Nene Park is proud of the rich diversity wildlife species that make their home here. From otters, herons and kingfishers spotted along the river bank to the wide range of migrating birds that come to the restored wetland meadows and woodland wildflowers, there is plenty to enjoy and discover. Here are some key highlights to look out for:

Birds

Bird watchers come from around the region to see what they can spot across Nene Park. Sightings reported to the Duty Ranger are displayed on a bird sightings board near the Visitor Centre in Ferry Meadows.

Wetland birds

Beside the large lakes that attract many kinds of water birds, Heron and Goldie Meadows are two floodplain meadows that were restored in 2018 as part of the Bringing Nature Closer project, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund through the Nenescape project. Three cross ditches were cleared to hold water all year and connecting these is a new 5km network of shallow ditches and new scrapes that were added to help keep water on the meadows for longer. This work has resulted in a huge increase in visiting wetland birds, particularly in the autumn and winter. To help view the wildlife there are three accessible, elevated, viewing platforms that give panoramic views over the floodplain meadow landscape. Beside our resident Grey Herons, which give one of the meadows its name, there are many other birds including Teal, Wigeon and Snipe which are regular winter visitors.  Other sightings on the meadows have included Little, Great and Cattle Egrets.

Sand martins

After an absence of 30 years, sand martins began nesting in Nene Park once again in the artificial nesting boxes created and installed on Lynch Lake in 2017. In 2019, all 81 nest box chambers were in use and so the colony was at full capacity – more than doubling its size in two years.

yellow parakeet on bird feederParakeets

A popular sighting in Ferry Meadows in recent years are the vibrant parakeets that have made their home in the Park. Parakeets became established in the wild in the 1970s after captive birds escaped or were released, and were mostly confined to the London area. In the last 10 years these birds have undergone an expansion in numbers and range within the UK, apparently being recorded as far north as Aberdeen! 

There are currently around 20 parakeets in the Park, including green, yellow and blue individuals. The best place to spot them in Ferry Meadows is around the bird feeder near the main car park and at Ham Mere.

The RSPB has shared that whilst media coverage occasionally suggests that population control of ring-necked parakeets may be necessary, due to their rapidly expanding numbers and concerns about their potential impact on native bird species, they are not in favour of a major intervention at this time. Nene Park Trust supports the RSPB’s statement that it is important that the spread of the ring-necked parakeet is monitored and its potential for negative impacts on our native bird species assessed.


River wildlife

You can regularly see a heron along the river Nene and if you are lucky you might see the blue and orange flash of a kingfisher swooping close to the water. A family of otters has also been seen both in the river and also in the lakes. 

Mammals

We have foxes and badgers living in the Park as well as smaller mammals such as voles, shrews and mice. The shy Roe deer can be seen in Bluebell Wood.  And on the rural estate Brown hare can be seen boxing in spring. 

Insects and butterflies

The relaxed mowing regimes in place in the Park now and the increase in wildflower seed sowing has seen an increase in butterfly species to the Park such as Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper and Ringlet which are common. Both Purple and White-letter Hairstreaks are scarce residents. The beautiful Marbled White and tiny Brown Argus are more recent and welcome additions to the Park.

The Park is also home in summer to a good variety of both Dragonflies and Damselflies which can be seen in large numbers, particularly alongside the lake and riverbank footpaths.