Whitethroat (Lakenheath RSPB)- by Tim James

(Picture: Common Whitethroat – by Tim James)

As I write this, it was only an hour ago that we received our first report of a singing sedge warbler here at RSPB Lakenheath Fen in 2022 – and it feels like Spring has well and truly arrived. When you walk around now, blackcap and chiffchaff are easily heard, and there are young moorhens and mallards on the pond at the Visitor Centre. In the past couple of weeks we have had separate reports of two ospreys passing over the reserve on their migration too.

May is a superb time to visit the reserve as not only will we have the early Spring bird arrivals well into the throes of raising their first broods of chicks, but we should also start to see cuckoo, hobby, whitethroats and swifts turn up too- the trails will be heaving with exotic song from these summer arrivals. In the past week we have taken delivery of four swift nest boxes too, and we hope to have these installed on the Visitor Centre building ready for the coming breeding season. Our aim is to have them up by mid-May, so look for these on your next visit. Eventually we hope to have a camera installed in one of them so that when the birds do settle (it could take just a few days, or a few years) we can watch them live from inside the Visitor Centre. There are also plans afoot for a more modern television which can have a ‘split screen’ allowing for multiple nest box cameras to be showing at once. Watch this space!

Our work parties have been busy with the unenviable job of filling potholes along the entrance track in the past two weeks- leading both to the staff car park and the main visitor car park. It can get a bit monotonous after a few hours and is really tough-going in bad weather, but luckily the sun has shone for them and they’ve trooped through it. The end result is that access for is now much more pleasant. We are forever grateful to our work party volunteers who help us to do so much more than we could alone with just our paid staff. Work party duties are a little limited following the theft of so much equipment in our two recent burglaries; but we are focussing on what we can do with what we have left.

We hope to be able to welcome you to the reserve in the coming weeks, and please do visit us in May for what should be a spectacular show of singing warblers, hunting hobbies and a beautiful array of butterflies and dragonflies too. We should have common lizards basking in the sun on the raised Fen bed outside the Visitor Centre and newts in the raised pond too.
With best wishes for a contented Spring,

Heidi Jones (Visitor Experience Officer, RSPB Lakenheath Fen).

Events at RSPB Lakenheath Fen- May-July 2022

Places for all events need to be booked online- please visit events.rspb.org.uk/lakenheathfen to read more and book tickets.

Friday’s ForayAdults: £7 (non-RSPB members) £5 (RSPB members).
Children (10+ years): £3 (non-RSPB members) £2 (RSPB members).
Monthly guided walk – 11am-1pm, usually the first friday in each month, so:
6 May, 3 June, 1 July.
Monthly guided walk with a member of the reserve team, taking in current highlights

Treasures of the Moth Trap
Adults: £3 (non-RSPB members), £2 (RSPB members)
Children (under 16’s) go free!
10am to 11am:
26 May, 30 June, 28 July.
Monthly moth-trap opening at the Visitor Centre.

Harrier & Bittern Nest Watches

Join the wardening team to help us complete our bittern and marsh harrier nest watch surveys. Breakfast, transport, stellar views and early-morning wildlife all included!
17 May, 31 May, 13 June (7:30-12:30am).
Price: Adults £40 (RSPB members), £50 (non-RSPB members).

The Sound of Spring- Dawn Chorus at Lakenheath
A dawn chorus walk on International Dawn Chorus Day -we will look for cuckoos and warblers!
Sunday 1 May (6am-9am)
Price: Adults £20 (RSPB members), £16 (non-RSPB members), Under 18’s £10 (RSPB members), £8 (non-RSPB members).

The Butterflies and Dragonflies of Lakenheath Fen
A guided walk during peak season for butterflies and dragonflies at Lakenheath Fen.
Saturday 11 June (11am-1pm)
Price: Adults £10 (RSPB members), £12 (non-RSPB members).