Fenland floods

Because the land is very flat to the north of Cambridge there is a lot of infrastructure to deal with flooding and that includes extensive flood relief around Earith. A couple of weekends ago there were lots of waders and ducks making the most of the flood waters there including black tailed godwit and blue winged teal (Spatula discors), an unusual visitor from north America.

A flock of black tailed godwit (Limosa limosa)

The birds were too far away to photograph individuals but we estimated there were 2-300 in total. There were many other birds on the water and mixed in with this group were teal (Anas crecca), redshank (Tringa totanus) and the ubiquitous black headed gulls (Chroicocephalus ridibundus). We didn’t see the blue winged teal but the regular teal, shoveller, redshank and godwit more than made up for that.

Right at the start of the walk there were two coot nests, one was being sat on and the other was in the final stages of construction.

Female coot (Fulica atra) busily building her nest platform above the water

And whilst the female was occupied with home making, the male was otherwise engaged defending his territory and squaring up to another male:

Unfortunately all this mating activity was to no avail, on the same walk a week later the flood water had receded and both the coot nesting sites were left high and dry and were deserted. But there is a huge area here which is suitable breeding habitat for coots so hopefully they found somewhere a tad more permanent

It was a bright and sunny spring morning and the route was regularly punctuated by the song of chiffchaffs which could be seen flitting around the trees. And then this little chap popped up right in front of us on a bramble just a few feet away

Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) posing for a portrait
Another very obliging pose

The chiffchaff has a distinctive song from which it gets its name and is one of the first migrant warblers to arrive back in the UK from its winter feeding grounds in north Africa. It can be heard as early as late February and at this time of year there are many of them singing in the tree tops.

2 responses to “Fenland floods

  1. I am glad to get a new edition. It has been ages since I have received one. 🙂

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