One of Europe’s most important wetlands, Wicken Fen has recorded more than nine-thousand species, including rare butterflies, dragonflies, birds and plants. Members of the public can view the fens via a series of raised board-walks and grass paths that provide easy access to flowering meadows, sedge and reed-beds. Here it is possible to hear and sometimes see bitterns and cuckoos. In summer rare orchids and dragonfly's can be viewed and winter brings hen harriers and short-eared owls.
Warblers are in serious decline and classified on the Red List Species. At Wicken Fen, the Reed Warbler arrives in mid-April when it builds tiny nests along the banks of the Lodes, ditches or in the reed-beds.
Wicken Fen is one of the best places to see dragonflies in the United Kingdom with 22 species including the Emperor dragonfly and Red Eyed damselfly breeding on the Fen. To confirm the species, wait for them to land. If they fold their wings closed along their abdomens they are damselflies. If they leave their wings flat open they are dragonflies. Most of the dragonflies' life cycle is spent underwater first as an egg and then a larva. The larval stage can last two years or more, whilst flying adults mostly only survive for a couple of weeks.
Twenty species of butterflies can be seen on the Butterfly Trail in Spring and Summer at Wicken Fen. The Butterfly Trail is a habitat built specifically for butterflies, with trees providing shelter from the wind and sun. Species seen include the brimstone, ringlet, painted lady, common blue and small and Essex skipper.
A new species the Willow Emerald Damselfly was recorded at Wicken for the first time in 2016. The Norfolk Hawker was also recorded, the first time it has been seen at Wicken for more than 120 years.
Details of all species recorded at Wicken Fen can be found on the National Biodiversity Network Gateway.