Sunday, 12 April 2009

Easter 2009

You might just have noticed that I have not written a blog for a month and the website is sadly neglected. This is because I have been working on a funding bid for £200,000, so I hope you agree that it is time well spent. Sadly we will not know if I have been successful for another 5 months.

Meanwhile, at least three nightingales were singing on April 8th and so it’s time to see if any of last year’s birds have come back. If you are lucky enough to see a nightingale, please check its legs to see if it is ringed or not. Record any colours, including which colour is on top. Please note that confirming a nightingale that you have seen is not ringed is equally valuable. There are report forms for you to fill in at the Visitors’ Centre.

Of course nightingales are not the only birds we are interested in. It’s really useful to have daily records of sightings on the reserve. Please use the record book in the Visitors’ Centre to write them down, giving locations where possible. You can also e-mail the website at We also keep records of plants , insects and mammals. Please write down your sightings in the record book.

Last week we saw a few butterflies. The list so far this year includes brimstone, comma, small tortoise-shell, peacock and holly blue and we expect to see orange-tips any day now because their food plant, Lady’s smock, is appearing everywhere.

Big changes at Pumphouse Pit
A huge amount of landscaping has been carried out by Aggregate Industries in time for this year’s nesting season. The south shore has been re-profiled to make a gentle gradient and a suite of new islands has been created. Diddington Pit is now being drained and the water has gone to top up Pumphouse Pit. There is no public access to Pumphouse Pit as it is still in the working quarry but we have taken a big step forward in the restoration plan.

Spring sowing
We have finished planting a hedge around the arable. You may notice the coloured string which is meant to keep the deer out. We are just about to plant two fields of barley which will be used to feed the birds and our cattle next winter. We also have a field of winter wheat which is coming along nicely. Meanwhile, on a related topic, we now have four new calves; Archie, Bruce, Christie and Deborah in our wintering quarters at the Great Fen.