Latest Posts

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 www.elywildspace.org.uk

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 (www.elywildspace.org.uk), and do come along and join us for what is a very special local experience.

Concerns with another otter killed on the road

Otters are regularly being seen in and around Elywildpace which is very good news but sadly, those taking part in the Bird Race on 5 Jan also found another otter roadkill adjacent to the beet factory settling ponds. This is at least the fifth otter casualty along the 200m-stretch of road between the pond and the river in recent years. It underscores the importance of the area for otters – and the urgent need for the highways authorities to reduce the risk of further deaths in future. Ely Wildspace is working with otter experts to examine what might be feasible and effective.

Glade all over

Thanks to a fantastic turnout, kind weather, and the very generous donation of tools and manpower by Island Landscapes, we had a tremendously successful work party on Sat 25 Jan. We managed to open up two glades, coppicing elders, hawthorn and blackthorn to add more structural diversity to the habitat and (hopefully) make it more attractive for nightingales. We also cleared out a large amount of rubbish, and did some badly-needed maintenance work on the hedge improvements we’ve been making near the river, and to the tern rafts on Roswell Pits. Huge thanks to everyone who came,and to Natural England and Island Landscapes for supporting our work. The next event is a Wildlife Trust work party on Sat 15 Feb; contact Will Burdett (will.burdett@anglia.ac.uk) for details.

Scrub Clearance Work Parties at Roswell Pits

As a condition of the HLS agreement on our land at Roswell Pits we are obliged to create two separate glades to create a mosaic of scrub and more open areas. It is hoped that this will make the area attractive to species such as nightingale which, in recent years, has bred in nearby areas of scrub at Roswell Pits.

Please come along and help carry out this task by joining the work parties we are holding on Saturday 25 January 2014 and Saturday 8 February 2014. We are meeting at 9am at Ely Sailing Club off Prickwillow Road. We will be able to provide protective gloves and tools for scrub clearance, but if you have your own please do bring them along. Please also bring plenty of food, drink and waterproof footwear. Please e-mail markgrooms@talktalk.net if you require further information.

Sixth Ely Wildspace Bird Race

In November 2012 an amazing 66 species of bird were recorded during last winter’s Wildspace Bird Race including bittern, brambling and mandarin duck . Are you up to the challenge of attempting to beat that total? Alternatively, do you simply fancy a guided bird watching walk around the fantastic wildlife areas right on our doorstep?

If you do, then why not join the 6th Ely Wildspace Bird Race on Sunday 5 January 2014?

We are meeting at 9am sharp at the top of Kiln Lane (the road leading to the Environment Agency off Prickwillow Road) 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 12pm 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. Please e-mail markgrooms@talktalk.net if you require further information.