The autumnal feel on the reserve has been backed up by a few typical autumn species emerging or migrating through the reserve in the past few weeks.
An Osprey has spent just over a week in the Strumpshaw/Rockland area, last being seen on the 9 September. Tower Hide has provided a very good spectacle of birds over the past few weeks due to the water levels being lowered creating a good amount of mud at the edges for waders including Ruff, Greenshank, Common and Green sandpipers as well as providing a hint of just how many Water rail are on the reserve - one morning 8 individuals were seen on one scan. The muddy fringes and shallow pools have also provided regular flocks of herons and egrets with 12 and 6 seen respectively. The pools themselves have also attracted large numbers of wildfowl with 414 Shoveller, 82 Teal, 34 Gadwall, 25 Mallards and a Garganey being seen on one count alone. A pectoral sandpiper and 3 Little Stints were seen at Buckenham briefly on 2 September. Bitterns have been seen in the usual places, while Kingfishers are being seen all over the reserve, with 3 seen together at Fen Hide and 2 regularly being seen from reception as well as singles from Tower Hide. Bearded tit family parties have been seen at the river end of sandy wall and from reception, they often flock together in noisy groups at this time of the year before the young ‘explode’ from the reedbed to populate new areas.
On the non-avian front Willow Emerald Damselflies have put on a good show this year, with relatively modest numbers seen in the ditch edge near the fen boardwalk for nearly 2 months now, they have also been spotted at the pond dipping pool this year for the first time, hopefully indicating that they are spreading further around the reserve. Otters have been seen regularly in the past 2 weeks, however the sightings are not quite daily so an element of luck is still required to connect with them. Swallowtail butterflies had a very poor second brood this year due to a cool, cloudy August, just a few individuals were seen throughout August, hopefully this means it will be a bumper first brood next year, we’ll have to wait and see!
Over the coming weeks we should expect the wildfowl numbers to increase, particularly at Buckenham and Cantley where Wigeon, teal, greylags and Pink footed geese should start to return. On the fen we may get an increase in Bittern sightings due to continental migrants, waders should continue passing through and the Marsh Harrier roost will increase. Come and have a look at the reserve and see what you can find, in the autumn anything is possible!