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Saturday, 23 July 2011

Lakenheath/Hockwold Fen.

                                                       Returning at dusk.
                                                       Bearded Tit.
                                                             Reed Warbler.
                                                            Marsh Harrier.
                                                      A photographers delight.
                                                       A bonus flypast.

F15 Eagle.
Stone Curlew.
A few days off work found me heading down the A1 and across country to the Suffolk/Norfolk border.On previous visits I`d gone down in early May,however I was confident that June would be just as rewarding.Lakenheath and a quick visit east to Minsmere were to be my initial destinations,with an odd early morning sortie round the local heaths!Golden Oriole are synonomous with the area and these were often heard amongst the poplar plantations on the reserve.Cuckoos were regularly seen patrolling, as hundreds of pairs of Reed and Sedge warblers breed amongst the dense reedbeds,they are of course perfect hosts for this parasitic migrant.

Marsh Harriers had bred successfully and numbers were on the increase again,proving that with good management and suitable habitat these fantastic birds will thrive.I watched them skimming the tops of the reedbeds on the lookout for small birds and Coot chicks which they seemed to favour.The weather was kind with blue skys which added to the enjoyment of being on the reserve.Many a time a deafening roar would be heard as the American F15 Eagle fighter jet would take off from the runway close by,maybe on their way to Libya on a mission.They are awesome beasts when seen at close range and the power they possess is frightening to say the least.

Also seen were Bearded Tits clinging to the reed stalks,their evocative ping ping call never to far away.There was so much going on, at times you didn`t know where to point the camera !Two pairs of Barn Owls were resident and both were feeding youngsters.Sightings were guaranteed of the birds,with dusk being my favourite time,most people had left by then and I had the place to myself as the sun went down!

Not too far away is another reserve, managed by the Suffolk wildlife trust and  noted for Kingfisher sightings.I set myself up in a hide and within half an hour was rewarded with great views of an adult bird diving into the shallow water emerging with sticklebacks to take back to their young.Perches had been strategically placed in front of the hide and the Kingfisher would regularly use them, allowing great photo opportunities!

On the way back to my campsite, I checked the local heathland for Stone Curlew and discovered up to 5 birds present in one particular area.Access to the heaths are prohibited till Nov, to give these rare birds space and encouragement to breed.It seems to work well, as again I believe numbers are up on last year.
I really enjoy visiting the Breks of Suffolk and wish I had more time to spend there with the camera.I`ll certainly return for my annual fix next year and hope to share with you again, some more magical moments of what it has to offer.Hope you enjoy this years account and images!!!!!!!!!!

1 comment:

  1. Paul. A very nice selection of images from the fens and heaths of Suffolk. I particularly like the very atmospheric shot of the barn owl returning with prey. You had a great time in one of your favourite parts of the country. Thanks for sharing your trip with us.