The countryside is looking gorgeous and we are hoping for great things from our trip to the RSPB Ouse Washes today. We are making a return visit to this reserve in Cambridgeshire.  Last year’s visit was very successful – Mute Swans behaving badly, a Northern Harrier and a Kingfisher to name just a few.

When we arrived an alarm was ringing loudly in the nearby pumping station and we wondered whether there would be anything around.  Peter did the responsible thing and rang the Environment Agency (handy phone number on a board) to let them know and within minutes it had stopped.

On the way to the hide we suddenly spotted a small bird hopping about in the vegetation beside the path.  On went the long lens and we had a field day. What a lovely little bird – a Stonechat.



In the end he flew off.DSC_0507

Moving on to the hide itself we were rather disappointed.  Mallards, Shovelers, Wigeon and most were too far away for any really good photos. We could see the Swans in far aways stretches of water and sat in the hope that more would fly in. No such luck I’m afraid.

We took very few photos in the end – just a distant shot of a Grey Heron accross the fields and some Wigeon.


DSC_0519We had nearly given up when Peter spotted a flash of green on a broken piece of gate.


Green Woodpecker

He then flew over to the grass and foraged for a while, popping up and down…


…before eventually flying off.


As we left, Peter took this photo of the Ouse Washes in the autumnal sun.


We decided to make a late visit to Welney again and on the way spotted some Red-legged Partridges near the crops.


This old barn looked glorious in the late afternoon light…

DSC_0598…and wispy clouds appeared in the deep blue sky.


The crops were golden for just an hour or so more and the off-shore wind turbines gleamed white in the distance…


When we got to RSPB Welney there was great excitement about a Great White Egret which had appeared on the marsh but, unfortunately, we didn’t get to see it. The ritual 3.30pm Swan Feed was about to begin but the sun had started to sink so we took a few pictures and walked up to the next hide.


Canada Geese


There was nothing doing in the next hide so we decided to make our way back to the cafe!  We saw a camera crew from ITV News – we were told they were making a special news item about Welney.



Just to please our good friend Margaret we were forced to order two rather gigantic slices of carrot cake with our coffee. What sacrifices we make for our friends!



As we left, the sun was setting on what was probably the last of the sunny days for a while.