You might see weeds, but I see wild flowers

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Ouse Washes


The Ouse Washes, under the RSPB's guidance, is in Cambridgeshire, just down the road from WWT Welney.

I paid my first visit there a few days ago.

Set in the fenlands, it's an important area for wildlife and wildfowl, attracting thousands of Whooper Swans and Bewick Swans in the winter months. One of the differences between the two reserves is the opening times. Ouse Washes is open all year, all the time; WWT Welney, although open all year, doesn't open until 10 a.m. in the winter months.
I wanted to go early to see the swans leave their roosting areas, so it was the RSPB site that won for this day.
Comparing the two sites though, I would say that WWT Welney has the edge. You get to view the wildfowl much closer.

There are 10 hides at Ouse Washes, and they are well spaced out.
From the visitor centre and car park, a right turn, along a boardwalk, takes you past Welches Dam, and on to the first of 3 hides.





The bank on the left, looks out to flooded fields with the waterfowl way off in the distance.
The sound of the swans preparing for take off as it got lighter was amazing, and pretty soon there were thousands taking to the air, flying overhead.






From what I could see, they all seemed to be Whooper Swans, although I'm sure there were some Bewicks flying over too.


Their short flight takes them to their feeding area; a field in the distance.








The hides are impressive,




and a welcome retreat from the biting wind that day.




After visiting 3 of the hides, I made my way back, and decided to see the other end of the reserve.




This is going past Welches Dam, and looking back the way I'd come.









And looking forward, with the  first hide in the distance.








After a long walk, the first hide.








The next distant hide, just visible on the centre of the horizon.




I only visited 2 of the hides along this stretch, because I was mindful of the time, and getting back home for Whisky.

From one of these I did manage some fairly close views of some Snipe though.







Snipe




Then it was time to make my way back to the car park.



On their website, they do say that Tree Sparrows visit the feeders outside the visitor centre.




I wasn't disappointed.



I'll finish with a short video of the swans.









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Full list of the sightings for the day

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus)
Greater Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Gadwall [sp] (Anas strepera)
Common Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Eurasian Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Common Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Stock Pigeon [sp] (Columba oenas)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Barn Owl [sp] (Tyto alba)
Meadow Pipit [sp] (Anthus pratensis)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
British Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes indigenus)
British Dunnock (Prunella modularis occidentalis)
British Robin (Erithacus rubecula melophilus)
Stonechat [sp] (Saxicola torquatus)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris)
British Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus obscurus)
British Great Tit (Parus major newtoni)
Eurasian Jackdaw [sp] (Corvus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Eurasian Tree Sparrow [sp] (Passer montanus)
British Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs gengleri)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)


Total species  41



Have a good day