From a small reserve to a large one. Welney WWT reserve is some distance, but within reach. The day continued to be dry and sunny helping us to see lots of hares and avian game. I continued to decline the pheasants' invitation to run them over. At the reserve wildfowl were in abundance with Whooper swans, pintail, wigeon, tufted duck, gadwall and of course mallards. I asked one of the folk there was there anything about but his reply "Nothing" made me feel disappointed for him. There were all the birds I had just mentioned as well as a couple of hares and four roe deer. The day I don't get excited about blue tits or house sparrows, is the day I cease to be a naturalist. A walk northwards to the furthest hide enabled us to see a few Bewick swans just flying in. The other thing I noticed here as at Cley, was the shortage of water. I think all of us need to mange our water use better, think of more ways to save water and those of us who believe in prayer, pray that more rain will come to the South and East. Tichwell RSPB reserve was the next destination. We were trying to catch the high tide. Part of our journey took us through Brancaster Staithe and we were delighted to see a rough legged buzzard. There had been several reported in the area. After parking up at Tichwell, we glimpsed another Arctic Redpoll and another obliging water rail
They have built a new hide since I was last here and I was impressed by it. The volunteers were very good as well, even though one of them upstaged me by saying he had his 30 year volunteering badge, as opposed to my only 20 years. Brent geese, lots of gulls, which included two Mediterraneans, pintail, gadwall, redshanks, avocets and the ubiquitous coot were good to see. Continuing to the shore we passed a spotted redshank feeding in the brackish lagoon.
Once on the beach, the telescope came into play. Scores of gulls flying past were just the preliminary act to the stars of the show. There was a small raft of common scoter and suddenly, right by them a red-throated diver. It was stunning, and so close to shore. Another group of birds approached but with the ocean swell, identification was a problem. Fortunately they too came very close and we enjoyed seeing five long-tailed ducks - fantastic !! Dusk was making viewing difficult so we headed back to the hostel. We were not surprised to see another barn owl right by the edge of the road. This meant I have seen more barn owls this year than I have house sparrows. The last three blogs have been a condensed version of my week's visit that brought my Challenge total to 205