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Saturday, 29 May 2010

Day two in the Fens

Another fine day beckons.
A huge head appeared!

Dancing above the reed stems!

Nervously watching me!!

Drake Garganey below!
Day two of my sortie to the Fens and I was again greeted by a magnificent sunrise.It was 4.30 am and I had the whole of the reserve to myself, well at least for a couple of hours anyway! It`s that special time of day for me when I`m full of anticipation for what might lay ahead
The dawn chorus was almost deafening as I made my way out of the carpark towards the embankment,I was hoping to catch sight of a drake Garganey that had been reported the previous day.Scanning the river and washlands, I found it close to the bank in the shallows, feeding with the Mallard and Coot.what a splendid looking individual it was too with its vivid white eyestripe and contrasting grey flanks,beautifull!
Moving on down to the first viewpoint,I skirted the many drains and dykes that had been specially dug, they are a maze of channels which help to flood the reserve, all controlled by a sluice gate.Sedge and Reed warblers nest within the reeds and vegitation their scratchy songs came from deep within!Something moved to my left and disappeared under the water sending a trail of bubbles to the surface.Possibly a coot or Grebe,what I didn`t expect to see was a huge head appear with whiskers and a snout,Otter, the camera was raised and I grabbed a few shots before he slipped away into the sanctuary of the reedbed,wow does this get any better I thought!!!
The male Marsh Harrier was again showing well, gliding effortlessly across the reedbed.He hovered for a while just touching the top of the stems with his feet,wings flapping vigoursly to keep his position steady!Maybe he`d seen a small bird or rodent to feast upon!I decided to rest for 15 mins and take in all that was around me.Bitterns boomed,Cuckoos called relentlessly and in the Poplar plantation ahead, I could hear the melancholy call of the Golden Oriole.Two males had been reported, seen and heard in the last week,now this was a bird I would love to see and hopefully photograph.Lakenheath reserve used to be a stronghold for these charismatic birds with up to 20 pairs breeding,now wer`e down to 2 possibly 3 pair here,with an odd pair present elsewhere.
Whilst finishing my coffee, I watched a roe deer move silently through the long grass,she stared at me intently, ears upright,
nose twitching nervously,then I heard two little bleats that I thought was an Otter cub.Watching the area in front, the grass moved and two fawns only a few days old moved closer to their mother.The first ones I`d ever seen in the wild,a wonderful encounter and a privelege to see.Boy was it worth getting up early for,as in my oppinion you just would not see these things later in the day!It was not yet 6 o`clock and and I`d already enjoyed some marvellous sights,the icing on the cake though would be to see the rare Golden Oriole and I`ll tell you how I got on in my next blog down here in the Fens!!!!

1 comment:

  1. Paul. An excellent account of your "mini break " in Suffolk and Norfolk.It certainly pays to be up and about at the crack of dawn.
    Really great images of the wonderful wildlife. Looking forward to part 3 !!