We continued our loop back towards the visitor centre, stopping at the new hide along the way, hearing bearded tits, reed buntings and a bittern booming. We also saw a sparrowhawk which flew from its tree that it was perching on as we approached it before we even realized it was there. Not my best visit to Lakenheath, but at least we made it all the way round for the first time with Mum and I don't think she enjoyed it that much. It was too much walking for her and she was struggling by the end of it.
Mute Swan
Grey Heron
Little Egret
Great Crested Grebe
St Mark's Flies

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful photos as always Sean and so interesting to read. It's very different from my local patch - I'll have to visit some time.