This beautiful great white egret flew towards us, spotted us and then flew in the opposite direction. My fingers are crossed that just maybe the 4 individuals (at least) spotted might just stay and breed!
Great White Egret
After parking at the 'ford' (down the bumpy, rutted track opposite the turning to Titchmarsh off the A605), we paused on the bridge over the River Nene allowing the blustery wind to blow away our cobwebs. From this vantage point, we saw at least four or five red kites — two, in particular, looked like they had already paired up, and glided by closely together.
Our first visit was to the North Hide where we quickly spotted two great white egrets: one on the far bank and one huddled next to several grey heron, lapwing and cormorant on the little island in front of us. We wondered how bracing it must be, with no protection from the elements - I guess this is the price to be paid for safety from predators.
We continued our walk around the reserve, in a clockwise direction, stopping to watch a party of long-tailed tits and blue tits which skimmed our heads to feed on the catkins in front of us — always a pleasure to see and hear! Once more we stopped to listen to the hypnotic clattering of the bare tree branches and glanced up to see a pair of goosanders flying away following the winding course of the River Nene. The soft flutey calls of bullfinches were carried on the breeze which alerted us to their presence a long time before we finally saw them.
At the Heronry hide, we saw another great white egret and many little egrets and herons perched all around the edge of the lake. We also spotted shoveler and what we believe to be a pair of scaup. We watched them for a long time diving into the water, with a spirited leap but they were a little too distant for good photographic evidence.
A Cover of Coot
We finally ended up at the South Hide where we relaxed and watched blue tit, great tit, robin, chaffinch and pheasant feeding at the well stocked feeders.
Ring-necked Duck and Pochard
A lovely few hours were spent at WWT Welney today. Although the weather was overcast and it was rather chilly, the sight of thousands of birds including whooper swan, pochard, black-tailed godwits and wigeon put a smile on everyone's faces!
Highlights included seeing a ring-necked duck (there are only about 10-15 sightings per year in the UK) and watching the sheer numbers of swans and godwits flying overhead.
Ring-necked Duck and Pochard
This ring-necked duck spent most of its time sleeping with its head underneath its wing!
There are several feeding times during the day at Welney - well worth a visit.
New Year's Day - and so begins our bird list for the new year! We started off at Barnwell Country Park where we encountered siskins and redpolls just as we left the carpark. We had a fleeting glimpse of a kingfisher and a treecreeper but unfortunately didn't see any nuthatches.
The light wasn't fantastic from the hide although we were lucky to see coal tit, marsh tit, great tit, blue tit and reed bunting.
After our visit to Barnwell, we stopped off for a walk around Titchmarsh Local Nature Reserve. Highlights included spotting three great white egrets together, two snipe and a juvenile whooper swan.
In total we spotted 51 species of birds - not bad for a few hours out!
Although we didn't see the otter at Barnwell, we did see plenty of grey squirrels, a mouse/shrew under the bird feeders (too fast to identify) and a stoat-like creature, again to quick to identify confidently which set off lots of alarm calls from the surrounding birds as it dashed through the undergrowth.
Great White Egrets
Not a great photo, but three great white egrets and two little egrets can be spotted if you look carefully!