Listen out for Cetti's Warbler, Skylark, Greenfinch...

Listen out for Cetti's Warbler, Skylark, Greenfinch...

Carlton Marshes by John Lord

Golden Plover have been mesmerising visitors as large flocks gather on Peto's Marsh. Resident birds are starting to sing across the reserve, listen out for Cetti's Warbler, Skylark, Dunnock and Greenfinch. Read on for wildlife news from across the Suffolk Broads, Carlton Marshes habitat creation updates, and to hear about the volunteers that make it all happen!

There continue to be good numbers of Golden Plover at Carlton Marshes, with flocks of 340 or so seen shimmering across Peto's Marsh. Flocks of Golden Plover seem to shimmer as they fly in tight groups with their wings beating rapidly across our flooded winter landscapes. In winter Golden Plover can be seen on southern marshes and estuaries, but they will be heading north soon to breed on moorland. Other star species at Carlton Marshes continue to be Short-eared Owl and Barn Owl, with photographers coming back everyday to get the perfect shot. Check out our SWT NE Sites Manager twitter for more of these brilliant photos.

Our resident bird species are letting us know that spring is here across the broads reserves. Those birds that have stayed in the UK all through the winter start to sing again early on in the year. It's a perfect time to try your hand at identify birds by song, before the migrants arrive and make it more confusing! At Carlton Marshes Cetti's Warbler are difficult to see, being tiny brown birds that skulk in bushes and bramble. Their song however bursts out loudly from patches of bramble and willow. The volume of their song makes it unmistakable when you hear it. It already seems like it will be a good year for Greenfinches across the reserves. Gunton Warren is a particularly good place to see and hear them. Find one sat high on a patch of gorse or a holly bush and listen to them calling and singing. Skylark are famous for their beautiful song and can be spotted singing high over open areas such as marshland and agricultural fields. Listen for a continuous warbling song and then watch as the Skylark parachutes from high in the sky, down to the earth singing as it goes. 


Chainsaw work has finished for the year, as it is important not to disturb nesting birds and other wildlife throughout the spring. Whilst completing winter work we often see and find interesting things. Life on logs can be fascinating and I would encourage anyone to find a fallen branch or log and explore what life you can find there. I've added some pictures of my favourite fungi finds from this winter. Some of the most exciting things to find can be signs of wildlife that are usually hard to spot. Signs of Otter are abundant at Carlton Marshes and our other marsh reserves and whilst the ground is still wet and muddy it can be easy to find their prints. Otter prints can be differentiated from other mammals by a few factors. They have five toes and species such as dogs and foxes only have four, it is worth noting that you cannot always see all five toes. In the picture below you cannot distinguish the five toes, however you can clearly see webbing which is another important feature to look for. The size is also important, with Otter prints being roughly 5-7cm in width. It is possible to confuse American Mink prints, however these are much smaller being 3.5cm or less.

The visitor centre build and works to improve access are progressing well, however there is continuing disruption at Carlton Marshes whilst this work is completed. The path that runs in front of the new visitor centre build is now closed whilst the bridge is being built that will connect the visitor centre to the nature reserve. Other path improvement works will start this month, which means that the path that takes you past Sprat's Water will also be closed. We are sorry for the inconvenience this will cause, however we are sure that visitors will think it is worth the wait when we have new, beautiful and accessible paths, hides and visitor centre. 


Ellen Shailes at for more information about volunteering across the Suffolk Broads reserves or

Barry Bradnum at for more information about the Waveney Valley Wildlife Group

Current volunteering roles:

Dog Ambassador - Carlton Marshes nature reserve and across Lowestoft

Visitor centre volunteer - Carlton Marshes nature reserve

Learning volunteer - Carlton Marshes nature reserve and across Lowestoft

and more... 

Heritage Fund

Thanks to the generosity of our supporters and a £4 million grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, our vision to buy and restore 384 acres of land for wildlife in the Broads National Park is taking flight.