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Photographs shown above:  © Nigel Sprowell

Breaking News!

 

DELAY TO THE OPENING OF HOLT ISLAND NATURE RESERVE

This year’s floods have caused considerable damage to the older boardwalk non-slip strips, and as a result they will need to be replaced before the Island can be safely opened to the public.

This work would normally be done by our Practical Volunteers under the direction of our Huntingdon District Council Ranger, but given the Government’s recent announcements HDC will not be using volunteer parties at this time. Our Ranger will carry on the work on his own when he can, but we do not know how long the repairs will take. Be assured, we will open as soon as it is safe to do so.

However, in the interests of our visitors’ and volunteers’ safety in the current crisis, when we do open we will not be opening our interpretive centre, the Holt. This is necessary to protect everyone as it is an enclosed space and very difficult to clean thoroughly.

SCHOOLS AND YOUTH GROUPS

Once the Island is safely opened again you are very welcome to book visits, and we will continue to open and close the Island for you. However, we will not be opening the Holt (for the reasons explained above) and will not be able to offer you volunteers to help. There are a lot of activity worksheets and our Education Pack available on the website to download, for use on the Island.

FAMILY FUN DAY WITH THE NORRIS – TREASURE ISLAND – 28TH MAY

Our first priority will always be the safety of our visitors and our volunteers, and we will make a decision nearer the time as to whether this event will go ahead.

 

 

 

We’ve been bringing you regular updates from our swans' nest, and we're delighted to report that eight cygnets hatched on the 7th May!

Nigel Sprowell reports: “I have been monitoring our swans' nest since the end of March. It does take time to lay a clutch of eight very large eggs and she does have to leave the nest from time to time and when she does so, the eggs are covered in nesting material, making it difficult to be sure how many there are.

Once all the eggs have been laid, she sits tight to brood them as ideally they all need to hatch at the same time. This, on average, can take up to 34 days. During that time she can appear very lethargic and lonely, as her mate tends to stay away, which can give the impression she has been deserted. He does take turns to brood from time to time allowing her a break but in the main he keeps his distance. Recently this led to a member of the public expressing concern for the health our swan. However, regular monitoring and use of 24 hour surveillance cameras allayed any fears. In fact the male has been seen patrolling the end of the Waits by the main river. It is wonderful that people take so much interest in what is happening on our Island.

I am delighted to say that all 8 eggs hatched on 7th May, in line with the average incubation time. Despite being drenched the very next day, all the cygnets look very well and are now giving lots of enjoyment to the public as the proud mum, and occasionally dad, parade them up and down the river, retiring periodically to the nest for a rest and more photos!

I’m sure we all wish them well”

Please note that the grassy path is now open again.  Thank you all for letting our swan family "nest in peace"!

Did you know? It takes 2-3 weeks to build a mute swan nest, which is a huge mound of material, normally dried grasses and assorted vegetation, sticks and rushes, constructed at the water's edge. The nest is built by the female, while the male supplies the materials.  It takes around six weeks’ incubation (sitting on the eggs) before the cygnets (young swans) hatch, and the cygnets stay with their parents for 4 - 5 months.

swan on the nest with chicks   swan and cygnets
 © Nigel Sprowell    © Les Goodey

 
cygnets on the nest

© Nigel Sprowell