‘Birds of a Feather’ Experience

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Despite a very dodgy forecast this morning and driving through light rain to get there, the sky cleared and the sun shone on arrival at RSPB Nene Washes. There were immediately huge flocks in the sky, mostly Lapwing and Golden Plover and within two minutes of walking eastwards along the dyke, 5 Cranes flew over the horizon east to west over Decoy Wood before settling amongst the reeds! A small flock of Shelduck were also clocked before the vast flocks of Wigeon were noted feeding on the flood pools. Heading back and then along the western stretch provided an increase in the Crane count. A total of 9 took to the sky and settled again on the grazing land giving great views; such stunningly graceful birds. In amongst the huge flocks were Teal, Redshank, Dunlin, 3 Whooper Swans, Shoveler and Coot. Two first winter Stonechats also displayed at very close range along the footpath. The only raptors seen here were 2 Marsh Harrier, a Common Buzzard and a Kestrel.

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Next stop, Ham Mere at Ferry Meadows on the outskirts of Peterborough. The wind was picking up noticeably by this point so the reserve offered some welcomed respite. The scrapes were relatively empty although Teal, Mute Swan, Mallard, Coot and Gadwall were all present. Great Crested Grebes on the River Nene itself were looking quite showy and there was a lot of birdsong throughout the reserve. Two Red Kites flying over and two Jays sighted at the southernmost hide were noteworthy but sadly no sight of the resident Long-Eared Owl. With an overall tally of 55 species between the two locations, it was a successful experience.