Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Monday, September 19, 2011
Prior's Fen used to be one of the best areas in the PBC area for birds. It consists of a succession of gravel pits on farmland near the Nene Washes. Flying in west from along the River Nene from The Wash, it is one of the first decent-sized areas of water a bird will see. Back in the day, the edges were fresh and muddy, so waders turned up regularly. The two pits in the east were undisturbed and there were good flocks of wildfowl, and the area became one of the best for wild geese and ducks such as Smew and Scaup. The reeds held annual Bearded Tits in autumn.
The best pit of all was dug in the early 2000s and left with little water for a long time. This had Peterborough's first successful breeding pair of Avocets and was a great place to look for all the main scarce waders, even Pectoral Sandpiper. Later, as it filled, it still drew in regular Rock Pipits, Smew and Scaup and was where Kevin Du Rose et al found a Sabine's Gull in September 2004, a week after he found a Red-backed Shrike.
Noweadays, the management has changed, the footpath from Stonebridge Corner is a shameful disgrace – ploughed over in an attempt to make the site as inaccessible as possible. The overgrown, edgeless pits are surrounded in stiff barbed wire and electric fencing, and are so disturbed by fishing that they are bird free; and the mood is threatening and very unpleasant.
The farmers, fishermen and gunmen have done their job and it is now, sadly like many areas in the PBC area now not worth visiting.
Here, though, is a nice, richly-coloured (?Greenland) Wheatear along the 'footpath'. Probably the last bird I will ever photograph at Prior's Fen.
Posted by Mike Weedon at 6:41 AM