Weekly wild news from our reserves - 30 October

Sarah Groves

This week. The Wildlife Trusts CEO Craig Bennett visited Redgrave & Lopham Fen, a morning murmuration was caught on camera and lots more amazing autumn wildlife was on display...

Wildlife Trusts CEO Craig Bennett visits Redgrave & Lopham Fen

We were thrilled to welcome Craig Bennett, CEO of The Wildlife Trusts, to Redgrave & Lopham Fen this week.

Debs Crawford, Valley Fens Reserve Assistant, took Craig on a tour of our famous wetland after Craig had been interviewed by Martha Kearney about the Environment Bill and what needs to be done to strengthen it for BBC Radio 4's Today Programme.

Starlings lift-off at sunrise

Our Communications Manager, Sarah Groves, caught the spectacular moment the starling roost at Hen Reedbeds woke up and took to the skies at dawn. What a breathtaking sight!

Morning murmuration at Hen Reedbeds

Astral jelly appears for Halloween!

Wild learning Officer?Lucy Shepherd?has been on the lookout for spooky species for Halloween week and she is kicking off with moon poo!

Moon poo, star rot, star spawn, astromyxin or astral jelly is what this wonderfully gelatinous?mess is otherwise known as, and it’s a bit of a head scratcher as scientists aren’t in agreement as to what they are.

In the 14th century they were thought to be fallen stars that appear after meteor showers with more recent ideas being that they are piles of frog spawn. However, whenever we have stumbled across them it’s been well outside of the breeding season.

Other popular suggestions include being regurgitated piles of amphibian intestines, but DNA analysis have shown no comparison to amphibians or any other species in fact. How mysterious is that?

Lucy was so excited to have found some more this week and it was perfectly timed for Halloween week. Keep your eyes peeled for astral jelly under foot... or perhaps watch out for some squelching from the sky. Spooky!

Astral jelly - Lucy Shepherd

Astral jelly - Lucy Shepherd

Autumn wonders at Darsham Marshes

Nestled in the Minsmere river valley, Darsham Marshes boasts a varied mosaic of habitats with grazing marsh, fen meadow, woodland, scrub, hedgerow, grassland, heathland, freshwater dykes and ponds. Reserve Warden?Jamie Smith?spotted some autumn wonders this week, including this gorse bush which the rabbits have pruned into an interesting shape!

Fen harvesting at a very damp Carlton Marshes

Fen harvesting is an annual cutting regime to maintain the rich fen flora diversity. The task has been particularly challenging this year due to the unusually high rainfall resulting in water-logged ground, and a very muddy tractor!