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.