SUFFOLK TOURIST GUIDE

RSPB Lakenheath Fen



Twelve years ago, the land that is now Lakenheath Fen nature reserve was a carrot field with little to offer in the way of wildlife interest. Now it’s a wetland area filled with life: marsh harriers, hobbies, bearded tits and warblers. It is one of the few places in the UK where golden orioles breed. There is a flexible nature trail network, four viewpoints and a visitor centre. Lakenheath is home to several types of birds including the following:

Bearded Tit
You will often hear bearded tits before you see them. Listen for their bell-like 'pinging' calls, then watch them whizzing across the tops of the reeds. They perch up on the stems in calm weather and feed on fallen seeds on the mud at the base of the reedbed.

Bittern
Bitterns are perfectly adapted for life in the reedbeds at Lakenheath. The male's 'booming' song sounds like someone blowing gently over the top of a milk bottle, but they are quite hard to see as they are very well camouflaged.



Golden oriole
Golden orioles nest at only a few locations in the UK. While the male birds are canary-yellow and black, they are very hard to see as they hide in the poplar plantations. It's easier to listen for their beautiful, fluty song in spring.

Hobby
Hobbies are falcons which arrive at Lakenheath in late April, leaving in September. They are very agile and fast - they hunt small birds like martins, and dragonflies, which they catch with their feet. Watch carefully and you'll see them passing their prey up to their beaks to eat in flight!

Marsh harrier
Look for marsh harriers gliding over the reedbed with their wings held upwards in a shallow 'v'. In spring, pairs perform their breathtaking 'skydancing' displays high in the sky.



RSPB Lakenheath Year Round

Each season brings a different experience at Lakenheath Fen. In spring, the air is filled with birdsong as they compete to establish territories and attract a mate. Look out for grey herons, marsh harriers, kestrels, hobbies, sedge, reed and grasshopper warblers, gadwall, tufted ducks, and reed buntings. In summer, look out for young birds making their first venture into the outside world and during this time marsh harriers start bringing in food for their fledged young.

Autumn brings large movements of migrating birds - some heading south to a warmer climate, others seeking refuge in the UK from the cold Arctic winter. You may spot teals, gadwalls, tufted ducks, wigeons, shovelers, and sometimes whooper swans. In winter, look out for large flocks of birds gathering to feed, or flying at dusk to form large roosts to keep warm. Winter features many of the same birds as autumn, but without hobbies.

Children-friendly events take place regularly at RSPB Lakenheath; more are planned for the future.

Information for dog owners Dogs are only allowed on public footpaths and bridleways. There are two trails, a 3.4 mile out and back trail, and a 3.5 mile circular trail. Neither are suitable for wheelchairs or pushchairs yet.



Getting to RSPB Lakenheath Fen

From Lakenheath village, travel north on B1112 for about 2 miles (3.2 km). Go over the level crossing and after 200 m, turn left into reserve entrance.

From Hockwold village, travel south on B1112 for nearly 1 mile (1.6 km), go over the river bridge and after 200 m, turn right into reserve entrance.

For more information on RSPB Lakenheath Fen, call 01842 863400.

Click here for more information on Birdwatching in Suffolk.

Also, check out other RSPB Suffolk Reserves, such as--
RSPB Minsmere
RSPB Havergate Island
and
RSPB North Warren

Have you visited RSPB Lakenheath Fen? Please send us your reviews and comments to suffolkguides.admin@suffolktouristguide.com.

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