Creative Commons by Gidzy, licensed under CC by 2.0
The Great Fen provides a stronghold for a wide variety of wildlife, some very elusive and rarely seen. This is your opportunity to view ‘hard to see’ species, and more than that, to see them in action - a window into some fascinating fenland wildlife behaviour.
At the Great Fen we have many large areas, which are only ventured into as part of specific projects on certain agreed dates, and so, for the remainder of the time, the wildlife gets on with its daily life, undisturbed. The use of trail cameras allows us to leave the monitoring in place for long periods of time, and so only return occasionally, to collect the data recorded.
As part of the ongoing programme of monitoring to measure the success of our conservation work, the new features being added to the Great Fen will be investigated by this method. We will be posting video clips for you to see, to practice your identification and learn more about fenland wildlife.
Information about these clips will be added every couple of weeks, once you have had a chance to view them and make your own comments about what you can identify and understand from them.
Some of the species we will show you will be common, but hard to see, others will reflect the seasonal changes, and some will be the rarer wildlife. We will also use this opportunity to highlight any additional sightings which you could look out for, and submit to us, linking in with our Wildlife Sightings page and blogs, to providing additional information for you.
Another winter visitor, a pair of Fieldfare in this case. They often accompany Redwing, with flocks several hundred strong.
When comparing the Common Snipe and the smaller, more secretive Jack Snipe, the Jack Snipe has a shorter bill, no central crown-stripe but does have a little black 'eyebrow'. The Jack Snipe comes to us in Septermber and stays to feed over winter, migrating to northern Europe to breed in March. Unlike the Common Snipe, it bounces when feeding.
Our third video clip was a weasel our smallest carnivore, the weasel looks like a mini version of a Stoat. Weasels are very active hunters, feeding on small mammals such as voles and mice, as well as small birds.
Our second video clip is of a winter visitor, a Redwing, which flocks to the Great Fen to feast on the berry-ladden bushes. In this case, taking advantage of a recently cleared pool, and using it as a watering hole. This species, and others may well appear in your own garden as well, feeding on wind-fallen apples.
So well done to those of you who guessed this was a Common Snipe, one of the species benfitting from the restoration work in the Great Fen. The wet grassland, and new scrapes and pools provide valuable feeding ground for this bird with a very long, delicate bill, used for probing the soft ground for invertebrates. Note the long bill and central crown-stripe, distinguishing it from the smaller Jack Snipe.