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RSPB Fen Drayton Lakes, September 2008

Posted: 14/08/2008

Watch the bramble patches and hawthorn hedges at this time of year – various warblers, robins, blackbirds and song thrushes will be eating the ripe berries. The warblers will be building up energy stores in preparation for their journeys to the Mediterranean region, or even further south, beyond the Sahara Desert. Butterflies will be sipping nectar from late flowers, or the juice from burst fruit – look out for the bright orange-and-brown comma butterfly – its wings look ragged, even when new, but this helps them blend into surrounding foliage when the wings are closed.

When birds get to the end of the nesting season, adults are worn out, in several ways. Adult birds have spent much energy foraging and feeding their offspring throughout daylight hours – and for robins and blackbirds, that may have been three broods since the spring. Their feathers have worn out too, often abraded as they enter and leave their nests through holes or against twigs. Birds replace most of their feathers annually, after nesting, so that they have strong, new feathers to help them through the coming cold winter weather, or on their long migration flights.

Growing new feathers requires a lot of energy, so birds save energy by not singing. They need to be extra cautious while they do not have a full set of flight feathers, as they cannot fly so well, and are therefore more vulnerable to predators of all kinds.

Little egrets are now being seen regularly at Fen Drayton Lakes, with 22 recorded recently. These members of the heron family have pure white feathers, are about the size of a carrion crow, and may be seen feeding or resting at lake edges, or in flight.

Construction work for the guided busway will have an impact on many visitors over the next few months, as the drain culverts are strengthened before the tracks are laid. We will always be open to visitors, and ask you to follow any path diversions that are set up, to take visitors safely around the works.

Most of our canine visitors are well behaved, and their owners clean up after them, for which we say thank-you, but a few owners don’t “bag it”. It is getting increasingly difficult to find a clean area for children to play and explore, or for anyone to sit on the grass. So, if you are a dog walker, please remember to put some bags in your pocket, and help other dog walkers to keep Fen Drayton Lakes a clean and pleasant place.

Wetland Walkabouts
Start from the Elney Lake car park, with the wooden viewing screen, about a quarter mile from Fen Drayton village, just beyond the recreation ground.
£3 (£1 concession or child half-price to all RSPB members)
Wednesday 3 September 10am-12.30pm
Thursday 18 September 10am-12.30pm


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