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Fen Drayton Lakes, for June 2008

Posted: 26/05/2008

There is still time to enter our photography competition, Fens through a Lens, which closes on 27 June 2008. Photographs must be taken on a fenland nature reserve, including RSPB Fen Drayton Lakes and Mare Fen, Swavesey. Even if you aren’t a winner, your photo may be ed for an exhibition. For more details, please phone Neil, 01954 233267.

Contractors are creating wetland features in the areas between Ferry Lagoon and the River Great Ouse. The work was originally scheduled to begin earlier in the year, but the flooding we had in January saturated the ground, and it has taken a long time to dry out enough for the big machines. The area between Ferry Pond and Ferry Mere is being lowered, to enable the reed fringes there to expand and become a reedbed in time. The soil that comes out will be pushed into the lake edges, to create shallow areas, attractive to wading birds and spawning fish.

Shallow scrapes will be created in the grassland to the east of Ferry Mere – these areas will stay damp until early summer, enabling wading birds and their chicks to probe for food in the soft ground.

Easterly winds in Spring push some uncommon migrants across the North Sea, to the delight of birdwatchers in the UK. The fine weather at the start of May brought several migrating birds to Fen Drayton Lakes. Black terns, little gulls, Temminck’s stints, whimbrels and wood sandpipers were recorded on several days. The terns and gulls nest in north-eastern Europe and into Russia, while the others were probably heading for northern Scandinavia, (some whimbrels nest in the far north of Scotland).

The warm weather also brought out the first damselflies and dragonflies, and boosted the number and variety of butterflies. High-flying insects attracted their predators – as many as five hobbies could regularly be seen together, often sharing the bonanza with the black terns, and the common terns that have taken up summer residence.

Rafts have been anchored in Drayton and Ferry Lagoons, to provide nesting sites for the common terns. The rafts have gravel on them, which the terns like to nest on, as their eggs are coloured and patterned like gravel, making it difficult for their predators to find eggs. These lagoons don’t have suitable islands for the terns, and the advantage of rafts is that they will not be swamped if (or should that be when?) we get floods during the nesting season.

Guided Busway contractors are likely to be working on the nature reserve during the next few weeks, replacing the culverts that carry drains under the old railway route. This work precedes laying the busway track, and is likely to mean that motor vehicle access to Drayton Lagoon will be closed at times. Pedestrians and horse-riders will have access, although path diversions may be necessary. Please look out for notices on the site.

Please contact Neil (details below) if you would like a copy of the events leaflet or trail guide leaflet, which shows all the paths and lake names. They are available from a leaflet dispenser in the Elney Lake car park (closest to Fen Drayton village), and the Swavesey Newsagents in Market Street too.

We have two mid-week guided walks this month, and these will begin from the small car park on the south-east corner of Elney Lake, closest to Fen Drayton village, sign-posted for disabled visitors. There is also an evening event, when we hope for fine weather to bring out moths and bats. Booking is essential for this event.

Nightlife in the Fens Saturday 7 June 8pm to late
Its National Moth Night, and we’ll be discovering more about the moths and other nightlife at Fen Drayton Lakes. Bats? Birds? Join us (with your torch and insect repellent) and find out. Adults £3, children £1, RSPB members half price. Call 01954 233260 to book and receive more information.

Wetland walkabout Wednesday 4 and Thursday 19 10am-12.30pm
A warm, bright morning should bring out the butterflies and dragonflies for us, and recently fledged baby birds will be noisy and active, whatever the weather. Adults £3, children £1, RSPB members half price.
Meet at Elney Lake car park

If your community group would like a guided visit for a summer evening, please ask.

Neil Renwick, Community Projects Officer, T: 01954 233267,
E: [email protected]

Our address is RSPB Fens Area Office, The Grange, 20 Market Street, Swavesey, Cambridgeshire CB24 4QG.




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