Nick Carter, Conservation Officer (Fens)
It is always exciting going onto the Hilgay and Methwold wetland creation sites because as the habitats change you never know what you will encounter next.
As I drove onto the Hilgay site I noticed some white blobs in the distance and realised there were eight little egrets standing on the perimeter bank. Eight is a record number for the site and is a big increase on the one or two that have been present on site over the winter. My attempts to photograph all eight together were hampered by the misty conditions, well that’s my excuse anyway, so I only have a reasonable shot with seven of them showing. They were just standing around on the bank with a flock of crows so not sure if there was a particular prey item present or if they were just resting.
Later in the day while putting out some remote cameras to check usage of potential badger outlier setts on the Methwold site I stopped the vehicle next to a ditch with a badger sett. Looking out the window I spotted a barn owl sitting just a few yards away from me in a willow bush looking at me. Much to my surprise it did not fly away immediately but allowed me to turn the camera on, operate the zoom and then open the window. It stayed put while I took a few photos and then decided it had had enough and flew off allowing me access to the badger sett to put the camera in place.
Two unexpected encounters and I wonder what will be there on my next visit?