Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Ouse Washes and Welney

Sunday was our latest Bedford Group RSPB trip.
 We started off at the RSPB Reserve at the Ouse Washes in Cambridgeshire.
The water levels were as low as I've ever seen them and most was frozen over but this didn't prevent there being lots of birds present.
 Mallard, Wigeon, Pintail, Teal and Gadwall made up the quota of Ducks. Waders comprised of a large flock of Black-tailed Godwits and Lapwings with a few Ruff, Dunlin, Redshank and Snipe scattered around. Very few Swans were seen with less than a dozen Whoopers on site. A pair of Stonechats performed outside one of the hides and a female Merlin over the far side was a real treat.


Whooper Swan

 The afternoon was spent just down the road at Welney WWT, Norfolk.
In contrast to the previous site, here there were hundreds of Swans, mainly Whoopers, just outside the main Observatory and in nearby fields, with a couple of hundred Bewicks at the other end of the reserve.
 The local Greylag flock played host to 5 Whitefronts and a single Pinkfoot, while a further 26 Whitefronts landed  in front of the Friends Hide.
 Duck numbers were high especially Pochards and Mallard, with Pintail, Gadwall, Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler and Shelduck also present.
 A wander down to the Lyle Hide proved very fruitful as arguably the best bird of the day a 'ringtail' Hen Harrier approached from the North and gave great views as it flew slowly by.
 A cup of coffee in the restuarant at the end of the day gave us the opportunity to watch a Barn Owl as it hunted the roadside.

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