Wicken Fen is one of Britain’s oldest nature reserves and it has been a National Trust property since 1899. Home to thousands of species it provides a glimpse of what the fens of East Anglia must have been like before they were drained. Our group arrived just after the reserve opened at 10.00am and we were soon on our way in search of the wildlife. One of the first birds that we saw from a hide was a little grebe fledgling – called by some, a baby little grebe. Also marsh and water plants soon attracted our attention with yellow flag, ragged robin and marsh thistle amongst the few that I could actually name! Many in the group enjoyed the wonderful display of orchids near the Tower Hide.
With the cool weather preventing the emergence and flight of dragonflies, damselflies and other insects, Sally and I decided to concentrate on finding the birds. We had good views of a bittern (or two) and we also managed to find the male garganey. By the end of the day we had recorded just over 50 species of bird and we thought we must have seen everything – but back on the coach we discovered that others had seen kingfisher, hobby, barn owl, bullfinch, bewick swan (and a photograph to prove it!), kestrel and cuckoo. However the bird highlight of the day was not seen by anyone! Some of the group decided to go on the 50 minute boat trip through the fen.
Paul heard the bird first and, with the boat’s engine silenced, they slid quietly along the reedbed channel, listening to the reeling song of a grasshopper warbler. That’s the kind of bird that I like – the right bird, in the right place, doing the right thing. (Except that I wasn’t on the boat!)
A trouble free journey, good birds, good companions, a lovely place and it didn’t rain.
Thanks to Sally for organising the trip and thanks to Steve and Sally for the photographs.