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Friday, 31 July 2009

Visit to the Fens (1)

I was fortunate to visit Norfolk last week,a sort of mini break.After a 4hr journey down the A1,I arrived at my destination Lakenheath Fen,home of Golden Orioles,Common Cranes and Bittern.Would I be lucky to see these awesome birds!
The weather was quite windy but dry, so hopes were high.This greater spotted woodpecker was first to oblige, as I scanned the reedbeds in front.
A Heron flew past quite close and I took a couple of quick shots with the camera.Things seemed to quieten off for a few hours as the sun got up.Undeterred I walked to the bottom end of the reserve past where the Orioles are usually seen.No such luck for me though,maybe later I hoped.Apparently 2 pair fledged 4 chicks this year, but by now ther`e well up in the Poplars, and difficult to see.

The reserve is only 10 yrs old and already supports a dozen or so pairs of Marsh Harrier and for the first time a few Pairs of Bittern have successfully bred.Bearded Tits are up to 75 pairs and Sedge and Reed Warblers are numerous.It just goes to show what good planning and management can achieve in a relative short space of time.

I was told by the warden that the Cranes had each reared 1 chick apiece.The first time these birds had bred in Britain for a long long time.As I made my way to the viewpoint a Marsh Harrier was having an aeriel combat with another smaller falcon.It was a Hobby,A bird I was desperate to see at close quarters.Not this time, as they were well up and gaining height. I did manage to grab a few quick shots with the big lens but not the shots I wanted!

The Cranes were nowhere to be seen,as the reeds and grasses where 2 metres tall .They favoured an area roughly 300 yds away,which is strictly out of bounds and still being developed within the reserve. Not to despondent, I made my way back to the carpark ,scanning the sky for Hobby and Harrier.Being close to 2 American airbases a few F15 Eagle jets came hurtling towards me at breakneck speed,the noise was defeaning as they passed overhead on some training mission.This was to be a regular occurence of my mini break around the Fens.I used to come down here some 20 yrs ago to the Mildenhall air show with my brothers, when I was mad keen on fast jets and the like,so now I looked on this as a sort of added bonus.
So I`ll conclude this first day in the Fens for now and continue at a later date.