Spring has sprung

Chiffchaff - Janet Packham Photography

Chiffchaffs singing their name (“chiff-chaff, chiff-chaff, chiff-chaff”), can now be heard in the Fen, on a sunny day; of which there have been quite a few this week

Butterflies are out and about, our early spring species including the butter-yellow brimstone and the red peacock  and small tortoiseshell, being attracted to the catkins on the sallows and willows, useful nectar sources for those insects coming out of hibernation.

Amphibians are on their way back to breeding sites, and on a damp night, you might just encounter newts, clambering towards the edge of a pond or mere. common frogs have already been laying eggs, and common toads are out and about, as reserves officer, Helen Bailey discovered earlier this week, at Corney’s Farm. The work or Helen, and her colleague Mark Ullyett,  has been maintaining the Fen in good condition for species such as these, ready for when they return in the spring to spawn the next generation.

Our winter visitors are departing, and the rough-legged buzzard has now moved off, but other raptors, residents, such as red kite, are gathering twigs for their nests. They are following on after the early nesters such as the cormorants and rooks. Skylarks are singing, and the meadow pipits will soon be performing their ‘parachute display over the grasslands, joined by the occasional call from a yellow wagtail.

Henry Stanier (Great Fen Monitoring and Research Officer)