Autumn highlights

Southern migrant hawker by Andy Frost

Water levels have been relatively high on parts of the Fen, and as of the end of August, various water bodies at Rymes Reedbed continue to attract a variety of bird and insect life.

Water levels have been relatively high on parts of the Fen, and as of the end of August, various water bodies at Rymes Reedbed continue to attract a variety of bird life (e.g. ducks, geese, waders and egrets), as well as feeding raptors, such as marsh harrier; on Burnham’s Mere, in Holme Fen, an osprey was seen hunting this month.

Other areas of the project area are very dry. While July was quite wet, a record high temperature of 37.3 oC was recorded at Corney's Farm.

Summer numbers of butterflies and dragonflies varied due to the wetter weather, unlike last summer, but species such as the peacock butterfly, willow emerald damselfly and ruddy darter dragonfly were very conspicuous in number.

The willow emerald damselfly was recorded in Holme Fen this year, in addition to the unusual records from Woodwalton Fen. A female was recorded at the eastern end of the Caldecote Dyke, near the northern tip of Burnham’s Mere.

Dragonflies and damselflies are highly mobile as adults and, therefore, easily disperse and colonise new areas, and so other species are likely to appear in the Great Fen in the coming years.

Like its relative, the migrant hawker, the southern migrant hawker is colonising England, and records from the south and east of the country are now being supplemented by much closer reports, including those from Cambridge itself, this August; look out for this species

Henry Stanier (Great Fen Monitoring and Research Officer)