We finally got time to go and see the Little Bittern that has been resident at Lakenheath RSPB reserve for sometime.
This reserve gives me mixed feelings, I used to visit when there was no reserve, no reedbeds and just Poplar plantations viewed from the river bank for the amazing Golden Orioles, since the reserve was formed and the reedbeds built the Orioles have gone. Now they say this is due to climate change… I have a feeling its not that simple, the plantations have changed in look and makeup (reeds encroaching the understory for a start, plus dying Poplars) since the RSPB took over and I have a nasty feeling that may have something to do with it too….
Any way, we arrived early afternoon and walked out to the far end where the Little Bittern has been holding territory. Almost straight away we heard the bird singing (if it can be called that!). It continued to “bark” (and yes it sounds like a dog!) on and off for the next hour. Unfortunately we split up by about a 100yards and I saw the bird fly from one set of reeds to another…. Paul didn’t. However after I walked around the end of the bed and could hear the bird calling again Paul and the others saw it climb up the reeds and fly back! This time I only saw it for a fraction of a second!
The Little Bittern spot.
Whilst we waited for the Little Bittern we marveled at the huge number of Cuckoos on the reserve, more than I have seen for years. The other local species kept us amused, Reed and Sedge Warblers busy feeding young, Common Terns fishing and a single Hobby hawking over us high in the blue sky.
One of the many Cuckoo’s.
Dragonflies included Broad-bodied Chaser and Hairy.
We had a wander up to Joist Fen viewpoint but didn’t really look as the sun was in our eyes and it was hot sitting there! We paid for this as, as we left and walked a little way down the path everyone else ran towards us… odd… a squint at the pager told us “Collard Pratincole over Joist Fen”, oh dear. Back we went. It transpired it had actually been seen off the river bank further up but we were not really supposed to go up there as the Cranes become distressed. Scanning from the watch point failed to produce anything and with a long drive home ahead we had to leave. Needless to say it showed again later. Glad it wasn’t a lifer! Still this time we did see the Cranes!
On the way back we popped into a picnic spot just near Barton Mills roundabout for the loos… they were shut but as I got out of the car I nearly stepped on a Cream spot Tiger moth! A new one for me… needless to say I picked it off the road and put it somewhere safer!