Many to post this last weekend.....
Welney Ė 22/8/03
Welney is a wetlands reserve on the Norfolk/Cambridge border run by the Wildfowl & Wetalnds trust . It is perhaps best known for its Winter Swan roost when thousands of Bewick and Whooper Swans migrate there.
Welney can be busy so a Friday in August provided a nice quiet days birding. This starts on arrival with the bushes alive with House Sparrow Ė no one has told the little critters that theyíre doing poorly nationally. After signing in, off to the main observatory. In winter this is a godsend with central heating and lots of birds.
Today the numbers of birds was down with a few duck about, the waders were restricted to Dunlin a few Black Tailed Godwit, 2 Little Ringed Plover and a Green and Common Sandpiper. A few Greylag and quite a few Gadwall and Mallard. For me the highlight had to be the Yellow Wagtail these are beautiful little birds. The males are such a gorgeous shade of yellow. Welney has its share of passerines and from the observatory I spotted a Linnet. Just as I was making to go the Swallows went mental and a Marsh Harrier appeared this wasnít one of those moments when it was in the distance looking tiny it was gliding over the left hand pool and it landed for a moment. Itís a majestic bird I donít get any large raptors on my patch so a Marsh Harrier is a memorable moment.
The summer walk, as per usual, wasnít fully open. I will forgive the WWT because on my previous visits this was to protect the breeding Marsh Harriers. The walk to the one hide open had lots of common woodland birds, Goldfinch, Robin, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Wren and a willow Warbler. The one hide didnít provide many birds except a few Wigeon.
That done I headed for the other way. A hobby decided to fly right over head (I didnít get much of a view but the couple behind me saw it clearly (mutter)). The friends hide had been home to a Temnicks Stint but this had gone. The friends proved to be the most productive hide with Snipe, Ruff, the odd Godwit, Lapwing, Redshank, another pair of LRPís (or the same ones having flown after me), the odd Meadow Pipit (one offering a fabulous view). Someone left the hide door open and a swallow took advantage of the short cut. I sat and ate my lunch watching the Yellow Wag. These were sometimes feet away from the hide.
The walk back to the visitor centre was uneventful with the exception of a kestrel.
At the visitor centre I sat and watched the feeders from the restaurant. Just as I was finishing my drink a Corn Bunting turned up and sat on the wires. It had been a pleasant day and I thought that a Corn Bunting was just the way to finish it.
Lackford Ė 23/8/03.
Lackford is a Suffolk Wildlife Trust reserve between Bury St Edmunds and Mildenhall. SWT have, apparently, done a lot of work on it. It has the distinction of being one of my favourite reserves.
Today birding started on the approach to the reserve with a family of Red Legged Partridge. Before barely starting the walk I ran into a party of Goldfinch. These are lovely birds and never fail to bring a smile to my face, tagging along with the Goldfinch were the usual suspects (Chaffinch, Blue & Great Tits, Willow Warbler, Blackcap).
The sailing lake was quiet today, on a good day this can be alive with ducks and geese. The hide overlooking the Slough was also fairly quiet, Cormorant, Eygptian Geese, Mute Swan, Green Sandpiper, Gadwall nothing stunning.
Lackfords double decker hide is a good spot for Kingfisher but not for me today. It had a pair of Shoveller (the male soon to come into its full handsome appearance). For me the highlight was a lone Greenshank. Walking on from there I hit a tit flock. Along with the usual suspects was either a Marsh or Willow Tit couldnít get a good view.
Besses hide is, I think relatively new(its not in the Where to Watch Birds in East Anglia). Lots of Pochard, a few Tufted starting to come out of Eclipse, a family of Great Crested Crebe, Little Grebes and the odd Heron. For me the highlight was a Reed Warbler who was feeding no more than 3 or 4 feet from me. I was able to get stunning views without the bins. First time Iíve ever wished I had a camera, Iíve never really appreciated them before but this little fellow was entrancing. The walk to the far hide was pleasant if not hugely productive, a Hobby flying over was nice. There was one other raptor that refused to give me more than a fleeting view.
The walk back provided more common birds including a Goldcrest, lovely bird but I keeping hoping itíll be a Firecrest.
To be honest Lackford was a little quiet with fewer species than normal. Didnít stop me having a good time though.