Over the winter months, work has been carried out at the nature reserve in south Lincolnshire to allow people to visit the site without disturbing the cranes and other wildlife.
A track which cut through the centre of the reserve has been removed and the spoil used to create a raised car park and viewing area. The views across the reserve from the new view point are superb and offer great opportunities for seeing wildlife.
The car park and view point are open every day from 9am until dusk (or 9pm) when the Crane Watch volunteers are on site. The volunteers will help visitors see the cranes and other wildlife, and answer any questions.
Cranes are faithful partners with lifelong pair-bonds. After spending the winter in flocks of up to 40 birds in the Norfolk Broads or the Nene and Ouse Washes, they return to their breeding sites. The Willow Tree Fen pair returned a few weeks ago and have already started to breed. Sightings can’t be guaranteed but the birds are regularly seen from the new view point. Over the past couple of weeks, there have also been sightings of hen harrier, marsh harrier, kingfisher, great white egret, brown hare and roe deer.
What has been achieved at Willow Tree Fen since the Trust bought the land in 2009 is remarkable. It shows the resilience of nature and how it can bounce back if given a chance. Since it became a nature reserve 1,137 species have been recorded including: 162 different species of beetle, 346 species of flowering plant and 173 species of bird.