A bit of work in the sunshine.
Nomada ferruginata (Linnaeus,1767) is listed as Endangered (RDB1) in the British Red Data Book.
It is a rare species, but formerly widely distributed in southern Britain. There were no records between 1949 and 1987. However, in recent years the species has undergone a resurgence, with confirmed records from Hampshire, Kent, Wiltshire, Berkshire, Middlesex, Gloucestershire, Warwickshire, Essex and Suffolk, and now Cambridgeshire.
This is a northern and central European species, becoming more sparsely distributed in the south.
Leading UK conservation organisations have recently updated their assessment of the status of British birds (Birds of Conservation Concern 4) and it makes desperately sad reading, with more species than ever placed on the Red List. However, within the report there is a glimmer of hope, and it is one to which the people of Ely and district have contributed. The bittern is one of only three bird species that have improved in status and left the Red List (moved to the Amber List) – and this is down to the successful creation of new reed beds, but also maintenance and improvement of existing habitats like Roswell Pits which provide a critical winter feeding site for the bitterns living in the Beet Pits. Without the action taken and supported by many Ely residents our bitterns would be in a much worse situation and possibly no longer with us. I think that the people of Ely and the Potters Group who manage the Beet Pits should be proud of their contribution to this conservation success.
by Mark Welch and Kev Smith
6th December saw a number of keen birdwatcher out on the biannual Ely Bird Race. Small teams, led by expert birders, walked around Ely Wildspace – Roswell Pits and Meadows looking for as many bird species as possible. This year we saw 60 species of bird.