Flylady Photography by Wendy Cooper

An Afternoon Walk

Trip Reports > An Afternoon Walk
28/02/2016 - 18:22

Well recently, after a grey weekend, I decided to pop up to RSPB Lakenheath for an afternoon's walk.  It was a bright sunny day, with  light breezes and quite cold, but crisp.

 

I arrived at about one o'clock and set off from the Visitor centre, where I paused first on the deck to watch the birds just outside in the reeds and trees around the edge of the pond.  It is quite a suntrap and there were a number of Reed Buntings sunning themselves, giving some close up views.    

Female Reed Bunting

Male Reed Bunting

There were also quite a few Chaffinches, Blue and Great Tits flitting about - occasionally making use of the feeding station, but mostly keeping an eye on me!

Male Chaffinch

Great Tit

Female Chaffinch

Every so often I could hear the chattering and chirping of Goldfinches, catching glimpses of them flitting high into the trees above me; one of these was rather bold and came and perched very close, using only it's branch to try and 'hide' behind - there were a few coy one-eyed glances at me, before it carried on surveying around it.

Goldfinch

A sudden movement in the reeds caught my eye, a very pretty female Reed Bunting had landed and was peering around through the reeds intently, 

It appeared that she was being followed by a rather handsome male, who landed in the edge of the reeds nearby, 

After they both flew off, I decided that I really ought to get walking, so I went along the path to the riverbank, which although rather muddy in places, was walkable with care.  

 

My first sighting once up on the bank, looking back towards Brandon Fen, was a Great White Egret, who took off and glided across to a new spot to look for food.  

Great White Egret

Looking above me, I could see a few Lapwings in flight,  

and it soon became apparent that they were on their way to join with a larger flock, which were swirling around against a backdrop of blue skies and cumulus clouds.  

Walking (and sliding in places!) along the bank, I kept a hopeful eye open on some of the reeds across the water for a flash of blue, however none was spotted although ahead of me I saw a Little Egret on the far bank.  As soon as it sighted me it was up and off, flying along the river, 

before settling again further down amongst the vegetation along the edge.  It stayed there for a while, elegantly picking it's way along as from time to time it caught and consumed a tasty morsel.  

Passing the stile for the first watchpoint, which was closed due to the conditions, I continued along the bank to the Joist Fen watchpoint.

 

Watching ahead along the river, there were a pair of Mute Swams paddling gracefully upstream,

they gradually went out into the middle, whilst one kept watch as the other dabbled under water. 

 

A little further along, grazing and grooming on the same side of the river as I, there were a number of Greylag Geese; occasionally one would start 'honking' loudly and from time to time, others would fly in to join them across the reedbeds on my left.

 

As I got closer, they moved closer to the water,

 

Before joining some Canada geese for a paddle.

Just past the geese, at the water's edge, I also saw what appeared to be a juvenile Canadian goose, who hadn't got all of it's colours in quite the right order! 

As I reached the gate for the path to the watchpoint, there were a number of Mute Swans resting on the grass.  Right at the water's edge, were a pair of cygnets, who appeared to be having a stretching and wingsize comparison session..

The 'Stretch-off' continued peacefully and I turned off left back onto the reserve.

 

I sat for a short while at the Joist watchpoint, however there was a digger working over the back of the reeds and apart from a pair of Coots, no-one was on the water.  Looking back over the reedbed behind me, I watch a solitary Kestrel hovering for a while, before it settled in one of the trees alongside the river to keep watch.  

 

Starting the walk back along the track, every so often, I would hear rustlings amongst the reeds, occasionally followed by a fast flash of rich brown across in front of me and the unmistakeable song of a wren.  Despite peering carefully in the reed margins, they were staying out of sight!

 

Suddenly, on the path ahead of me, a small stripey brown bird appeared, it was a female Reed Bunting, pecking around in the grass.  

On seeing me she hopped up onto a hogweed stem alongside the path and gave a few cheeky over the shoulder poses before flying off.  

As I wandered along the path, aside from Wrens singing and the sound of the Rooks up some way ahead, it was very quiet.  Above the fields across the railway line on my right, I watched a Buzzard turning lazy circles as I walked along.  

 

I turned left onto the grass track which leads towards the first watchpoint, seeing another little brown 'flash', only this time, the Wren sat calmly in the edge of the reeds watching me for sometime.  

After another Wren flew across in front of it, it followed in hot pursuit, deep into the reeds. so I walked on towards the watchpoint.  

 

As I walked, I scanned the tops of the reeds in the hope of Bearded Reedlings, however, none were to be seen either along the path or once I reached the viewpoint, where I stopped for a while, watching two Coots chasing around the water.  

 

As I was about to leave, something appeared through the air, at speed, heading towards the reeds on my left.  It was a Bittern!  I managed to hastily grab the camera, however only managed a record shot.

I waited a short while, hoping that just maybe it would stalk around the edge of the reeds, however, it had gone deep undercover!   

 

Carrying on along the path, I watched more and more Rooks coming in from across the fields to roost, 

They were settling high up in the trees and were making a lot of noise as they sorted out the pecking order of who sat where.   

Some were occasionally clambering over their neighbours either for a better view or in an attempt to get a better branch to perch on for the night.

Up towards the Visitor Centre, on my left, in a clearing, a pair of brightly coloured Pheasants caught my eye.  

 

Whilst further along the track, in a bank of brambles, I could hear singing., so I paused to see if the singer would appear; after a moment or two, it did, a handsome looking Dunnock.  

Back at the Visitor Centre, there were still a few Reed Buntings enjoying the last of the afternoon's sun. 

 

I walked back to the car park and decided to have a little wander around the Brandon Fen end, which previously I'd never walked.  It is woodland on one side, with a reed marsh to the other, where cattle graze.  

 

 I followed the path round, first passing a pair of early evening rabbits who were out feeding,

and as I followed the path alongside the marsh, a Kestrel flew overhead.  Turning at the top of the path, a number of thrush sized birds flew up off the ground and up into the trees ahead of me, because of the light, I could only see silhouettes, so proceeded quietly in the hope of getting better views.  

 

Instead of getting better views of the birds, however, ahead of me through the trees, I could make out four fluffy white behinds.  Almost tip-toeing,  I managed to get to the edge of the path without scaring them off

It was a small group of Roe Deer.  

 

I stood quietly at the edge of the path and once they realised that I was coming no closer, they carried on grazing.  

There appeared to be two does and two bucks, both the bucks having velvet covered antlers.

 

 

After a while they moved further back into the woods, so I continued with my stroll, now heading back towards the car park.  

 

High up in the trees on my left, I could see some of the birds I'd seen fly up earlier.  There were quite a number of them dotted around, getting ready to roost for the night.  This time I was luckier in seeing them.

They were a bird I had not seen in many years, Redwings!  Now I was watching several, as they perched up high, nicely lit by the sinking sun.  

 

On reaching the car park, the sun was well on it's way down, so it was time to go home.  As I headed back towards the Airbase and the road home, there was a final treat or two in store, two Barn Owls, one hunting and one perched along the roadside.  The rest of my journey home was with a silly grin and a view of a glorious red sunset.

 

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