Saturday, 30 May 2015

Lakenheath Fen on a cold and wet Sunday

So much for May being early Summer - or even late Spring, come to that.  I went to Lakenheath Fen last Sunday in the hope that I might have a peaceful day out, and maybe even see something interesting.  When I arrived the main car park was full and I was directed into the overflow area: not a good sign when wanting to avoid crowds.  Talking to the rangers it soon became clear why there were so many people at the reserve: a Little Bittern had taken up residence, and the place was full of twitchers keen to add the bird to their "collection".

No sooner had I arrived than it started to rain, so I set up in one of the hides watching a pair of coots feed their (very hungry) offspring.

Occasionally we photographers set ourselves pointless challenges, and I decided to attempt a picture of a coot in mid-dive - poised about to enter the water.  After countless failures (dozens of pictures of coot bums and water swirls) I came to the conclusion that coots must dunk their heads before diving - hence the desired image wasn't actually possible.  Until proved otherwise I'll stick to this story, but I'll post a couple of "near misses" to show that I was trying.

Apart from the coots, there was a Little Grebe (in the far distance) and a family of mute swans.

It stopped raining eventually, so I left the hide and headed further into the reserve.  Reed Buntings were everywhere, but never quite got close enough for a decent picture.

I then came across the crowd of twitchers (not quite sure what the collective noun is).  We all heard the elusive Little Bittern, but only a couple of people managed to see it during the day.

Other Bitterns were booming - amazing to hear - but, again, none were to be seen.  There were dozens of Hobbies around, but way too far away for photography.  A couple of Marsh Harriers came a lot closer (relatively speaking!) and I was able to watch as one attempted to steal what looked like a rat from another.  Not great pictures, but an amazing spectacle.