Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Lodes Way – Misty Fens and Bird Watchers galore–part 2

Sunday, 20th November: A quick recap ride – a ride on the more solid paths on Lodes Way and NCN51 with a trip round Wicken Fen. Here is the route and here is the Bike Route Toaster Link. Just of 50Km/30miles in round numbers.

By the time I got up to Burwell Lode it was starting to get darker and mistier. As it happened I also bumped into MikeC who I haven’t bumped into for quite a while cycling around these parts. I think that the extra routes now available around and about Lodes Way and the fact I’ve not been cycling quite as much recently have both combined to reduce the probability. We used to cross paths more frequently.

So we stopped for a while and caught up and Mike educated me on the ways of the bird-watchers. We also discussed the design of the proposed Burwell Lode bridge whilst I was also trying, but failing to take pictures of birds. 

Wherever we looked there seemed to be watchers in the mist with there big bits of glass. These were over on Newnham drove by the Burwell Fen Farm buildings.

There were people along various of the hedge fencerows.  As you can see the mist had started filling up the low-lying bits of fen and was rolling in. It was also a grey day so the sun was more a red glow than a sun.

It also seemed that every cluster of people had at least one tripod between them. These were up the right-hand bank of the Lode (looking towards Upware).

A setting sun and rolling mists and dedicated bird-watchers.

The same picture but at a slightly wider angle.

Although the mist was rolling in, some areas remained clear for some time – this is the Lode Way path as it approaches Burwell Lode.

As I mentioned, people everywhere, these were standing on the left bank of Burwell Lode. They’d just spotted something, but I wasn’t quick enough with my lens – I couldn’t focus in time to scan around.

The same view as a few picture back – but that mist has rolled in some more, if this were sea we’d have to send out for the lifeboats to rescue those people.

The mist was also gathering on the Lode.

As we stood it got darker and mistier – I kept taking pictures although my camera required slower and slower shutter speeds to take the picture.

All but the dog seem interested in something over on the fen.

As the sun set there were red patches dotted around and even the people seemed to have moved on.

At this point it was getting colder, so Mike and I both set off, me to finish my loop of Wicken Fen and Mike headed down Lodes Way – and here he is. Just after I took this he stopped and looked off to the right with his binoculars having spotted something.

There was time for a couple of pictures after heaving my bike up onto the footbridge. The mists still hadn’t quite reached us.

This mist was heading down the Lode and the path along side though.

By now taking pictures was tricky as it was reasonably dark so I cycled around Wicken Fen and then stopped on the Maltings path to take a picture with my camera on a fence post to steady it. Priory Farm is in the clump of trees. The mist looks a bit more solid in the picture than in real life I think.

From the same spot a picture of one of the trees along a track – I have taken pictures of these trees quite a few times.

After that it was head down and build up a bit of warmth. Mind you although misty bits were cold there were also warm patches of air as I cycled through the villages – you notice things like that when wearing shorts.


  1. I've been reading your blog for ages, and I think its only polite to tell you how much I enjoy it. Please keep it up!
    I live in north Herts , so I'm vaguely familiar with the countryside you cycle in.

    ps your photography is amazing.

  2. Swaffham Bulbeck cyclistNovember 26, 2011 at 12:01 AM

    Some great photos there JME. I was on a POETs day this afternoon so headed over to Burwell Fen. No magical mist, but great late afternoon light for owl spotting- and saw 5 short eared owls today - fewer than recently, so maybe they are beginning to move on. (There were 8 Whooper swans on Tubney Fen which was a treat - and no end of golden plover).

    The downside to all the arrival of the owls has been a noticeable increase in cars near Reach Lode Bridge. There were only a couple there this afternoon which was good, but I'd like to see a barrier much further south, preventing cars getting anywhere near the bridge (one that tractors and the like could still get past but not cars, like the one up between Padney and Barway).

  3. Hi Anon, thank you very much for you kind comments. Co-incidentally I've been thinking about Blogs and why people write them so my thoughts will be appearing soon. I am not planning on stopping though, the introspection arose from reading another Blog which made me think - hopefully all will be become clear when I write it. But I do appreciate your feedback.


  4. Hi SBC, I've been thinking about whether to take a tripod with me and trying to get a picture of one of the short-eared owls, (which I find easier write than to say). Although I think I will stick with fence posts for the time being.
    I grew up being taught the names of wild-flowers, but rely on my wife to identify birds. Mind you MikeC is even better and when I bump into him on Lodes Way he points them out as they fly around. There are one or two pictures that didn't make it onto this post, they were rather blurry, I am not so good at taking pictures of birds on the move.

    It is certainly attracting loads of cars into the area, all that heavy (and expensive) camera equipment I suppose. In less busy times I usually pass bird-watchers with their tripods slung over their shoulders walking back up to the Wicken Fen car park.

    To be fair I do find that they have been very courteous when heading down to Burwell in their cars as they migrate home when it gets too dark.


  5. Swaffham Bulbeck CyclistNovember 27, 2011 at 3:04 PM

    Yes they are generally a really courteous and nice bunch and I've enjoyed a chat with many of them as I've stood on Reach Lode Bridge watching the owls. I guess they are public roads after all, and at least we still have the traffic free sections to enjoy. I have also caught up with some old friends whilst owl spotting from the bridge, including MikeC a couple of times.

  6. Hi SBC,

    After you mentioned Spindle I started looking out for it, but didn't see any. But as is often the way, once you stop thinking about something it comes to mind, or in this case appears.

    I passed some today on a route I have used many times, on NCN51 near the Newmarket road Park and Ride on the path through the field. Pictures will follow.