We last visited Welney Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust on our first holiday in Bessie 15 months ago.  October certainly seems a good month to visit, particularly if you are fond of Swans – Mute and Whooper especially.

Tonight is going to be high winds and heavy rain, or so the Met Office have been warning for over week now.  When we arrived the wind was certainly getting up and by the time we left there was a positive gale blowing.

The Visitor Centre is rather nice – spacious with a delightful cafe serving home-made food.  I noticed the lunch menu and mentally stored that in my memory for later… First though, it’s out and over the high sided bridge which spans the Ouse washes.  The wind is howling through the slats.

The main hide is busy but there is still plenty of room.  We were amazed by the amount of birds we could see and so close!


Birds were constantly flying in and it was difficult to keep up!




These cows are obviously used to it!

These cows are obviously used to it!


Mallards gleaming like jewels in the afternoon sun

Mute Swan wars!

Mute Swan wars!


Canada Geese in the background

A Whooper Swan family - mother and four juveniles.  Their bills are not yet yellow.

A Whooper Swan family – mother and four juveniles. Their bills are not yet yellow.

By this time the water was becoming quite choppy!


A couple of Coots and a Shoveler bobbing around like corks in the water

Thoughts of the lunch menu came flooding back and so we battled with the wind back over the bridge to the cafe.  Beef stew with crusty bread and butter – yum!

We were sitting at a table with a huge window overlooking the saltmarshes and suddenly noticed something moving in the distance.  It was a Muntjac (miniature breed of deer which have escaped from private collections and become wild).


Suitably refreshed, it was back over the bridge once more – by this time it was seriously blowing a gale.

We decided to stay in the main hide as we knew that there would be a “Winter Wild Swan Feed” at 3.30pm and it should prove fascinating to watch.  A rather nice young man (who had also checked tickets and cleared up in the restaurant!) appeared with a mic and gave a short introduction to the wild birds who migrated from Iceland and Siberia each year to roost at Welney. He then headed off with buckets of food and with a special whistle called to the birds.  As he threw the food out the Swans got in first and crowded to the front and in the background there were clouds of Wigeon and Teal filling the air in excitement.

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DSC_3066By this time, the light was fading and so we decided to call it a day.  We drove back to our new campsite – an apple orchard in the countryside near Wisbech.  We battened down the hatches and prepared ourselves for a blustery night…