Leaders: Gi Grieco & Dave Pearsons
The annual trip to this this relatively new RSPB reserve is always a good day out and the most recent was no exception with a good selection of birds and wildlife. Twelve members assembled and ready to go on a morning that was already warm with the sun yet to break through. One of the draws of the site has been Golden Oriole, a species we’ve been fortunate to encounter on previous trips, but with only a couple of sightings the previous year and none this year so far it looks like this bright-coloured Mediterranean species has now been lost as a UK breeding species. The other draw has been the arrival of Common Crane in recent years and if we were lucky we’d hope to catch up with this species.
Heading along the track parallel to the rail line, we met fellow SOG members, Margie and David, who were leading a Lavenham Bird Club meeting and we kept bumping in to each throughout the day viewing the various wildlife to be found at the site. Along this area we heard several Reed Warblers, Whitethroat with the occasional Blackcap and Garden Warbler. One species that was very evident was Cuckoo, of which we heard and saw several around the site including at least two ‘bubbling’ females, that some members had not heard for a while. A species that is declining in other parts of Suffolk it was good to see a healthy population at Lakenheath.
From the first covered viewpoint a scan across the reedbed revealed three Marsh Harriers and Hobby, the latter species were encountered in much lower numbers than previous years. In the area we were to find lots of other wildlife, as we did for the rest of the trip, and this included Red-headed Cardinal Beetle, Dronefly, Nettle-tap Moth and a very obliging Common Lizard.
Continuing along the track, other wildlife kept us occupied with various odonata including Blue-tailed, Azure, Large Red and Variable Damselfly with Four-spotted Chaser and Hairy Dragonfly. Several Drinker moth caterpillars were found as were a couple of Garden Tiger moth and several Nursery Web Spiders were glimpsed amongst the vegetation and a bright Garden Chafer. Bird life included a few the same warbler species but included Sedge Warbler.
At the far point we encountered Marsh Harriers, an handful of Hobby, distant Buzzard, fly over Bittern, a close Cuckoo that showed well a did a Cetti’s Warbler and from along the river path two Cranes amongst the reeds.
En route back to the wash we saw a few Mayfly, while at the wash were several ducks including a male Garganey and the usual Great Crested Grebes.
After lunch we headed to Lackford Lakes with a Hobby, Buzzard overhead, on the slough two Common Sandpipers and ducks including Tufted Duck, Gadwall and Shoveler. Some of the members then carried on to the far end of the reserve to see Red-crested Pochard that had bred on the site that Spring.