Holme fen

Rare rap­tors are among the at­trac­tions here

Bird Watching (UK) - - Go Birding -

Holme Fen in­cludes the low­est point in the UK, with the Holme Posts be­ing nearly three me­tres be­low sea level, but visit in win­ter and your at­ten­tion will be firmly fixed on the skies. We’ll deal with the bird­ing to be found in the Na­tional Na­ture Re­serve in a forth­com­ing is­sue, but at this time of year, we will fo­cus in­stead on the good­ies to be en­joyed by watch­ing from the roads (traf­fic is light once you’re off the B660 aka Long Drove, but there are no pave­ments, so take care and make sure you’re vis­i­ble). It has been an ex­cel­lent site for Rough-legged Buz­zards in re­cent years, with two present this win­ter. One of them is ut­terly un­mis­tak­able, but beware, as Buz­zards and Red Kites are both plen­ti­ful here, so false alarms might hap­pen. From the road look­ing across the fen to­wards Yax­ley, Kestrel, Mer­lin, Pere­grine, Spar­rowhawk, Marsh Har­rier (and some­times Hen Har­rier) Short-eared Owl and Barn Owl are all pos­si­ble and even prob­a­ble on win­ter af­ter­noons. An­other preda­tor recorded here in win­ter is Great Grey Shrike. One a few win­ters back help­fully hunted right next to the level cross­ing, en­liven­ing in­ter­minable waits for the bar­ri­ers to rise. But they can be very mo­bile when present, so check tele­phone wires, fen­ce­posts, and any other suit­able perches for these fierce hunters. The whole area is part of the Great Fen Project, which will ul­ti­mately link up Holme Fen with other wet­land sites such as Wood­wal­ton Fen, cre­at­ing a swathe of valu­able, un­bro­ken habi­tat for wildlife. matt mer­ritt

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