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Ely Wildspace’s BIG YEAR

The Big Year is an attempt to catalogue and record as many species, their location and their status, whether breeding, migratory or resident. We will be recording as many of the plants, insects, birds and mammals as possible as well as other taxa such as fungi, bryophytes and even slugs! Throughout the year there will be opportunity to get involved in some community events, walks and workshops. We hope to have experts available to lead these events and pass on their knowledge so you can contribute your findings.

Fence building

A bit of work in the sunshine.

On a lovely sunny day in January, a few of our members were down in the flood meadows near the Great Ouse River. The fence was in need of repair and the hedge needed trimming in places and thickening up in others. We put in 11 new fence posts and wired them up, planted numerous trees to fill in the hedges gaps and trimmed some of the hedge in place to promote a thicker stronger barrier. Many thanks to all that helped and thank especially to the Environment Agency for their continued support.

Rare bee discovered in the Wildspace

Nomada ferruginata Ely 200416Dr Mark Welch has discovered a beautiful and rare bee in the Wildspace.

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.

Bitterns are recovering, and Ely & district has played its par

Bittern Botaurus stellaris

Bittern Botaurus stellaris

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

10th Ely Bird Race

wren EWS

A wren Troglodytes troglodytes

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.