The Ely local Group of the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire is a relatively new group having started in 2007. It is a way for those who are interested in wildlife and conservation, to discover more about nature both by exploring outdoors and by attending illustrated talks given by experts in their field. The group is run by enthusiatic local volunteers who invite all who are interested to attend the meetings on the third Friday of the month. It is not necessary to be a member of the Wildlife Trust, although if you do join, local wildlife will benefit.
Our program is dictated by the weather. "Now it is October, don thy woolly smock" states the old proverb. A more apt version for us would be "Now it is October, head along to the Vernon Cross Room on the third Friday of every month for an evening of guaranteed enjoyment and wildlife-related interest. Woolly smocks optional." OK, it's unlikely to catch on as a piece of country lore, but is true nonetheless.
In the past we have been entertained by facts about creatures from amphibians to whales and from slugs to trees and we have been shown those special places for wildlife like the Broads, the Wash and the Great Fen. Our talks take place in the Vernon Cross Room, Ely Museum (Market Street, Ely) and begin at 7:45pm. Free parking is available in the East Cambs. District Council car-park (accessed from Nutholt Lane), which is next to the venue. Traditionally, in the middle of the winter program, we blow off the Christmas cobwebs with a New Year Wildlife Walk starting from the centre of Ely.
In summer we set out on the warmer evenings to discover the richness of local wildlife, again on the third Friday of the month, and on one summer weekend we venture further afield to places like Wheatfen Broad near Norwich and to Lakenheath Fen. The walks always have plenty of people to help with the identification and spotting of wildlife.
The Wildlife Trust is working with Ely Wildspace and E.C.D.C. to improve Ely Common for wildlife and make it more interesting for people. Members of the group also work on the area of Roswell Pits taking part in biannual "litter picks" and the bird race - a fun way of doing an intensive bird survey.
For further details about our talks, newsletter or indeed any of our events, please contact Will Burdett on firstname.lastname@example.org or (01353) 661339. Please mention our events to any friends or family who you think may be interested in attending.
Ely Local Group events coming up
Some wildlife seen on our walks
Ely Local Group Annual Summary and Future Events
Apus to Bombus
Those of us who enjoy ‘proper’ winters can have few complaints about that which we've just had, with plenty of cold weather and some snow. Spring has taken a while to get going so garden plants and native wildlife alike are playing catch-up. Now nature is very much getting into the spring/summer groove and there are numerous reasons to head outdoors again. However, before we look forward to the treats we have in store over the next six months we can firstly reflect on another successful series of winter talks.
Our indoor programme began with the visit of Dick Newell, speaking on behalf of Action For Swifts. We then headed north, at least thematically, in November, when our guest was Duncan MacDonald of Speyside Wildlife. Duncan introduced us to some of the iconic wildlife and landscapes to be found in the Scottish Highlands. Late December saw us hold our traditional post-Christmas walk. Although some ice underfoot, the general theme was wet and grey rather than 'Winter Wonderland'. However, that didn't stop a hardy band heading out along the river and round Roswell Pits. January saw the welcome return of Wildlife Trust BCN Chief Executive Brian Eversham who talked on the invertebrates found in gravel pits. In February Josh Hellon, also from the Wildlife Trust, demonstrated the various uses to which he is able to put drones to help map and manage our local reserves. Our guest in March was Josh Wells. He was able to provide a thorough introduction to the fascinating world of Britain’s bees. Finally, April saw us hold our AGM at which the current committee were voted in to their existing positions. Following the formal business, Clive gave an overview of the work being carried out at Welney WWT to increase the breeding population of Black-Tailed Godwits. Suitably fortified with delicious homemade cakes the meeting then tackled another of Will's Wildlife quizzes.
Happy Birthday to Us
As mentioned in the previous newsletter, the last indoor programme marked the tenth anniversary of the foundation of the Ely Local Group. We decided to mark this formally in January, when Brian Eversham was our guest. A beautiful (and tasty!) wildlife-themed cake helped us to celebrate the occasion properly. The committee would like to repeat their thanks to everyone who has supported us over the last decade and hope that you will be able to join us for walks, talks and work parties in the years ahead.
Riparian Rambles and Floral Forays
With the inexorable advance of spring it's now time to turn our thoughts to outdoor activities. Our summer programme began in May with an evening walk along the river and round Roswell Pits and in June we made the short trip over to Wicken Fen for an evening stroll round Baker's Fen. July sees another of our all-day trips. This year we will be heading over to Barnack Hills and Holes where the limestone grassland is a botanist's paradise. The site is home to a number of species of orchid, parasitic Dodder and Squinancywort. Although our chief focus will be flowers, the site is also good for insects, including Marbled White butterflies. As usual, we will be taking a break in August. In September we will once again hold a 'Creatures of the Night' event at Roswell Pits. Weather permitting, we hope to hold bat walks and moth trapping as we aim to discover the nocturnal denizens of the Pits area.
Dates for your diary
- Saturday 21st July – Visit to Barnack Hills & Holes NNR. Please contact Will for further details and to book a place.
- Friday 21st September – Creatures of the Night. Meet 7pm at Fishermen’s car-park (Willow Walk, Ely)
A reminder that Ely is lucky enough to have a Wildlife Watch group, aimed at young wildlife enthusiasts and their families. With monthly activities centred on the Roswell Pits area they explore a different seasonal facet of our local wildlife in a fun and informative way. For more information contact Clive on (01353) 610224.