Saturday, 23 July 2016

A Couple of Hours in the Mere Hide at Lakenheath Fen

20th July 2016

The Mere Hide at Lakenheath Fen was opened on the 31st January 2014 and there have been some good sightings from this hide including Bitterns and Kingfishers. However, for me it is a different story. Up until now it has been one of those hides that I can't bring myself to walk past just in case I miss something, but the reality is that I have never seen anything of note.

However, the reason for visiting today was to escape the searing heat and to have a well-earned rest, so anything that popped up would be a bonus. Very quiet on the bird front, but there was a lot of Odonata activity across the floating algae in front of the hide. This type of habitat is loved by damselflies such as the Blue-tailed Damselfly, watched over by a couple of Common Blue Damselflies on their flag-pole.

Red-eyed Damselflies were both common and busy mating, as was this female Emperor laying her eggs on vegetation just under the waterline.

However, back to the birds and the only action so far was this adult Sedge Warbler collecting food for its brood nearby, and obviously damselflies are top of the menu.

But then an unexpected visitor, a fly-by Bittern flying from its nest to catch fish for its young. Not very good I'm afraid, as the trees in the background made focusing difficult, but a record of the day nevertheless.

But then to finish off a magical day I heard the call of a Kingfisher getting louder and louder, but still not visible. The reason for this was that it was sitting on the roof of the hide!! So there we were, wondering what was going to happen next. Eventually it dropped into the water just a yard in front of the hide and flew with a fish to one of the perches provided and sat there for a few minutes allowing some great opportunities.

After you have eaten your fish there is time for a bit of cleaning and time to address that itch.

Then time for another fishing sortie, again starting from the top of the hide, dropping into the water and emerging with......A PIKE!!!!

So this top predator doesn't always get its own way.

Well, at least this week, the Mere Hide came good and I will always give it a few minutes whenever I am passing.


  1. smashing photos as always ... can you read the ring on the Sedge Warbler? I can make out NHM 683. Presumably rung at the reserve itself.

  2. Thanks. Only the "683" is part of the ring number. The first two lines are the London Museum address.