Warblers at Wicken

Wicken Fen - Reed Warbler and Cuckoo chick

Its possible to see some species of warbler year round at Wicken Fen, but the vast majority arrive in early spring and depart for warmer climes in late August or September. Here's a few species to look or listen out for when visiting the Fen.

Reed Warbler

Reed Warbler
Close up of Reed Warbler with grubs in beak

This tiny warbler with its brown back & lighter buff underside arrives in mid-April.

It builds tiny nests between 4 or 5 reed stems along the banks or the Lodes, ditches or in the reedbeds.

At Wicken, reed warblers nests can be parasited by female cuckoos who remove a warblers egg & lay one of their own, leaving the warblers to rear the chick when it hatches, Why the warblers rear a chick that is so much bigger than themselves is one of those mysteries of nature. 

Sedge Warbler

Sedge Warbler
Close up of Sedge Warbler in reeds

A small plump warbler, with a distinctive creamy strip above its eye.

It likes marshland habitat & nests in tall grassland & reedbeds.

It has a noisy rambling song & often forms a 'parachute' display in flight.

Cetti's Warbler

Cetti's Warbler
Close up image of Cetti's Warbler

A dark stocky bird with rounded tail. They are often difficult to see but are easily identified by bursts of song consisting of 6 or more lound notes.

Cetti's warblers are resident on the fen year round.

Chiff Chaff

Chiff Chaff
Close up of a chiff chaff in a tree

A small olive brown warbler, weighing around eight grams.

The chiff chaff gets its name from its distinctive 'chiff chaff'' call.

The birds can be seen year round but most arrive in the spring.

Grasshopper Warbler

Grasshopper Warbler
Close up of singing grasshopper warbler

You'll more likely hear rather than see this warbler. Its high pitched song sounds just like a grasshopper, and can be difficult to hear as our hearing declines with age.

The species has suffered as serious decline in recent years & is now classified as a Red List Species.