Spring and summer are an ideal time to enjoy wildlife on the Fen.
Over the newly restored meadows, the signs of spring emerge. In March Hares become visible as they compete for territories and partners. Pussy Willow begins to appear along the dykes and new growth in the meadows themselves.
As the sun gets higher, the songs and display flights of Skylarks and Meadow Pipits fill the air. Throughout the Great Fen, migrant birds start to return in March and April. First arrivals in the woodlands are often Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps. It is worth watching for Wheatears from the western bank of Woodwalton Fen as they stop off during their migration to breeding areas much further north. The reeling songs of Grasshopper Warblers will begin in mid April and, a little later the scratchy, throaty calls of Sedge Warblers will be heard in scrubby areas and along the banks of the dykes. Later still Cuckoos and Reed Warblers will join the chorus,
Take a walk around the rides of Woodwalton and Holme Fen on a warm day, and look out for early butterflies such as Brimstone, Peacock, Speckled wood and Orange Tip.
Looking out across Middle and Darlow's Farms and you should see and hear Lapwings displaying and, at dawn, if you are very lucky the drumming display flight of Snipe may be heard. A most spectacular sight is the display flight of Marsh Harriers over the reeds at Woodwalton Fen. Watch out for birds collecting nesting material and competing for nest sites.
As spring starts to make way for summer, the grasses at Corney’s Farm and New Decoy Farm will be growing and flowering, providing a great source of pollen for hundreds of insects.
The ditches will start to buzz with colourful dragonflies and damselflies. The end of May to July is the best month to see the rare Scarce Chaser dragonfly, found in the vast network of ditches in Woodwalton Fen.
If the summer has been kind many young birds will emerge from their nests and noisily demand food from their parents. The chicks of ground-nesting bird will be ready to fledge and then low intensity management work can start on the restored land. Hay crops and grazing will help create an even more diverse habitat for next year.
Each spring and summer there are events that will introduce you to the sounds and sights of fen wildlife. For example you can join a guided Dusk Walk or Dawn Chorus - see the Events Programme for more details.