July at Fowlmere

Water level quite low, but did not stop the enjoyment of the day seeing a lot of Lapwings and the Barn Owl of course.



  • That's a good view of a turtle dove! I still haven't seen or heard one this year.
    Adult male marsh harrier was hunting over the reedbed at 8.40am today.
  • In reply to Doug R:

    Did not get there til afternoon, so did not see the Marsh Harrier :( Turtle Dove was in that area where the little hut is, and the sound of water coming up from that pipe or whatever it is. The Linnets are well spread, and the occasional Cettis call, but he did not want me to see him today. Bullfinches up by the chalk path bit too. could not focus on them in time.
  • In reply to Doug R:

    Doug, is the Mere reliant solely on Rain fall to fill it ? or is water diverted into it ? Not seen the Livestock in there yet, but spoke to a Volunteer, who said that they were clearing the path way to get them in,
  • Please bear with me before I answer your specific question. Obviously I am no longer involved in the decision making, but I can speak from experience.
    In general terms, water enters the reserve on the south east side through natural springs and then moves through the reserve towards the stream. When the springs fail the option of pumping water is available, which enters the reserve at the black pipe and can be distributed to different parts of the reserve. In global terms, the chalk stream is the most important habitat on the reserve, and if that ever dries out the species that live in it will be lost. Therefore sustaining that ecosystem is the priority. It is possible to divert water into the reedbeds, but I don't know if that is being done at the moment. Apart from lack of rain, the big problem at this time of year is evapotranspiration, the process by which water is transferred to the atmosphere by plants. This means that every reed becomes a little pump, drawing water from the ground and releasing it into the air. Rainfall has an immediate effect on the mere in the short term, but sustained rainfall is required to recharge the subterranean aquifers from which the springs flow.
    I'm not party to the decisions re livestock, but at this stage, with the water level in the mere being so low, one of the main concerns would be cattle escaping by walking across the mud.
    One final note - volunteers (including me) rarely see the 'big picture' and are therefore not necessarily a reliable source of information. I remember a visitor telling me 'the warden said...' before saying something completely weird. He was rather taken aback when I told him that I was the warden, and he had either been misinformed or had misunderstood what had been said.
  • I know you used to be the Warden, we met a few times around the Reserve, One day you were sat where I saw the lizard, and was pointing ut the Hobby etc.. flying over. Another time, you were in the Reed Bed hide having lunch and was talking about how well the Cettis Warbler was showing and the Reed Warblers etc.. I have not net the new Warden, have spoken to a few volunteers around there though. I was just curious to know how the Reed bed got the water, you had previously told me about the spring, and indeed, I think it is in the Reed Bed hide, that there is a huge poster that explains the process. Thanks for taking your time to provide us all with insight. I feel the reserve is in good hands, that is why I like to visit there as much as I do.