Blogger: Charlotte Pledger, Youth, Education and Families Officer

Last Friday saw me at one of Fen Drayton’s family events. I arrived feeling very good about my carbon footprint, having got there by train and the shiny new Guided Busway! The bus stops on the doorstep of the reserve so no excuses for not going for a visit to this beautiful part of the world.

The ‘Deadly Dozen Bug Hunt’ advertised on the Fen Drayton web page had intrigued me, as well as many local families and the event had been booked up well in advance. The hunt started and the sharp-eyed children soon started finding many bugs, including huge numbers of harvest spiders and hover flies. Neil let them know if they were deadly predators or not. After an hour, although we had found a lot, there were only seven classed as predators. However, in a last minute rush, orb and wolf spiders and ladybirds were discovered to make a grand total of 15 deadly bugs. Not all bugs were predators but amongst all the impressive finds was a HUGE caterpillar, later identified as an elephant hawkmoth caterpillar (pic below).

The staff and volunteers at Fen Drayton provided an excellent opportunity for children, parents and grandparents to find out so much more about the creepy crawly deadly creatures around them. Many were going home with their ID sheets to see what predators lurk in their gardens.

Pond dipping events have also proved very popular at the reserve and speaking to some of the families, they had already booked to try this out or had been the previous week. If you would like to go down to try your hand at bug hunting on land on in the water have a look here The RSPB: Fen Drayton Lakes: Events. There are even free children's places available on production of a Cambridgeshire Guided Busway ticket and voucher from the busway press.