An early start for Lakenheath Fen today meant I was on the reserve before 6.30a.m. Plenty of whitethroat and reed warblers evident as I walked on to the main path via the closed visitors' centre. My targets were savi's warbler, golden oriole and red footed falcon, but plenty of other birds were about to make it a worthwhile visit. A great crested grebe on the first open water was in good plumage as a great spotted woodpecker and pheasants called. Cetti's warblers were also in fine voice and after about 10 minute walk the first of two grasshopper warblers were heard. This bird has a similar call to the savi's only faster and higher. The savi's also has a habit of singing from the top of reed beds whilst grasshopper warblers prefer sedge and greener vegetation. A walk past a stand of trees gave up the first target as a golden oriole, male, flew very briefly. Superb flash of yellow but then gone. A cuckoo flew over a reed bed before the unmistakable sound of a savi's. There, in the distance was a small brown bird, very like a reed warbler in looks, reeling away. Good views as it sang continuously for about a minute.
|great crested grebe|
|male reed bunting|
|female reed bunting|
|great spotted woodpecker|
A quick scan over the final fen from the benches gave up some more reed warblers, a marsh harrier and distant hobby. Cormorants and a few greylag and canada geese made their way overhead as more cuckoos called. 2 bitterns boomed from the bed and one was briefly seen in flight, for no more than 200 yards.
No sign of the rare falcon and enquiries later at the centre led to me being informed that it may still be about but that it had been in a spat with a local sparrowhawk the previous evening and so may well have gone elsewhere.
Once I had re checked the woods for anymore orioles I left and made my way 5 miles up the road to Norfolk Wildlife's Weeting Heath Reserve. Here, from the west hide, were good but distant views of stone curlew with 2 chicks. By now the temperature was 17C so heat haze made photography virtually impossible.
|stone curlew in front of hide!!|