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Outdoors

A short walk to hear the cuckoo

Patrick and I always try to hear the cuckoo and the best place for us to visit is Wicken Fen.

We parked at Upware (there is an Environment Agency car park there) and walked along Burwell Lode which was beautifully clear (and P made constant diversions to look into the water for fish – roach, rudd, dace, and possibly tench) with moored barges creating a holiday feel.

When we reached the bridge, that crosses Wicken Lode as it joins Burwell Lode, there were some boys climbing about so in view of social distancing rules we did not cross it but immediately turned left on a path along the west side of Wicken Fen. At times it was more of a ‘sheep track’ through grassy meadow, single file and probably used as much by animals as humans. To our right was the low woodland that typifies parts of Wicken Fen. We heard a huge number of birds, dominated by different warblers (sedge, willow, was that a chetti’s?, chiffchaff etc). For a time we heard some strange barking/croaking that may have been two muntjac. And then we heard the cuckoo – faintly from a distance.

We retraced our steps to the bridge – the boys had gone so we crossed it and turned onto the path along the east side of Wicken Lode that allows public access to part of Wicken Fen.

We walked about three quarters of a mile. The first section includes a semi-paved overflow across the path. It is between the lode and an area that is meadow at this time of year, but is a wet marshy patch in winter, rather like a scrape with water fowl etc on it. I took the photos as we returned to the bridge so the lode is on the right and the ‘scrape’ on the left.

As we walked deeper into the fen it was lush and green. There was a pair of swans with cygnets. And the cuckoos were much louder so mission well and truly accomplished!

The flowers were amazing including abundant elder and wild rose.

We retraced our steps with the bridge a landmark on the horizon. It is totally flat so tall trees, pylons and this bridge are the only features standing out.

This last photo is looking from the bridge back the way we started along Burwell Lode.

The total distance was 3 miles at a leisurely pace in the hot sun.

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