Welney Wetland Centre 11/01/2018
The Bird Watching Groups second trip was to Welney Wetland Centre, part of the The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT).
Despite the large amounts of rain and the reports of flooded roads, Lesley, Joan, Janet and I all managed to arrive at the Wetland Centre with little more than washed tyres. The centre looks from a distance like an industrial building, but it is a lovely modern complex inside, full of everything needed for a day watching birds.
We had all decided to go on the Hare Walk. This was lead by Chris, with Hattie armed with a Swarovski spotting scope, so that we could have a good look at the hares. We didn't walk very far before we spotted some, and they spotted us. These beguiling creatures were surprisingly numerous, and Chris pointed out their 'forms' within the tussock-type grass where they settle down to rest and keep warm. She explained in some detail the life of the hare, and Janet was able to take a photo of a couple of them in the distance.
When we returned to the visitor centre, we grabbed a coffee before crossing the bridge to the Observation Room. This warm and comfortable hide was equipped with a full length window and rows of seats for us to see the panoramic view of what looked like a giant lake. We soon learnt that it was not a permanent body of water, but a seasonally flooded field system.
We saw all three different types of swans; mute, whoopers and a single Bewicks in the distance. As well as swans, there were scores of mallard, tufted ducks, and pochards, and a number of coots weaving in and out.
After a talk which explained the significance of Welney as part of the Ouse Washes, our narrator took a wheelbarrow full of birdfood along the water's edge in front of the observation room, to throw scoops of seed to some pretty impatient feathered ruffians. Welney is a splendid reserve, and we enjoyed our day there very much.