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Wildlife introduction

Rare species
New species
Extinct species

Species information:
Monthly reports
Marsh Harrier
Migration dates
Ringing 2005
Ringing 2006
Ringing 2007
Ringing 2008
Ringing 2009
Ringing 2010
Ringing 2011
Ringing 2012


Wildlife at Wicken

Wicken Fen is home to an incredible range of wildlife. The rich, peat soil of the sedge fen and the centuries of management enable hundreds of plant species to thrive. The soil, water and plants create habitats for thousands of animal species. In total over 8020 species of plants, fungi and animals have been recorded making Wicken Fen one of the most species rich nature reserves in Britain.

The birds, dragonflies, butterflies and wild flowers are the most easily seen wildlife when you walk around the Fen. From the Tower Hide there are great views over the Mere (a shallow lake) and of its birds such as herons, cormorants, many ducks and geese, and often a marsh harrier. The bright yellow brimstone butterfly flies at Wicken from March onwards along with 27 other butterfly species. Britain's largest dragonfly, the emperor, is common, as are 18 other species.

The clear water in the ditches, ponds and river (locally called a 'Lode') attract a lot of the wildlife. You can see roach, rudd and perch in Wicken Lode, whirligig beetles and pond skaters whizzing around on the water surface and dragonflies will 'hawk' up and down hunting insects and looking for mates. You might even see a grass snake swimming along a ditch looking for frogs - its favourite food (photo, below, courtesy of Kevin Simmonds).

Wicken Fen is a special place because it is a surviving fragment of the once huge area of fen wetland that stretched from Cambridge to the Wash. Many of the species that live at Wicken are now very rare in Britain. Sadly some of the species that did occur at Wicken have now become extinct. This is because Wicken Fen is simply too small and too isolated from other fen nature reserves for all these species to survive forever.

Follow the links on the left of the screen for more information about the huge variety of wildlife at Wicken including the rare species.

For more information about how The National Trust is planning for the future of the wildlife at Wicken and to improve peoples' access to wildlife, follow the link to The Wicken Vision.

National Trust
Wicken Fen, Lode Lane, Wicken, Ely, Cambridgeshire, CB7 5XP, UK
Tel/Fax: (+44) (0)1353 720274 | Email: