WELNEY WWT RESERVE - 17 NOVEMBER 2013
Autumn is the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness and Sunday 17 November certainly lived up to that description. The day was mild but overcast with mist hanging in the air as the PBC members arrived at the Welney Visitor's Centre. One member of the party was seduced by the soup before we even left the centre but the others went onto the roof of the centre to view the Lady Fen. Although autumn had been quite wet there was little water on the fen and therefore very few birds with just Lapwing and a few Whooper Swan present. Of more interest was a lone deer seen at a distance in the mist. There was a general discussion and it was agreed that it was a Chinese Water Deer. However later we discovered that it was in fact a Roe Deer.
There was plenty of time before the Swan feed so the group walked along to the Lyle Hide. The hedgerows were still laden with autumn berries. It had certainly been an abundant autumn and there would be plenty of food for the birds for the first part of the winter.
From the Lyle Hide we could see a number of Whooper and Mute Swans but no Bewick's. Later the warden told us that any Bewick's come on to the reserve from the surrounding fields later in the evening. Also present were a large flock of male Common Pochard with smaller numbers of Wigeon, Pintail, Teal and Mallard. We also saw a Peregrine Falcon on a post but unfortunately it flew before all the group saw it. Later another raptor was spotted on a post, which was originally identified as another Peregrine before Mike Warren noticed that it had bright yellow-eyes and no moustachial stripe and correctly re-identified it as a Sparrowhawk.
The lure of the tea shop was strong so most of the group went back for tea and cake to before the swan feeding. As usual the swan feeding was a spectacle but not with the numbers which can be seen in January and February. No new species for the day were seen but everybody enjoyed seeing the birds at close range from a heated observatory. Quite luxurious!
Although only twenty-five different species were seen during the afternoon it had been a great chance for people to practice their wild-fowl identification.