Thunder in the fens

On our way to Ely for a rehearsal this evening we stopped for a walk at Lakenheath Fen. When we arrived we went up onto the bank that overlooks an area called the Washland as it usually has a good selection of birds on it. We were amazed to see 21 great egrets and 20 little egrets. This is the largest number of great egrets I’ve ever seen in one place in the UK. They really are doing well in colonising this country.

Four of the 21 great egrets at Lakenheath today

There was also a single greenshank and several grey herons, plus mute swans and a small selection of ducks.

As we headed further into the reserve there was a very large storm cloud heading our way.

We decided to chance it, but before we reached a wooden shelter which overlooks one of the main marsh areas the heavens opened and we did get somewhat wet! But it was great to see the changing light as the rain eased off and finally stopped, and there’s a freshness after a storm that’s hard to beat.

Rain at Lakenheath

Brenda writes: “Weather is such a significant factor for moths. After the previous night’s wind a still night produced much greater variety again, 16 species, one of which was new. The beaded chestnut is quite similar to the lunar underwing in some respects but without the network of fine lines.

beaded chestnut

It was good to see 16 setaceous Hebrew characters and a burnished brass, and large yellow underwing numbers were up again (36). The big excitement today, however, was a beautiful male convolvulus hawk-moth. This is an immigrant that is unable to overwinter in this country and this is the first time we have had one.

New species for September 21st:
Moths: beaded chestnut, convolvulus hawk-moth

Birds = 218
Moths = 231
Wildflowers = 280