Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Welney Visit

NB: click on the hyperlinks to see the birds.
So, yes, I went to the Welney Wildfowl Reserve. The main building has been refurbished. No, it's been rebuilt. It's Dudesville now. I preferred the old slum, but never mind, over the bridge and down to the hide, and the birds were still spectacular.
Lots of hungry Whooper Swans - who wouldn't be hungry after a thirteen-hour flight across the North Atlantic from their breeding grounds in Iceland?
Lots of handsome male Pochards. Female Pochard mostly winter in southern Spain. Nobody knows why the sexes split up this way. I reject out of hand the theory that the females zoom on down to the Iberian peninsula because they don't know how to read a map.
As a bonus, there was a female Smew, known as a Redhead for reasons I will leave you to guess. In fact, it was identified by the person next to me as a "female Smoo". I love the fen dialect. My previous cleaning lady once congratulated me on my "boo'iful noo compoo'er".
Oh yes, and there was what looked to me like a Pacific Black Duck. Do you think it might be an escape from a collection? It has given me an idea. Seeing that a lot of British bird species are in decline, I am going to start a NEW LIST, consisting ONLY of birds that have escaped from collections. I might start with the Red-breasted Goose (illustrated above) on a pond in the Godmanchester Nature Reserve, which is very near here. There's also a Tesco's Hypermarket on the way back, so that will make a real day out for a shopaholic like me.


Nea said...

How much water was there on the Welney washes?

Old Scrote said...

Very high, very little land exposed on the Washes, with the result that there were lots of diving ducks (pochard, tufted duck), but very few dabblers, apart from mallard. A few teal and very few wigeon on one strip of exposed land, but no waders at all, apart from a few lapwing. The crossings at Earith, Sutton Gault and Welney Village are on the point of going underwater. Wet wet wet!