Own Transport Trip to NT Wicken Fen and Burwell Fen – Saturday 20 January

Our Group visited the National Trust’s reserve at Wicken Fen for three walks.

Morning

We scanned the reedbeds of Sedge Fen, and found Marsh Harrier, as we walked down to the West Hide overlooking the Mere. This week’s freezing weather had left the Mere completely frozen over but that didn’t discourage the ducks. They circled repeatedly before deciding to land on the ice giving us nice views of Teal, Wigeon and a few Shoveler. On our way back, we found Fieldfare and Redwing, both winter thrushes, and saw the Konik ponies huddled together against the biting wind.

Female Shoveller landing on Ice (Mark Turner)

Afternoon

Our numbers were swelled to 17 after lunch. As we set off from the Visitor Centre, we were treated to a fly-over of Snipe – our third of the day. We spent a couple of hours walking a circuit of Baker’s Fen where we saw a pair of Stonechat perched up.

The star species was definitely Little Owl. We saw two of them obligingly sitting out on a woodpile at Priory Farm. The nearby barns and trees acted as shelter for a range of farmland birds, including many Reed Bunting and a Yellowhammer, along with Chaffinch and Pied Wagtail.

2 Little Owls on a woodpile in daylight
Pair of Little Owls on a woodpile in daylight (Mark Turner)


We also looked out over Burwell Fen, hoping to see the Short-Eared Owl, but the cold and wind was off-putting for many species, including us!

Dusk

Lastly, we headed out onto Sedge Fen to witness the harriers coming in to roost. There were at least eight harriers, with both Hen Harrier and Marsh Harrier present, and we had a close fly-by from a Merlin.

Marsh Harrier over Sedge Fen (Mark Turner)

Over the whole day, we saw 48 bird species and 3 species of deer. Congratulations to everyone who braved the cold wind and especially to the nine people who did all three walks over nearly seven hours.

Huge thanks to Mark Turner for all the images

Fieldfare (Mark Turner)
Reed Bunting (Mark Turner)
Konik Ponies, introduced to Wicken Fen in 2001 (Felix Power)
Sunset (Felix Power)