Monthly Archive: May 2014

Spring watch: Ely Cathedral

On Sunday 1 June the Ely Cathedral Tower Tours will be extra-special. All day the tower will be the focus of a spring time bird watching event. Local birdwatchers, promoting the Elywildspace, will be at the top of the tower with telescopes to help you enjoy bird eye views of Ely’s wildlife.

Expect thrilling flypasts by Swifts which have been recorded reaching speeds of almost 70mph. Birds of Prey such as Marsh Harriers, Sparrowhawks, Kestrels, Buzzards and Hobby will be seen on hunting forays and commoner garden birds will be foraging and feeding young in the tree canopy beneath us.

Birdwatchers special tower tour price £6.50/person with binoculars, £9 without.

The tours will take place at 7.30am, 8.30am, 9.30am, 12noon, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm. Spaces are limited so please book in advance to avoid disappointment 01353 660349 or email: box.office@elycathedral.org

Race around the Wildspace!

Despite strong winds and showery weather, four teams headed out early on May 11th, racing to count as many bird species as they could. A total of 71 species were found, lower than previous years, with poor weather hindering both bird migration and observation. Highlights included Cetti’s Warblers in a variety of spots around the site, Marsh Harriers, and a Hobby flying past the teams at the Sailing Club. For a lively account of the morning, visit the Ely 10 Birding blog.

Herons nesting in the Wildspace!

Ely has a new heronry in the heart of the Wildspace. Grey herons – among the largest birds in Britain – are a common sight along the region’s waterways but breeding colonies are relatively scarce.

The enormous birds were first spotted breeding here last year, when a single nest appeared, but this spring four pairs have constructed their large stick nests in a clump of willows. Herons breed earlier than most birds, and the prehistoric-looking chicks can already be seen standing around the rims of their nests.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the fantastic diversity of birds living around Ely do come along to the Wildspace Bird Race (which starts at 6am on Sun 11 May at the top of Kiln Lane), or join us on Sun 1 June for an extraordinary opportunity to birdwatch from the top of Ely Cathedral.