20th April 2013
I normally visit Lakenheath during the second week in May when the Hobbys and Marsh Harriers are all back in good numbers and the Golden Orioles are singing. However, I decided this year to pay an early visit to see what was around and so set off with William Marsh. As soon as we opened the car doors in the car park we were greeted by the call of a Linnet sitting in a nearby Corsican Pine. Unfortunately only a female, but nevertheless what a great start to the day.
Paid a quick visit to the visitor centre while Bill grabbed a coffee and had a look at the feeders next to the pond and the reeds out the back. The most numerous birds by far were Reed Buntings which were happy to hang on to some reed stems before visiting the feeders.
We then walked along the river bank in the hope of seeing some terns or Hobbys over the flood but it was very quiet. The highlight was a male Garganey tucked into the bank on the far side, but it was very distant and couldn't really be appreciated with binoculars alone. As we made our way north along the river towards Joist Fen we came across the resident Whooper Swan, which is now stranded at Lakenheath with a damaged wing. Still couldn't resist a photo.
We eventually arrived at the Joist Fen viewpoint and started scanning the skies and reed bed for activity. The only Hobby we saw all day was about a mile away at the far end of the reed bed, although this was more than compensated for by us being surrounded by three extremely close booming Bitterns. However, the stars of the show were a pair of Marsh Harriers building their nest just a few hundred yards in front of us. Here are some shots of the male bringing in nest material.