Autumn gathers momentum at Lackford

Hawthorn

This week on the reserve has seen the first redwing joining us for winter, joining lovely birds like long-tailed tit, grey wagtail, a variety of winter ducks and green woodpeckers. A surprise visit from a black tern and a great white egret were highlights too. A selection of hardier dragonflies and butterflies hang on and fungi are popping up here and there!

This week on the reserve has brought in a wave of the first redwings- smart winter thrushes that will spend the colder months working their way through the berry bushes on site. These are among our first migrants and in the coming weeks more will arrive along with the first fieldfares. Redwing can often be seen flying high overhead, more often at night, making high pitched ‘seep seep’ calls as they go- so you know they are there even in the dark!

hawthorn

Hawthorn

They will be joined here by a large influx of young blackbirds (born this year), which often go unnoticed as migrants because they just increase the number of resident birds and all of a sudden it can seem like there’s a lot of blackbirds about!

There’s a few other interesting birds to look out for on the reserve at the moment- on the feeders at the visitor centre, marsh tit and the odd group of long-tailed tit are visiting- the latter should become more frequent as autumn progresses, and a female sparrowhawk is often hanging around in the shadows of the trees behind- sometimes she will get really close to the window and to folk sitting inside. A late swallow on Wednesday (2nd) and a house martin on Friday (4th) may well be our last records for the year. Every couple of days a pretty grey wagtail is seen visiting the pond in front of the Centre too- keep an eye out for him/her.

Another bird that is quite conspicuous at the moment is the jay, which can often be seen on Sayer’s Breck or on the Breckland field near the Visitor Centre, either filling it’s crop with acorns or burying them, having flown some distance, up to a mile, from the oak tree it took them from. It’s a time of year when they are much more noticeable, as are green woodpeckers too- especially young birds still finding their feet in the art of ant and grub-hunting!

Jay at Lackford

Jay at Lackford

While Paul’s hide brought in our first redwing sighting on Friday (4th) it has also been giving good views of winter ducks such as shoveler, pochard, wigeon, gadwall and teal, though any body of water on the reserve should have these. Kingfisher have been good from here too. On the Sailing Lake on 2nd we had a surprise visit from a very late black tern! It didn’t stay long but it did delight visitors as they always do. Moving along to Ash Carr, visitors have been seeing treecreeper, nuthatch and great spotted woodpecker regularly here, sometimes following tits in mixed feeding groups typical of autumn. A great white egret visited Fuller’s Mill hide on 2nd and this can be a good place to see little egret and little grebe too- Bess’s Hide is also worth a check for these.

We are always on the lookout for interesting fungi at this time of year, following some lovely earthstars which we posted about earlier in the week. When we have milder spells, hardy butterflies like red admiral, comma and peacock are up and about, along with willow emerald damselflies, who must be tougher than they look! Common darter and ruddy darter are still about too.

For the most up-to-date sightings, pop in for a chat first on your next visit before you walk round- it’s an interesting time of year with things changing rapidly and we can let you know what’s where!