• Successful workshops have brought local knowledge and enthusiasm to our local access routes project

    This spring Charlotte hosted a series of workshops with support from the wider RSPB team; Chris, Hannah, Richard and Jonathan.  Thank you to all local residents that attended and helped to design the routes and select the destination features to be installed on the routes. These included an owl box and new benches.

    We are sure that this work will create maps that encourage members of the local community to use sustainable…

    • 30 Jun 2022
  • Celebrating World Wetlands Day in style

    On 2nd February The Hanson RSPB Wetland Project celebrated World Wetlands Day in style this year, by flooding three new areas for wildlife at Ouse Fen nature reserve. The new sluices have been installed and were opened for the first time in January this year, just in time for World Wetlands Day. We will control the water levels in the new wetlands to ensure there is just the right amount of water in there for reed growth…

    • 17 Feb 2022
  • New Visitor Entrance opens at RSPB Ouse Fen!

    We are very excited to be able to let you know that the new entrance to Ouse Fen is now officially open! A brand-new carpark and entrance have been built to allow access to the latest newly restored areas of the reserve. At the new entrance you can find a short access-for-all path to a viewpoint and picnic area, with onward routes to new trails and connections to long-distance public rights of way.  

    When you visit, you…

    • 23 Jul 2021
  • Progress for wildlife and visitors despite the Covid crisis

    Despite the Covid crisis, the project partners have continued to make good progress on the wetland restoration and to maintain essential reserve operations. 

    Although most species survey and monitoring works was cancelled in line with Covid restrictions, from what we could gather in some early spring survey work our key breeding species, bittern, remained stable with 8 ‘booming’ males that continue to spread to the newest…

    • 2 Oct 2020
  • Summer 2020 News from Ouse Fen & the Hanson-RSPB Wetland Project

    Since our last update RSPB Ouse Fen has continued to grow and our key species are thriving.

    Prior to the Covid-19 lockdown, early spring survey work recorded promising numbers of bittern had begun to voice their distinctive ‘boom’ from the reedbeds in the early dawn.  This included bittern spreading north into the most recently established reedbeds.  Elsewhere on the site a pair of cranes again showed interest…

    • 19 Jun 2020
  • Forthcoming events on the reserve

    Good afternoon. Spring is now upon us and the reserve’s event programme will begin soon. A total of four events will be taking place on the reserve during April and May. I therefore thought I would take this opportunity to give them a bit of a plug.

    Two early morning Reedbed rambles are planned and here are the details:

    Join one of the Ouse Fen Wardens, for a walk around the reedbeds to look at how the partnership…

    • 6 Mar 2019
  • A "golden" surprise

    The reserve team had a pleasant surprise last week, so its over to Warden Hannah Bernie to tell us more:

    If you have ever come across the plant trifid bur-marigold you will know how annoying their seeds are when they get stuck to your clothes!! We have plenty of this plant on cell 5 ( which is a part of the reserve which isn't currently open to the public) However, we were pleasantly surprised when we were out with botanist…

    • 17 Oct 2018
  • A celebration of National Volunteers' Week: Meet Rick Harrison, Ouse Fen and Fen Drayton Lakes volunteer

    As it is National Volunteers’ Week, here is a special interview with Ouse Fen and Fen Drayton Lakes volunteer Rick Harrison. They are my questions and his answers. I hope you enjoy reading this!

    What inspired you to start volunteering with the RSPB?

    Although having been interested in wildlife all my life, and a member of the RSPB for many years, I was not aware of the local volunteer work parties. My wife died…

    • 5 Jun 2018
  • National and international visitors to the reserve

    Good afternoon. After all of the excitement of last week, when a female little crake was heard calling on the reserve (please read here for more information), things have returned to some kind of state of normality once again at Ouse Fen.

    The week before the little crake was heard, there were two group visits to the reserve, one of national delegates and the other of international delegates.

    On Wednesday 16 May, the…

    • 30 May 2018
  • A "little" surprise

    One of the things that I love about working at a nature reserve is that you never know what is going to turn up.

    RSPB Ouse Fen has been on a hot streak this week and I am very pleased to announce that a little crake has been heard on the reserve this week. This member of the rail family, which superficially resembles our resident water rail but is considerably smaller, has never been recorded nesting in Britain. In fact…

    • 23 May 2018
  • RSPB Ouse Fen update

    Good afternoon. It is time for an update so here is what has been going on at Ouse Fen recently.

    There were at least seven booming male bitterns and the birds should start nesting very soon.

    There are least six prospective marsh harrier nests. Interestingly, one of the marsh harriers that is currently present is a wing tagged individual. It has green wing tags with "6A"  in white letters on each tag. Here is…

    • 18 May 2018
  • Dawn at the Ouse Washes and dusk at the Nene Washes

    Good morning. I am writing to let you know that for the first time in many years, we are running some guided walks at RSPB Ouse Washes and RSPB Nene Washes

    On Sunday 27 May 6am-8am, "The Wonders of the Ouse Washes" will take place:

    The end of May is a fantastic time to visit RSPB Ouse Washes.

    Join the reserve Warden Paul for an early morning two kilometre walk around parts of the reserve that aren’t usually…

    • 18 May 2018
  • It's boom time!

    Good afternoon. I am very pleased to announce that bitterns are now starting to boom on the reserve!

    The reserve team were out surveying yesterday morning and they head at least five, probably six males booming in the reedbed.

    They started their survey bright and early at 4.50am and despite the fact that it was raining, the birds were still booming. The majority of them could be heard from the Reedbed Trail around the…

    • 16 Mar 2018
  • Meet the Wonder Warden!

    This piece was initially published in the Cambridge Independent

    Being a warden on a nature reserve is tough. It’s even tougher when you’re starting with a blank canvas.

    Needingworth Quarry, here in Cambridgeshire is a working site for sand and gravel extraction. Over 28 million tonnes of sand and gravel will be excavated in defined sections until 2030. Once excavated, Hanson – aggregate experts – are progressively…

    • 8 Mar 2018
  • RSPB Ouse Fen Reedbed Safaris

    Good morning. You may be interested to hear that we are running four Reedbed Safaris at RSPB Ouse Fen this spring.

    Join one of the Ouse Fen wardens for an exclusive behind the scenes tour of the Hanson-RSPB Wetland Project. Come and see for yourselves how Hanson and the RSPB are working together to create a nature reserve from a working quarry. This is conservation on a landscape scale. You will see how the reserve progresses…

    • 2 Mar 2018
  • Celebrating Women In Science and Conservation

    Good afternoon. You may be interested to hear that RSPB Ouse Fen Warden Hannah Bernie will be taking part in the "Meet The Scientist" part of the Celebrating Women in Science and Conservation event in Cambridge on Thursday 8 March. 

    Here are a couple of pictures of Hannah at work on the reserve:

    Working with Assistant Warden Richard Taylor:

    Image credits: Matt York

    In a boat with presenter Matt…

    • 22 Feb 2018
  • A behind the scenes look at when BBC Countryfile visited the Hanson RSPB Wetland Project

    Exciting news! This Sunday, the Hanson-RSPB Wetland Project featured on BBC Countryfile. Whether you saw it or not, here is a behind the scenes blog post and photos about the day that Countryfile visited Ouse Fen.

    It was an early start on Friday 26 January and I got to Hanson UK’s offices at Needingworth Quarry at 07.20. After a quick chat with Hilton Law, the quarry’s Site Manager, I met up with RSPB Project Manager…

    • 12 Feb 2018
  • Some exciting news!

    We are very pleased to say that BBC Countryfile were on site filming on Friday 26 January. The feature will be broadcast as part of the programme on Sunday 11 February. We can't wait to see it!

    More photographs and information willow follow in due course, but there are a couple of landscape images from the day:

    A view from inside the quarry:


    The afternoon light over the reedbeds:

    Image credits: David Whi…

    • 30 Jan 2018
  • RSPB reserves in the Cambridgeshire Fens review of 2017

    Happy New Year to you all! We hope you all had good festive seasons.

    I will start the year with a review of 2017 from our RSPB reserves in the Cambridgeshire Fens:

    RSPB Fen Drayton Lakes

    The reserve was treated to the presence of a rare bird in May when a female red footed falcon appeared on 5 May. It was present for a couple of weeks and bought lot's of people to the reserve.  Please follow this link to find a photograph…

    • 2 Jan 2018
  • The Hanson RSPB Wetland Project now has its very own project page!

    Good afternoon. Here is a short blog post to let you know that the Hanson RSPB Wetland Project to create RSPB Ouse Fen now has its very own project page.

    It includes lots of information about the project and the new promotional video which shows how Ouse Fen is being created at Needingworth Quarry. 

    Please follow this link to find the page. We hope you like it!

    • 5 Dec 2017
  • Something Fishy at Ouse Fen – Guest blog post by, Matt York Senior Project Manager

    Over the past year, Ouse Fen Warden Hannah Bernie, and Assistant Warden Richard Taylor have been leading the mighty Ouse Fen volunteers in one of their tasks to remove willow from reedbeds (to stop them turning into wet woodland) and using the wood to create brash bundles: 

    They have also been filling an enormous amount of sand bags:


    Image credits: Debra Royal

    Why, you might wonder? It’s all in the name of providing…

    • 9 Nov 2017
  • Improving the view

    The reserve team have been very busy recently. Along with contractors, a viewing mound is in the process of being built at the end of the Reedbed Trail on the reserve:

    Image credit: Matt York

    If you are not sure where this is on the reserve, a reserve map can be found here. This will provide reserve visitors with a focal point at the end of the trail. It will also make it easier to see the bitterns, marsh har…

    • 27 Oct 2017
  • A visit by a Chinese delegation

    A senior delegation from Shanghai, China, recently visited the Hanson-RSPB Wetland Project at Ouse Fen to see the reedbed and wetland habitat creation as part of their visit to the UK. The visit included Directors from the Shanghai Chongming Dongtan National Nature Reserve, itself a large wetland reserve, and they were keen to see flagship projects which are examples of the RSPB working with the construction industry…

    • 2 Oct 2017
  • New Ouse Fen promotional video!

    Good morning. Matt York, RSPB Ouse Fen Project Manager will be doing a talk at Birdfair at 1.30pm this afternoon. His talk is entitled: The Hanson RSPB Wetland Project: Creating RSPB Ouse Fen. More details can be found here.

    In order to celebrate this, we have recently debuted a new promotional video about the project to create RSPB Ouse Fen. If you haven't seen it yet, it can be found in the following places:

    • 19 Aug 2017
  • RSPB Ouse Fen sightings June

    Bittern Males stopped booming a fortnight ago but feeding flights are still ongoing.  Patience may be rewarded with a view of a bird flying in to the margins of the open water on Cuckoo Fen, or taking off from said margins having caught fish.  Scanning reed margins is always worth a go as these masters of camouflage can occasionally be quite conspicuous.

    Marsh harriers  Unfortunately both Cuckoo Fen nests…

    • 26 Jun 2017