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RSPB Fen Drayton Lakes for May 2008

Posted: 14/04/2008

Work on the replacement viewing screens and path surfaces was held up by wet conditions in late March, but by the time you are reading this, we hope that the work will have been completed without further delays.

Contractors who are creating wet patches in the areas between Ferry Lagoon and the River Great Ouse were also held up by the wet weather, but their project is expected to take much longer. These wet patches will help birds that breed in wet grassland, such as redshanks and yellow wagtails, to rear chicks in years to come.

Our warden and volunteers will be kept busy installing directional signs, to help people find their way around.

Wading birds were quick to show interest in the recently bared islands on Elney and Moore Lakes: ringed and little ringed plovers, lapwings and oystercatchers. At the time of writing, it is too early to say if they will settle down and nest, but you can visit at any time and try to spot some, or join a guided walk. The roller-coaster flight of displaying lapwings, accompanied by their whooping calls, is a joy to watch.

April and May are exciting times, as migrant birds arrive to breed here, or just stop off for a break on their journey further north. Each day seems to be different – newly arrived birds singing and trying to establish territories amongst the established ones flowers coming into bloom, butterflies, bees and dragonflies flying on warm days, the first of the year’s baby birds leaving their nests.

As we go through May, the last of the migrant birds arrive – spotted flycatchers, turtle doves and swifts are typically the last species, and resident birds will have chicks already leaving their nests. Look out for robins and blackbirds feeding begging offspring with worms and caterpillars, while swans, geese and ducks escort their downy youngsters. Cygnets, goslings and ducklings must feed themselves, instinctively pecking at anything that might be edible, but they depend on their parents to guard them from potential predators and to brood them in cold weather.

You can help the birds nesting in your garden by making sure that food and water are always available. This means the adult birds can quickly get their own food, giving them more time to search for the caterpillars and other small creatures that the growing chicks need. Regularly watering a small patch of lawn or soil will encourage worms, and the blackbirds and thrushes that feed on them.

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.

Wetland walkabout Wednesday 7 and Thursday 15 10am-12.30pm
We will look for spring wildlife on these walks, hoping to hear cuckoos and seeing butterflies on fine days. 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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