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