Saturday, 5 February 2011

Swans in the gloom

Strong blustery winds and a grey sky today saw us taking the road south and across the Fens to WWT Welney for a family outing to see the 3.30 pm swan feed.
As usual the area in front of The Observatory [WWT's centrally heated, double glazed, showpiece 'hide'] was dominated by Mute and Whooper Swans and a pack of male Pochard.
Careful scanning did reveal a couple of the smaller Bewick's Swans, a single Pink Footed Goose and a pair of Ruddy Ducks. More unexpected was a single Long Tailed Duck, a long way from its usual maritime haunts.
A winter visit to Welney always offers a reliable spectacle and nice lazy [and hesitate to use the term] birding. What is lacks in leg stretching, wind in your hair, rain on your glasses it makes up for as a chance to see some truly wild birds up close. This is why on an average winter Sunday 400 - 500 people pay to watch this spectacle.
For the adults in our party it worked well, and for our toddler the easy spectacle outside the hide window held his attention for as long as we could have hoped before he turned his attention to 'posting' pebbles in the collection cairn and running up and down the ramp.
The Visitor Centre had a nice clean baby changing room that was accessible to parents of either sex. The cafe was a bit of a disappointment, expensive [all but 5p for a average slice of cake] and only served hot food at lunchtime, I think Welney could learn something from the catering operations at Titchwell or Minsmere on that score at least. That aside we had a great time and will be back.

Both pictures taken at Welney today, top is a Whooper Swan, bottom the Long Tailed Duck.

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