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Wicken Fen 2020?? (1 Viewer)

jqmhelios

Well-known member
Hey guys what's going on.
Wicken Fen has sort of been a go-to nature reserve for me, being almost literally on my doorstep. I love visiting in the winter to observe the wildlife, however recently I have been discouraged because the Wicken Fen twitter does not appear to mention hen harriers. My current camera can't handle the distances very well but I enjoy using my outventure binoculars to view them.
Has anyone seen the hen harriers here this winter? They should be given this breeding season has more or less been great.
In 2018 I saw no less than four harriers, three females and one male coming in to roost
In 2019 I saw two males and one female
In January 2020 I saw nothing but a lonely pair.
I hope this was just me missing out and picking bad days to visit (weekend) rather than hen harriers genuinely choosing not to stay here.
Has anyone ever seen owls here?
Thanks!
Jake
 
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wolfbirder

Well-known member
Think a male was reported yesterday. But for whatever reason it seems this year fewer Hen Harriers are wintering here. It probably does vary year to year. Also, I was under the impression that the HH's that over-winter here are often (not always) from the Continent.

Like the poster, I love Wicken Fen, and although am not local, I try to get there every other year to watch the HH's come in to roost. Have had up to 8 birds one year, but more usually 3-4.
 

jqmhelios

Well-known member
Think a male was reported yesterday. But for whatever reason it seems this year fewer Hen Harriers are wintering here. It probably does vary year to year. Also, I was under the impression that the HH's that over-winter here are often (not always) from the Continent.

Like the poster, I love Wicken Fen, and although am not local, I try to get there every other year to watch the HH's come in to roost. Have had up to 8 birds one year, but more usually 3-4.
It varies like mad. That's good news that a male was seen there, maybe I'll luck out when I visit. I remember a nice moment last year where we were just departing with a group of others and all of a sudden a male just came crashing through the carr, swooped about 10 meters in front of us, and plummeted into the reeds. IT didn't like it, so repositioned itself briefly and then it was lights out for it.
 

wolfbirder

Well-known member
3 HHs roosted tonight including 2 males.
Also 6 SE Owls along Great Fen, just south of Peterborough.

Tawny Owls are tricky to see anywhere, but I doubt that flat fenland is the best area.
Try any area with trees........villages etc
 

jqmhelios

Well-known member
3 HHs roosted tonight including 2 males.
Also 6 SE Owls along Great Fen, just south of Peterborough.

Tawny Owls are tricky to see anywhere, but I doubt that flat fenland is the best area.
Try any area with trees........villages etc
Wow that's great. I'll definitely visit Wicken Fen soon. Good to see these beautiful creatures are back. I was just wondering, thought they were there on the reserve. I am more interested in the little owl. Perhpas if I visit soon I'll see both the harriers and (finally) the owl. I actually found the harriers are best to see not at Sedge Fen but near Burwell Fen- darkness during the roost interferes with observations. Last year Tubney Fen was especially great.
 

wolfbirder

Well-known member
Wow that's great. I'll definitely visit Wicken Fen soon. Good to see these beautiful creatures are back. I was just wondering, thought they were there on the reserve. I am more interested in the little owl. Perhpas if I visit soon I'll see both the harriers and (finally) the owl. I actually found the harriers are best to see not at Sedge Fen but near Burwell Fen- darkness during the roost interferes with observations. Last year Tubney Fen was especially great.
Yeah they definitely ony come into Wicken Fen to roost, sometimes in near darkness, after hunting the wide open fens all day no doubt.
 

jqmhelios

Well-known member
Yeah they definitely ony come into Wicken Fen to roost, sometimes in near darkness, after hunting the wide open fens all day no doubt.
Sometimes they come to roost after darkness falls. Last year it was near total darkness when they settled down- the problem was marsh harriers did not approve of the male hen harrier and so were chasing him, and the female seemed to enjoy flying up from the reeds, stalling and crashing back down. She then righted herself and flew to join the male only when he was settling down.
Given the covid system with the last available entry at 3 this puts me in a difficult position. I have to choose the owls. Hopefully I'll have enough to do at Burwell, I prepared for a situation in which there are no short-eared owls there. Have they been seen there? Wicken Fen twitter reporting has gone downhill since my last visit- they did not report your sighting, for example.
I have spoken to some people who said they saw little owls in the logpiles. When do they usually come out? Because the last 2 times I was there they were not there for me. I have no idea how I missed them- I was in the right place when a sighting was made at 3pm. I probably went right past them. Despite great SEO action.
Any good places to see barn owls on the reserve? Hoping for the best!
 

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