• Whats lurking beneath the surface at Fen Drayton Lakes: Guest blog post by Simon Freedman, Assistant Warden

    A random encounter on a trip to Skokholm Island in Pembrokeshire back in June led me to being introduced to Kev Rowley, a freshwater invertebrate enthusiast, predominantly beetles and bugs, who I was told “would be interested in doing some surveys at your reserve”. I didn’t think anything would come of this, but a few weeks ago we finished our base survey of the reserve having carried out dips at 25 sites around our lakes…

    • 11 Dec 2018
  • An hour at the Welcome Shelter 15/11/18

    There has been a small starling murmuration on the reserve recently. The birds made an impressive spectacle over the reserve car park last weekend. Assistant Warden Simon therefore spent a couple of hours at the Welcome Shelter yesterday afternoon to try to see them. Unfortunately, he only saw around 100 which is a shame. 

    However, he did see 34 different bird species in an hour between 3pm & 4pm. Here is his list:…

    • 16 Nov 2018
  • Important information: Car park and facilities closed Monday 2 April

    Unfortunately, the car park and facilities are closed today due to the recent rainfall and high water levels. We are very sorry for any inconvenience caused. Hopefully, the water levels will drop soon!
    • 2 Apr 2018
  • Easter Willow weaving workshop Sunday 25 March, 10am-4pm

    Good afternoon. Are you looking for an unusual gift for a loved one this Easter? If you are, then read on: On Sunday 25 March, 10am-4pm, we have an Easter willow weaving workshop. Reserve volunteer Alan will be leading the workshop and he will show you how to weave your own Easter basket out of willow harvested at RSPB Fen Drayton Lakes. No previous experience is required, just the enthusiasm to learn! The event…
    • 20 Mar 2018
  • High water everywhere

    Over the Christmas and New Year period we experienced a moderate flood on the reserve. The reserve acts as a flood reservoir, protecting local villages from the sheer volume of water which enters the great Ouse. The flooding caused some sections of the reserve to be closed, with access to the hide requiring chest waders.

    Approach to the hide

    Moore Lake with islands completely submerged

    Although the flooding was…

    • 15 Jan 2018
  • A new view

    We have been beavering away on the reserve recently and have opened up a new viewpoint. The new viewpoint can be found on the North West of Elney Lake and adds an extra element of interest to one of our most wooded trails.


    We felled the lake side willows and then our team of hard working and enthusiastic volunteers created a dead hedge to really finish it off.


    So why not wrap up warm and take a stroll down to Fen…

    • 7 Dec 2017
  • Improvements for people and wildlife

    Habitat management

    We have recently been removing trees from the shores of the grassland on Ferry lagoon. This work is part of the ongoing improvements being made for breeding waders and wintering wildfowl. Waders, such as lapwing and redshank require open areas of wet grassland in which to nest and raise their chicks, whilst wildfowl such as wigeon utilise these same areas in winter. The felling of the large willows…

    • 31 Oct 2017
  • Wigeon are coming

    Now that summer is over the lakes are starting to take on a different feel. Leaves are starting to turn a beautiful blend of colours, hedgerows are bursting with berries and it is getting wetter underfoot.

    The birds which use the reserve are also changing, with some species leaving, some passing through and others arriving for the winter. Birds leaving include whitethroats, willow warblers and garden warblers, which…

    • 14 Sep 2017
  • Willow emeralds find a home at RSPB Fen Drayton Lakes

    When I first started working at Fen Drayton Lakes in November 2015 I commented that willow emerald damselfly must occur on the site, as the habitat looks perfect. Now, just under two years later, I can confirm that the species is present on site. Today I searched for, and found, a single willow emerald damselfly on Holywell Pond. This species is a fairly recent colonist of the UK and is currently spreading westwards from…

    • 30 Aug 2017
  • A new perspective

    The new seasonal trail and viewing shelter at Fen Drayton Lakes is now open. The trail can be accessed via the northern river bank path which follows the shores of Ferry lagoon.

    This area gives visitors a new perspective of Ferry lagoon and the wetland bird species which call the reserve home. We hope you enjoy your visit.

    • 10 Aug 2017
  • The times they are a changing

    We have now reached the end of July and schools out for summer. The reserve is currently alive with dragonflies, damselflies, bees, beetles, birds, moths and oh so much more, making it a great time of year to visit.

    At this time of year I start to turn my attention to the post breeding movement of birds, especially waders. Once these birds have bred they start to move south and will stop off at wetland sites to fuel…

    • 27 Jul 2017
  • Dragons & beasties at the lakes

    We have now entered June, a time of year where the birds begin to go quiet as they are busily feeding young. Parents will be hurriedly collecting insect prey to nourish their chicks before the summer is over and they return to their wintering grounds. This reduction in bird activity and song sees many nature enthusiasts take a keener interest in insects throughout the height of summer, and there is plenty to see at Fen…

    • 6 Jun 2017
  • The magic of migration

    We have now entered May and bird migration has stepped up a notch. The reserve is crawling with birds, with the hedgerows in particular being rammed full of migratory songsters. A short walk around Ferry lagoon gives you the opportunity to hear up to ten different species of warbler including reed warbler, sedge warbler, chiffchaff, garden warbler and blackcap. The level of noise in the mornings is quite spectacular as…

    • 8 May 2017
  • The joys of spring

    An early morning walk around the lakes will currently place you amongst one of nature’s greatest and most reliable events, the dawn chorus. Cetti’s warblers are blasting out their distinctive call, blackcaps are going berserk amongst the hedgerows, the first reed warblers are filling the air with their robotic rhythmic song and willow warblers add a delightfully sweet voice to the chaos.


    Willow warbler by…

    • 11 Apr 2017
  • Out with the old and in with the new

    The temperatures are gradually rising, the sun is beginning to show itself more often and insects have begun to join the birds in the skies, it’s out with the old and in with the new at the lakes.

    Two pairs of oystercatcher have now returned to the reserve and are already busy looking for where they will nest this year. They add a dash of colour with their big carrot like beaks, whilst also being easily heard as…

    • 16 Mar 2017
  • Frozen lakes and signs of spring

    During late January the temperatures plummeted and the lakes were mostly frozen over. This meant that wildfowl numbers were lower than usual, however the lakes still produced good birds. These included a green sandpiper at Moore lake, a smew on Drayton Lagoon and singles of Iceland and glaucous gulls roosting at Ferry lagoon. During this period the scenery around the reserve was exceptionally beautiful, particularly on…

    • 8 Feb 2017
  • Ghostly figure in the mist

    This morning I rose before the sun and treated myself to a stroll around Ferry lagoon. The scenery was breathtaking as the sun rose through the mist to the sounds of whistling wigeon which were already busily grazing the wet grassland and lake edge. Mute swans appeared majestically along the river Ouse and a group of long-tailed tits gave great views as they became active again after a bitterly cold night. However, the…

    • 18 Jan 2017
  • Visitor from the east

    This week at Fen Drayton Lakes has seen a plethora of avian activity.

    The new earthworks on Ferry lagoon currently hold at least 1000 lapwing, which are quite a spectacle when they take flight and reel around above the lake. Beautiful bullfinch can be seen among the hedgerows and the mild weather has seen the dunnocks start to become more vocal and active around the reserve.

    However the star bird of this week has been…

    • 16 Dec 2016
  • Lots to see

    There is certainly a lot to see at the lakes at current. The hedgerows are full of redwings and blackbirds gorging themselves on winter berries, whilst beautiful bullfinches can also be spotted. A bittern dropped into the Holywell reedbed by the car park on the 15th and a marsh harrier can also be seen quartering this area.

    Two great white egrets have been seen amongst double figures of little egrets over at Moore lake…

    • 16 Nov 2016
  • Bye!

    Just a short (and final!) blog as this is my last day as Visitor Experience Officer and I will be handing over all things blogging and events to our wardening teams. Thanks to everyone who helped at, or attended, one of our many events this year. We've had a busy, successful summer and I've had a great time working for the RSPB. Keep an eye on our website for upcoming events at both Fen Drayton Lakes and Ouse Fen!…

    • 4 Nov 2016
  • Starling murmurations: an update

    Still not a lot to report at the moment - small flocks are starting to gather and appear to be roosting in the Elney reedbed, visible from the Elney viewpoint. However, they are going straight to roost with no murmurations. We will keep you posted when things start to happen. It has been fairly mild so far and this might be having an effect. 

    If you have any updates, please let us know!

    • 25 Oct 2016
  • Starling mumurations

    We've been receiving a few enquiries about this years starling murmurations - not a lot is happening at the moment. The roost will build throughout October and will peak in November. Keep an eye out on the blog and Facebook/Twitter  - we will let you know when the roost is established. 

    • 12 Oct 2016
  • A first for Fen Drayton Lakes!

    This weekend the first female Nathusius’ pipistrelle ever caught in Cambridgeshire was caught at RSPB Fen Drayton Lakes.

    The Nathusius’ pipistrelle (Pipistrellus nathusii) is a migratory bat species found at areas of open water throughout the UK. This small species is found from Western Europe to Asia but, to date, there are only around 1200 records in Great Britain and Ireland. It is not yet known whether…

    • 4 Oct 2016
  • Autumn at Fen Drayton Lakes

    Autumn is here! While for some the countdown is on to the start of spring (174 days, if you are interested!), I absolutely love this time of year. My jumpers are unpacked and  l can't wait for the colourful and crisp walks that this season brings. 

    Autumn is a great time at the reserve as well. Leaves are starting to turn all shades of yellows, oranges and reds and the hedgerows are covered in berries - what better…

    • 26 Sep 2016
  • Meet the Assistant Warden!

    Luke is probably a familiar sight to many regular visitors to the reserve, even if you don't know his name. Just last week a visitor asked me  what the name was of the chap with curly hair who always wore a bandanna! I decided it would be a good idea (much to the dismay of the wardens!) for us to find out a bit more about them and their wardening ways!

    First up is Luke Wake, our Assistant Warden since November last…

    • 8 Sep 2016