Fen Drayton Lakes, for March 2008
Nature reserve enhancement works were held up during January’s flooding. Our contractors are hopeful of completing their work to clear the self-seeded young willows from islands in Elney, Moore and Oxholme Lake soon, but that very much depends on a long spell of dry weather now.
Excavating the wader scrapes – shallow depressions - in the grassland between Ferry Mere and the River Great Ouse, has been delayed by the flooding too. There has been much interest in this area for birdwatchers, with the appearance of about 2000 black-tailed godwits, wading birds that appreciate the shallow floods and wet fields in wide, open landscapes at this time of year.
Now that we have seen for ourselves what winter flooding can be like, we can easily visualise what many people had previously told us, and we can begin to think about long-term plans for structures such as visitor centre, viewpoints and surfaced footpaths.
The Fen Drayton Lakes volunteer team has built two otter holts, which we hope will encourage these much-loved mammals to become permanent residents in the lakes. As any natural holt in the banks of a lake is liable to flooding, the new holts have been built on floating rafts. The team will also be building rafts for nesting common terns – these birds will nest on the bare islands, but those that choose to nest on the rafts will have a better chance of succeeding if summer flooding occurs.
If you would like to join the volunteer team, which meets on the second Tuesday and last Saturday of each month, please contact Allison Cushley, Warden, RSPB Fen Drayton Lakes, tel: 01954 233266, mobile 07921 495449, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The route for the guided bus through the nature reserve has been cleared, and the next stage is to reconstruct the culverts that will carry the drains under the route, as the bus way will be wider than the current culvert bridges. Diversions will be marked out when the work is being done.
Spring will be trying to assert over winter, and bird populations could be changing daily, as winter visitors depart and summer migrants begin to arrive. The morning walk will start earlier than in previous months, to enable us to hear our songbirds proclaiming their territories. If flooding occurs, we will still have the walks, but start from a different spot – look out for signs or RSPB volunteers to direct you.
March – Spring is in the air
Start in the Holywell Lake car park with the wooden information board at the northern end of Holywell Ferry Lake, about one mile from Fen Drayton village centre – head for the river.
Sunday 9 1.30–3.30 pm
Wednesday 12 1.30-3.30pm
Sunday 23 9-11am
April – photography workshop, led by Roger Slade, professional photographer
Sunday 6 10am-1pm
This will cost £8 (£4 for RSPB members) – get tips and advice before you enter our photography competition, Fens through a Lens, which closes on 27 June. Call 01954 233260 for workshop bookings and competition entry forms.
Do you organise meetings for a local community group? I can bring a PowerPoint presentation about Fen Drayton Lakes to your meeting, and I’m happy to stand in at short notice if your speaker has to cancel. I can host a group visit to the nature reserve at any time of the year. If you lead a group for young people, can I help you with meetings themed on wildlife? Why not give me a call to discuss your requirements?
Neil Renwick, Community Projects Officer, T: 01954 233267,
Our address is RSPB Fens Area Office, The Grange, 20 Market Street, Swavesey, Cambridgeshire CB24 4QG.