Sunday, 30 January 2011

Welney Wetland Centre Sat 29th jan 2011

Organised by the RSPB Havering Group we boarded the coach at 7.30am at the A12 Goosheys drive.  There was probably only 3 seats empty on a 50 odd seater.  No driving, no worry about petrel and only £16.50 including entrance fee into Welney.  So off we went on the 2 hour? journey to the reserve.  On the way I could have sworn we past about 30 Waxwings in a tree near a likely? place.  No good asking the driver to stop.   We arrived at the WWT centre at nearly 10 o'clock with the weather being the same as it has been for the last month or so, overcast.   But it didn't spoil the pleasant surprise for those who had never been before.   The impressive visiter centre with it's museum of the history of the fens downstairs, and upstairs the ( architectural) cafe with panoramic views over the fens.  From this lofty height you can see across a scrape which was frozen and in the distance were flocks of swans feeding in the fields and closer by were fieldfares and pipits.  In the sky every now and then a Harrier or a kestrel disturbed the flocks,and on the ground numbers of hares were moving around.   From an outside viewing area next to the cafe you can look down on feeders where a few Tree sparrows were feeding among the finches.   We eventually made our way across the bridge to the splended Main Observatory which was heated with lots of comfortable seats and plenty of wildfowl out on the very high water.  Among the usual breeds of wildfowl were a couple of rareties, a female Long-Tailed Duck and a Pink-Footed Goose of which we had good views.  There were hundreds of Icelandic Black-Tailed Godwits on the reserve with others going over.  Whooper swans were everywhere with the Bewicks farther out being more reluctent to venture in.   Up to 4 marsh Harriers were hunting around the washes, and in the distance  someone spotted a ringtail which turned out to be a known Harris Hawk.    After a great day at the washes we boarded the coach and left at 4 o'clock, within a few hundred yards a Barn Owl came out in front of the coach and we followed it for about half a mile,  Mike Hughes got a great photo of it from his front seat perch.  In the next four miles 4 Barn Owls were seen before the light faded.  We arrived back at 6 o'clock.  Great Day!

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