Thursday, 8 September 2011

Letter from America

I've been  away in New England, which explains why it's been a month since I posted a blog here. It was wonderful to be in a wild place with so many mammals and fabulous birds around us.

In August we gave the midweek volunteers a long break, but I hope they will be all be back this week to trim up the paths. There are some big tasks lined up for the winter, starting with a complete make-over of the wildlife garden at the visitors' centre. After several building projects and the installation of our sewage pump, the ground is very uneven and it looks un-cared for.

The Rangers have been keeping busy with a few projects on their own. The Hayden Hide has a completely new deck and, on the Meadow Trail, there is a new, long bench on the boardwalk. It's a great place to sit and watch wildlife going about its business on Rudd Pit.

Otter at Kingfisher Hide.
By permission, David Williams.
September is the month for migration watchers. Swifts have been gone for weeks now and waders have been on the move since July, but this is when you may see some more unusual birds. Last week and osprey and some black terns passed through. On a fine day you may see buzzards migrating. Our RSPB bird-ringing team has been seeing roving, mixed flocks of small birds, many of which are juveniles preparing for their first trip abroad.

We have had some reports of otters at various points round the trail, but some were probably mink. However, there can be no doubt that what David Williams, from St Neots Camera Club saw from the Kingfisher Hide was an otter because he sent us this photo of it.

If you like your mammals big and hairy, perhaps polar bears are your thing? If so, you are in luck because the Friends of Paxton Pits Nature Reserve have organised an event just for you.  Please book in advance through the Visitors' Centre as seats are limited.

“Polar Bears, Penguins and the White Continent”
Wednesday 28th September at 7.45 pm
Little Paxton village Hall.

On a more prosaic note, next week, the Lafarge tarmac plant next door is being removed. Please watch out for lorries and vans passing the visitors' centre.

If you want to know more about aspects of rural life in Maine, or just see my holiday snaps, go to My Blog