Barn Owl hunting along side A14 near Rothwell, Northamptonshire on our way to the Nene Washes in Cambridgeshire where we were hoping to see more owls but the downpour just after first light put paid to any owl activity. Once it cleared over 300 Whooper and 3 Bewick’s Swan flew over in various sized groups heading for there feeding grounds while 6000 Wood Pigeon departing their roost in Decoy Wood was impressive. Not much else so after another drenching we left.
Reports said the Cattle Egret 2k west of Guyhirn on the busy A47 could sometimes be out of view due to the undulations of the ground but with no one else about the bird posed for us on a fence post before feeding amongst the cattle, nearby a Little Owl on a pile of tires.
Now wet and shivering from the cold north easterly wind we dived in to the Big Chill for breakfast and a chance to dry our clothes.
The sun was out when we arrived at the village of Welney and again no other birders around but soon located the first winter Glossy Ibis which was a British tick for Dave before moving on to the nearby Wildfowl & Wetland Trust Reserve.
The reserve had a 60 Whooper Swan in front of the main hide that had remained from the majority (October count was over 1100) that were out feeding in the surrounding area and 11 Bewick, Swans which arrived and promptly drank, preened and fell asleep indicating fresh arrivals. Plenty of waders around that included Ruff, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Snipe and a single Jack Snipe and every now again the reserve erupted in to the sky when a predator threatened. On one occasion the culprit was identified as a Saker Falcon cross that was wearing jesses. No sign of the reported Bearded Tits or Short-eared Owl but good numbers of Wigeon, Teal and Pintail.
On leaving a Tree Sparrow was among the finch flock, Peregrine over and 4 separate flocks of Whooper Swans totaling 300 birds between the reserve and Littleport including one poor individual that had collided with overhead cables.
Max Silveman sent me one of shots of the GGS in flight - cracking