Naturelog: March 10th

Posted: March 13, 2015 in Birds, Natural History, Suffolk, UK
Tags: , , , ,

The final day of our Suffolk trip and we travel west to the Wildfowl and Wetlands reserve at Welney. This is a reserve famous for its wintering Swans, but which also play host to a number of wader species on their migration.

On arrival after a two hour drive we stop for refreshment in the café, but this reserve is so well designed that even from here you have a great chance of seeing good birds as it overlooks the newly formed Lady Fen. When I first started vsiting this reserve back in the 1980s this was all farm land, but now it has been transformed into a wetland habitat. From the windows there are excellent views of Goldfinches on the feeder station, whilst Little Egrets patrol the shallows.

Goldfinch

Goldfinch

Little Egret

Little Egret

In the distance a large flock of Golden Plover wheel across the sky.

The main reserve is a wetland created by the washes, a system designed to prevent the flooding of the surrounding low-lying agricultural fields. We tend to think of flood alleviation schemes as being a modern one but the washes system dates back to the 17th century when King Charles granted a charter to the Earl of Bedford who engaged the Dutch engineer Cornelius Vermuyden to construct the two Bedford rivers to improve the drainage of the River Ouse. Today they are an important site for natural history and particularly for wintering wildfowl.

The washes at Welney

The washes at Welney

Whooper Swans and Ducks on the Washes

Whooper Swans and Ducks on the Washes

Grey lag Goose

Grey lag Goose

Eurasian Wigeon

Eurasian Wigeon

Pochard

Pochard

Whoopwer Swan

Whoopwer Swan

Although it is only early March, most of the Swans have already left and begun their journey north to their breeding grounds. We are fortunate to find one remaining Bewicks Swan together with a dozen or so Whooper Swans present.

Also present on the islands are a good selection of wading birds – a large flock of over 100 Black-tailed Godwit together with a group of Snipe, some Redshank, two Common Sandpipers, a Ruffe and a Ruddy Turnstone.

Black-tailed Godwit
Black-tailed Godwit
Photo by K.Koshy (https://www.flickr.com/photos/kkoshy/)

Common Sandpiper
Common Sandpiper
Photo by Sergey Yeliseev (https://www.flickr.com/photos/yeliseev/)

Ruddy Turnstone
Ruddy Turnstone
Photo by Andy Morffew (https://www.flickr.com/photos/andymorffew/)

A great days birdwatching but we have to make our way home.

Arriving home at 1800 we are greeted by the sound of our local Tawny Owl, the first time we have heard him this year, which is a perfect way to end the weekend.

Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Bewick’s Swan (Cygnus columbianus)
Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
European Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)
Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Tawny Owl [sp] (Strix aluco)
Rook [sp] (Corvus frugilegus)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
White Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Common Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

Advertisements
Comments
  1. sed30 says:

    Reblogged this on sed30's Blog and commented:
    Welney a place i have always wanted to go

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s