Thursday, 6 July 2017

Bitterns and Kingfishers at Lakenheath Fen

1st July 2017

We had to go no further than the veranda overlooking the pond at the visitor centre to start our day of photography. The first bird to put in an appearance was a Whitethroat which was foraging in one of the trees. However, after a couple of minutes it decided to have a rather half-hearted bath and thereafter looked a bit straggly.

However today the star turn here was a juvenile Kingfisher (note the brown feet). It was present for most of the time around the pond, initially on one of the perches at the far end of the pool, but then once we had hidden ourselves a little better, visited the nearest perch which produced some reasonable photos.

Along the trail today were numerous butterflies, dragonflies and flowers. Unfortunately, I had decided to leave my macro lens at home and therefore all my insect  and flower photos were taken with a hand-held 560mm lens at a range of 12 feet. Not ideal, but at least it captures the mood.

There was a good selection of butterflies which remained fairly still, but probably made easier when you are 12 feet away.


Green-veined White

Large Skipper

Meadow Brown

Red Admiral

Red Admiral

Small Tortoiseshell

Small Tortoiseshell
There were a few species of dragonflies and damselflies flying, but because of the heat were rarely settling. The only ones that sat for long enough were Black-tailed Skimmer and Ruddy Darter.

Black-tailed Skimmer

Ruddy Darter

The most spectaculer flowers were spikes of Pyramidal Orchids, but the big prize must go to the Large-flowered Hemp-nettle which was growing in profusion along a 15 metre section. The flower in no longer found in my home county of Hertfordshire and is Nationally Scarce.

Pyramidal Orchid

Large-flowered Hemp-nettle
In the pool just before the Joist Fen viewpoint a Great Crested Grebe was giving her family of humbugs a free ride.

At the viewpoint everything was vey quiet with no sign of any cranes, a few Marsh Harriers wafting around in the distance and some pinging Bearded Tits keeping well out of view. But the undoubted star of the show today was the Bittern which performed a couple of fly-pasts at reasonably close range to the thrill of the assembled gathering.

Lakenheath Fen never disappoints!!!

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