Wicken Fen

Hi folks, I know I sort of said I might schedule a visit to Fowlmere next, but Wicken Fen has also been suggested a few times, most recently at the last event, and it has two advantages over Fowlmere: one it is bigger which allows a longer walk, and second it has a cafe :)

I am therefore scheduling this event for Wicken Fen and I hope at least a few of you can join me.  The idea is to meet at 11 a.m. in the nature reserve car park which is pinpointed on this map: http://www.streetmap.co.uk/ids.srf?name=TL564705&z=115 , go for a walk around one half of the nature reserve, then have lunch in the cafe.  Depending on time, daylight and what people want to do, some of us might then want to go for another wander around the second part of the nature reserve.  The end time I have put for this event is really just a 'ballpark' time, anyone who wants to leave earlier can do so.

Be warned that Wicken Fen can be a relatively expensive afternoon out, as entrance to the northern part of the nature reserve is £5.90, and car parking is another £2.50 unless you are a member of the National Trust.  Add to that the cost of the food in the cafe and anything you want to buy in the shop.  There is however a southern part of the nature reserve to which access is free, so if people want to stick to that we can do so.  Regarding the car parking, it might be possible to park in Wicken village and walk down to the reserve car park.  I have done this myself in the past but I can't guarantee that you will find a space and if you are going to try I would allow another 10 minutes or so for the extra walk.

If there is anyone who would otherwise have difficulty getting to this event, I would happy to offer a lift from Ely railway station if you can get there by about 10:30 a.m.  Anyone coming from Cambridge would however probably be better off getting a lift with someone driving from that direction.

Regarding birds and photography, as with the last event I don't want to raise any expectations regarding what birds we might see or what opportunities for photography there might be, but I hope that we can at least enjoy some exercise, each other's company, and just the suspense of not knowing what birds we might spot.  (Plus the cafe of course!)  For more information about the facilities, habitats and birds at Wicken Fen please see their website here: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wicken-fen/

Finally, while I am here I will wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and say thanks again to Oscar for giving me free rein with his meetup group this year!


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  • Stephen

    Here is the corrected list of species seen and heard during this event (the first three were at Ely railway station, although there were Black-headed Gulls at Wicken Fen too). The list is more-or-less in chronological order:

    Black-headed Gull
    Rook
    Jackdaw
    Robin
    Goldfinch
    Greenfinch
    Bullfinch (heard calling at car park, seen later)
    Woodpigeon
    Collared Dove
    Starling
    Great Tit
    Lapwing
    Fieldfare
    Blue Tit
    Redwing (heard calling)
    Teal
    Mallard
    Greylag Goose
    Wren (heard calling)
    Cormorant
    Carrion Crow
    Cetti's Warbler (heard singing)
    Marsh Harrier
    Canada Goose
    Coot
    Tufted Duck
    Pochard
    Gadwall
    Pintail
    Hen Harrier
    Green Woodpecker

    1 · January 8, 2014

  • Stephen

    Here is the list of species seen and heard during this event. (The first three of these were at Ely railway station which I know is cheating a bit!) Please let me know if you think I have missed anything out:

    Black-headed Gull
    Rook
    Jackdaw
    Robin
    Goldfinch
    Greenfinch (heard calling)
    Bullfinch (heard calling at car park, seen later)
    Woodpigeon
    Collared Dove
    Starling
    Great Tit
    Lapwing
    Fieldfare
    Blue Tit
    Redwing (heard calling)
    Teal
    Mallard
    Greylag Goose
    Wren (heard calling)
    Cormorant
    Carrion Crow
    Cetti's Warbler (heard singing)
    Marsh Harrier
    Canada Goose
    Coot
    Tufted Duck
    Gadwall
    Pintail
    Hen Harrier
    Green Woodpecker

    2 · January 7, 2014

    • Susie

      Think we saw a male pochard? Didn't get a photo of it though but we had a lot of discussion about the colour!

      1 · January 8, 2014

    • Stephen

      Thanks Susie, well remembered, I must have just not written that down. I will post a new list with both corrections so far.

      January 8, 2014

  • Stephen

    Oops, I have just realised one of Les's photos shows a male Greenfinch, therefore this species wasn't just heard calling!

    January 7, 2014

  • Stephen

    Thanks for coming everyone and for the comments and 5-star ratings. Michael, we saw 2 male Hen Harriers and a male Marsh Harrier from the visitor centre at the end of the day but they were distant and the light was poor, hence the lack of photos. I was still very pleased to see the Hen Harriers as it's a species I don't often see and certainly not two males at once!

    January 7, 2014

  • Thuy B.

    Excellent Meetup!

    1 · January 6, 2014

  • Michael

    Great day. Stephen, thanks for organising and for you informed commentary, as usual. Highlights for me were the bullfinch and that ripplingly cold wind through the tower hide. Well, not a highlight exactly. You're all made of hardier stuff than I. Sorry to have missed the hen harrier. Lovely to see you all. Until next time.

    2 · January 6, 2014

  • Les B.

    A really enjoyable, stimulating day and good to familiar and new faces in a record turnout. A real surprise to see fieldfares at the start of the day, and again, with bullfinches at the end of the day in that tiny Alice in Wonderland tower hide.

    1 · January 5, 2014

  • Ali

    Interesting, fun and thankfully we had a lucky window of weather.

    1 · January 5, 2014

  • Becky

    A good day in a tranquil setting with a variety of birds. Thank you for organising it Stephen.

    1 · January 5, 2014

  • Susie

    Great walk in great company. Stephen's knowledge of birds always amazes me. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge & enthusiasm with us Stephen.
    My highlights:- the bullfinches & hen harrier at very end of day.
    I will upload my rather sadly 'mediocre' photos tomorrow. As predicted too many were blurred when seen on bigger screen :-(

    2 · January 5, 2014

  • Jacqui S.

    Great day, lovely venue. Great to see you all, the field fares were my highlight. Look forward to visiting Wicken Fen again in the summer. Really great the rain kept away!

    1 · January 5, 2014

  • Andy A.

    Very enjoyable,good to meet new people and just as good to see familiar faces.

    1 · January 5, 2014

  • Ava

    If the weather's reasonable I can probably make it

    January 3, 2014

    • Michael

      Hi Ava, we're just heading off around the free part of the reserve. If you get this text me on[masked] (or Stephen) if you're still coming. - Michael

      January 5, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    It posted before I finished!!! Not much time off so pretty tired, just up have a great time, if you go again I will try to come

    January 5, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry got to cancel had a lot of parties/working over Xmas and not much ti

    January 5, 2014

  • Rado

    Hope to be there

    January 5, 2014

  • Louise M.

    Sorry I can't make it....i'm not in Cambridge. That's a shame :(

    January 4, 2014

  • Susie

    I also have a spare pair of bins if anyone needs to borrow them. The forecast has improved for Sunday I think, with less rain forecast. I will be there whatever the weather!

    January 3, 2014

  • Stephen

    Thanks for the comments everyone (including Clare's and Oscar's even though you can't make it). Sorry for the lack of recent updates by me, I have computer problems at home at the moment and have only been able to get on the Internet at work. I am hoping to fix this tonight or tomorrow, but if I don't I might not be able to check this page on Sunday morning. In any case I suggest people take a note of my mobile number[masked] for contacting me on Sunday.

    This is looking like the most popular 'Birds of East Anglia' event yet! This is good but it means we might have to be a bit laid back about certain things, such as whether we can all fit in a hide, or even the cafe, at once, and whether everyone gets to see every bird which is spotted.

    I forgot to put my usual boilerplate in the details about having 2 spare pairs of binoculars I can lend out. This is still the case, if anyone else has a spare pair they might also come in useful.

    I look forward to seeing you all on Sunday!

    January 3, 2014

  • Oscar G.

    I'm going to be on retreat so I'll miss this one, well done Stephen for keeping the activities going over the cold months! And have a good time everyone.

    December 30, 2013

  • Clare B

    Hi Stephen. Should be a lovely afternoon - alas I can't make it but hope to be a the next event. Happy New Year to you and all the group.

    December 29, 2013

  • Thuy B.

    Excellent, Stephen!

    December 25, 2013

  • Les B.

    Yes, we'll come Stephen, although not sure yet whether by car or by train and take up your lift offer if it still available. I've long wanted to visit Wicken Fen. In the meantime, whatever everyone does over the Christmas break - enjoy it.

    December 23, 2013

  • mieke

    I hope to join this event, but it depends a little on family commitments. Also...... if it is bucketing you won't see me for dust! Strictly a dry weather walker/birder! ;-)

    December 23, 2013

  • Susie

    Need to get my January Rota before I can confirm but hope to join you!
    Little tip, if anyone is thinking of joining National Trust (free entry to LOADS of exciting places ) you can get reduced rate online beforehand or if you pay on day & then want to join they will refund entry fee if you join before you leave.

    December 23, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    pretty sure can make it, even if like last time i might work...can come along after, happy to pick up people in Cambridge if required....please ask and i can arrange a time/place.

    December 22, 2013

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