Author Archive: uf2kil

Oral History Launch – Memories of Ely Pits and Meadows

Please join us on Saturday 27th September to celebrate the launch of our oral history project. This has been an exciting undertaking and we would like to share that excitement with members and friends and all the local people who so generously shared their memories and stories — thanks to them we have managed to capture the magic of the Roswell area.

We will have a stall on Ely Market between 9 am and 12 noon where you will be able to listen to the audio trail and look at some of the photographs and the trail guide. In the afternoon we will be in the Vernon Cross room behind Ely Museum where the website will be up and running and there will be tea and homemade cake.

The audio trail and interactive website will go live on Saturday and the link is

Creatures of the night

The Creatures of the night event is a great opportunity for all the family to learn about bats and moths. With an introduction to bats, a walk round Roswell Pits looking and listening for bats followed by (weather permitting) a look to see what has been collected in moth traps on Pocket Park. There will be games and a shorter walk for Ely Wildlife Watch families with younger children. Meet at 7pm at Cresswells Pocket Park /Fisherman’s carpark on 12 September.

Ely Common in bloom…..

On Saturday 20 July, we undertook our annual survey of the plants of Ely Common. This year we identified a total of 122 plants across the Common of which 50 species were in our survey area. Plants seen included Lady’s Bedstraw, Marjoram, Wild Carrot and various species of grass. The partially parasitic plant Yellow Rattle, which was first recorded last year, was seen again this year. We also saw a wide range of invertebrates including 15 species of butterfly, five species of dragonfly, and several species of grasshopper and hoverfly. This is the fourth year that we have surveyed the Common and we are slowly building up a picture of plant diversity and relative abundance over time. Thanks to all those who took part and made the day a great success. (Image: Roesel’s bush-cricket, Sarah Ferriss)

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:

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.

Cathedral Birdwatch

In conjunction with Ely Cathedral, a unique birdwatching experience is being planned for 1 June 2014. Trips are being organised throughout the day to the top of the Cathedral tower where expert local birdwatchers will show you the birds through their telescopes. Further details will soon be available at

Enter Ely’s annual Spring Bird Race, 11 May

Last year an amazing 77 species of bird were recorded during the Spring Wildspace Bird Race. Are you up to the challenge of attempting to beat that total? Alternatively, do you simply fancy a guided birdwatching walk around the fantastic wildlife areas right on our doorstep?

If you do, then why not join the Ely Wildspace Bird Race on Sunday 11 May? We are meeting at 6am sharp at the top of Kiln Lane where we will divide up into small teams, each of which will be led by an experienced local birdwatcher. The teams will then set off and walk all around the Wildspace trying to see and hear as many bird species as possible. At around 11am the teams will meet up again to compare notes and discover the winning team. The event is free and everyone is welcome. Please bring binoculars (if you have them), warm and waterproof clothing, and plenty of food and drink.

Sixth Ely Wildspace Bird Race

In early January, a dozen local bird watchers met at Roswell Pits on Sunday for the 6th Ely Bird Race.Three groups, each led by a local birder, set off and amassed an excellent aggregate total of 65 species, just one short of the record for an Ely winter bird race.

This included a new species for Roswell Pits –Merlin, the smallest European falcon and an occasional winter visitor from northern Englandand Scandinavia. Other interest was provided by three overwintering chiffchaffs (a migrant warbler) at the sewage farm, eking out a living on invertebrates. More and more chiffchaffs are spending the winter in the UK instead of migrating to Africa. Last but not least, there was a large gathering of meadow pipits (25) on the water meadow, mixed in with a flock of pied wagtails.

Much enjoyment and discussion was had in the sparkling sunshine. We look forward to running the 7th Ely Bird Race in May, when species numbers will be boosted by our summer migrants, including nightingale. Look out for details on the Ely Wildspace website (, and do come along and join us for what is a very special local experience.