News from Wicken Fen
Spring has well and truly sprung and those prepared to head to the fen early in the morning will witness one of nature's greatest phenomenons - the dawn chorus.
The dawn chorus reaches a crescendo in early May as native songbirds such as blackbirds, robins and wrens are joined by migrant species such as warblers and chiffchaffs who have returned to the fen to breed. Male birds sing to attract a mate and to stake their territory to warn rival males away. Besides songbirds, don't forget to listen out for the 'boom' of the bittern or the 'drumming' snipe. To experience the dawn chorus at its best aim to get into position an hour before sunrise and bring plenty of warm clothing as it can still be quite cold in the early morning. For those who struggle to break free from the arms of Morpheus, why not join our Wardens for a Dusk Chorus Walk as the birds settle down to roost on Friday 28 May starting at 7.30pm.
Down at the fen we are celebrating after being highly commended in the first ever Rough Guides Accessible Britain Awards. The awards reward efforts made by visitor attractions across the UK to ensure that visitors with disabilities enjoy an inclusive, inspiring and accessible experience. The judges commented that "Wicken Fen, has achieved a near impossible task - making the Fens wheelchair accessible. The walks, hides and amenities are all fully accessible, which allows people to get face to face with nature at its most wild. Being able to engage with nature is a pleasure that is denied to many - thankfully Wicken Fen is there to enable disabled people of all abilities to get out and enjoy their surroundings. Phenomenal work."
Visitors and Trust volunteers have recently constructed a living willow play area for children between the Visitor Centre and Café. The structure designed by local weaver, Nadine Anderson, incorporates a maze of enclosed tunnels with portholes and an open play area, which will also be used for story telling. The living structure will eventually 'green up' when the willow comes into leaf.
A big thank you to everyone who joined us for our community tree planting days at White Fen over the winter. We managed to plant over 1200 trees - further planting sessions are planned for next winter, but hopefully we can enjoy a long hot summer first. Elsewhere on the Vision lands local graziers will be returning their livestock to Burwell and Tubney Fens in the next few weeks. Oily Hall is about to be fenced in preparation for grazing in early summer. Closer to home, two Konik pony foals have been born in recent weeks, taking our herds of free roaming ponies and cattle to 100 animals. The animals can be seen on Bakers and Guinea Hall Fen or for a close-up look why not join Grazing Warden, Carol Laidlaw on her Konik Pony Walk on Saturday 15TH May at 10.30am.
The geocaches which were hidden on the Vision lands at the beginning of April have proved extremely popular with visitors. The co-ordinates for each cache can be found at www.geocaching.com If you are new to geocaching and would like to hire a GPS receiver or would like a demonstration, please contact Community Warden, Emma Shepherd at the Visitor Centre on 01353 720274.
At the beginning of the month we are hosting an exhibition of the stunning wildlife photography of local photographer, Jeff Harrison, from Saturday 1st -Monday 3rd May. Our popular boat trips along beautiful Wicken Lode in our traditional fen lighter will also run every weekend and Bank Holiday from Saturday 15th May until 26 September.
Hope to see you at the fen soon