Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Great Fen Project and Clever Gadwalls

The Great Fen is a habitat restoration project in Cambridgeshire. It is one of the largest restoration projects in the country, and aims to create a 3,700 hectare wetland connecting Woodwalton Fen National Nature Reserve (NNR), Holme Fen NNR and other nature reserves to create a very large conservation site. We had intended visiting last year but somehow the months went by so we were determined to make it in 2016. Woodwalton Fen has a sixeable population of Bittern and also Harriers and Red Kites. We only saw Buzzards in the air but were fortunate to glimpse 2 Bitterns. A return visit definitely on the books.
While waiting for bittern action, I spent time observing the Gadwall ducks - an unusually large number present on a deep Mere (they are dabbling ducks). They were pursuing Coots especially when they dived for food. I researched this on the internet and found a large amount of literature on Kleptoparasitism in Gadwalls. This learned behaviour of pirating food off Coots is thought to be responsible for the large increase in Gadwall numbers in the UK.

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Ann Miles Photography - My Favourite Images of the Past10 years or so