Short-eared owls and hen harriers return to Wicken Fen this winter season

25 November, 2018 - 08:40
Short-eared owls and hen harriers return to Cambridgeshire for winter. Picture(s): WENDY COOPER / RICHARD NICOLL

Short-eared owls and hen harriers return to Cambridgeshire for winter. Picture(s): WENDY COOPER / RICHARD NICOLL

WENDY COOPER / RICHARD NICOLL

Bird spotters are in for a treat as short-eared owls and hen harriers have returned to the region for winter.

Short-eared owls and hen harriers return to Cambridgeshire for winter. Picture(s): WENDY COOPER / RICHARD NICOLLShort-eared owls and hen harriers return to Cambridgeshire for winter. Picture(s): WENDY COOPER / RICHARD NICOLL

The birds can be spotted at the National Trust’s Wicken Fen Nature Reserve from 10am to dusk.

Martin Lester, countryside manager, said: “Short-eared owls breed across northern Europe, and we normally only see them as over-wintering birds in East Anglia.

“Along with birds that may breed in northern Britain, there is an influx of continental birds from Scandinavia, Russia and Iceland in winter, so it’s likely that some birds seen at Wicken Fen may be visiting from much further afield.

“They are commonly seen hunting during the day, which can make them easy to spot, as they hover and drift across the fen looking for the small mammals that make up their diet.”

Visitors to Wicken Fen can also enjoy bearded tits, several species of deer, and large flocks of winter thrushes such as redwing and fieldfare.

Latest sightings and maps of the trails are available from the visitor centre, which is open from 10am to dusk. It is open every day except Christmas day.

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