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Sunrise over Barleycroft Lake, RSPB Ouse Fen, Cambridgeshire.

2023 Birding Blog

2023 Patch (Ouse Fen RSPB) List – 94 (109)

2023 Cambridgeshire List – 105 (124)

2023 UK List – 138 (165)

UK Life List – 190(183)

2023 Total Time(Hr:Min) -131:50 Total Distance Walked 168.92 Miles

2022 figures in brackets

August 2023

9 Aug 08.40

Frampton Marsh RSPB Reserve (3hr:50mins, 2.3 Miles)

An early start to get to Frampton at a reasonably early time. Great anticipation to see the Black Winged Stilt, as a couple of pairs had bred this year. We quickly saw an adult as we walked along the wall at the back of the reserve. 6 Spoonbill were also seen flying into the reserve. There were plenty of Ruff and Avocet as we walked round towards the steps to the centre of the reserve. There were also up to 8 Yellow Wagtail on the reserve. Into the East hide and there was plenty of activity as the Stilt were showing well, both the adult and Juvenile. There were Dunlin and a Common Sandpiper showing very close to the hide. Moving on to the next hide and there were 22 Spoonbill in the central island. Over to the 360 hide there was a Little Stint and Ringed and Little Ringed Plover .

Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)
Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)
Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)
Dunlin (Calidris alpina)
Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)
Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius)

7 Aug 13.50 (Clear)

WWT Welney Wetland Centre (02hr, 1 Mile)

A quick trip to WWT Welney. I hadn’t been for a while but being the summer there wasn’t a lot around. There was however plenty of Swallow and House Martin, the latter was nesting in the hides. So I took the opportunity to try and take some pics of flying swallow. Tis is not the easiest of tasks as they obviously fly so fast. So after a bit of trial and error I decided to turn off Autofocus and set a focus and let them fly into focus. A little hit and miss admittedly, but the only way I could think to do it. Anyway I took just shy of 1000 pics and managed to get a few (see below) in focus. eBird Checklist – 7 Aug 2023 – WWT Welney Wetland Centre – 24 species

Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)

6 Aug 05:26 (Clear)

Ouse Fen RSPB – Barleycroft/Berry Fen (02hr:00mins, 3Miles)

Big excitement today as it was the first use of my new Scope. The first bird seen through it was a Greenshank on Berry Fen.

Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)
Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)
Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus)
Greenshank (Tringa nebularia) and Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus)

5 Aug 06:01 (Dull/Rain)

Ouse Fen RSPB – Barleycroft/Berry Fen (02hr:30mins, 3Miles)

I totally ignored the weather forecast today as it was not raining when I set off, however once I got to Berry Fen the heavens opened. While sheltering under a tree I saw two female Roe Deer having a set-to on the Fen. It’s a shame that the weather wasn’t better as the pics are quite dull. Once I had finished watching them, it was a quick walk around the circuit, missing out Barleycroft (due to the rain). Not a lot of excitement bird wise. eBird Checklist – 5 Aug 2023 – Ouse Fen RSPB Reserve–Berry Fen – 37 species

Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus)
Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus)
Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus)
Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus)
Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus)

July 2023

30Jul 05:49 (clear 16 deg)

Ouse Fen RSPB – Barleycroft/Berry Fen (02hr:20mins, 3.5Miles)

29Jul 05:07 (clear 16 deg)

Ouse Fen RSPB – Barleycroft/Berry Fen (02hr:53mins, 4Miles)

eBird Checklist – 29 Jul 2023 – Ouse Fen RSPB Reserve–Berry Fen – 51 species

22Jul 05:54 (clear 16 deg)

Ouse Fen RSPB – Barleycroft/Berry Fen (02hr:0mins, 4Miles)

eBird Checklist – 22 Jul 2023 – Ouse Fen RSPB Reserve–Berry Fen – 42 species

21 Jul 05:33

Aberystwyth, Wales – ( 01hr10mins, 1.2Miles)

eBird Checklist – 21 Jul 2023 – Constitution Hill – 9 species

09Jul 10:40 (clear 16 deg)

Smithy Fen (01hr:10, 1 Mile)

eBird Checklist – 9 Jul 2023 – Smithy Fen – 30 species

White Stork (Ciconia Ciconia)
White Stork (Ciconia Ciconia)
White Stork (Ciconia Ciconia)
Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)
Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius)
Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius)
Red Kite (Milvus milvus)

08 Jul 05:20 (clear 13 deg )

Ouse Fen RSPB – Barleycroft/Berry Fen (02hr:40mins, 3.8Miles)

An early start this morning was handsomely rewarded with a great view of a Barn Owl hunting over Little. Fen. I watch it for around an hour waiting for the oppotunity for it to get close enough to photograph. It eventually obliged. Definitely the highlight of the day, i never get tired of watching these beautiful birds. The rest of the walk went off as usual, just noting a large number of Redshank, including Juveniles (see below). eBird Checklist – 8 Jul 2023 – Ouse Fen RSPB Reserve–Berry Fen – 48 species

Barn Owl (Tyto alba)
Barn Owl (Tyto alba)
Barn Owl (Tyto alba)
Yellowhammer (Emberiza citronella)
Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Redshank (Juv) (Tringa tetanus)
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

Ouse Fen RSPB – Barleycroft/Berry Fen (02hr:30mins, 4.2Miles)

A much more respectable time this morning and the weather was a lot better with more photo opportunities.

Linnet (Linaria cannabina)
Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus)
Fox (Vulpes vulpes)
Redshank (Tringa tetanus)
Red Kite (Milvus milvus)
Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus)
Redshank (Tringa tetanus)

01 Jul 04:40 (overcast13Deg )

Ouse Fen RSPB – Barleycroft/Berry Fen (01hr:40mins, 3Miles)

Up very early this morning to try an catch the local Barn Owl, however it wasn’t around and it was very dul and overcast. Berry Fen is rapidly drying up with a few pools remaining. Having said that there were 30+ Little Egret adn 2 Great White Egret on Berry Fen but not much else.It started raining half way round so I cut my walk short. Of note on the way back were 40+ Stock Dove in the field next to Barleycroft. eBird Checklist – 1 Jul 2023 – Ouse Fen RSPB Reserve–Berry Fen – 28 species

June 2023

26 Jun 08:10 (Clear 21Deg Wind 20mph SW)

Aberystwyth, Wales – ( 02hr:20mins, 2.2Miles)

Another change in location, this time to the West coast and Aberystwyth in Wales. A respectable start time in this lovely part of the world. Only one thing on my list today, and that was Chough. I had seen them on my last visit (last Year), so was very happy to see a pair flying over the cliffs this morning. Not particularly great views, but views none the less. As I walked along the cliffs a Peregrine flew past, diving down the cliff and out of sight. I walked along the cliff until I reached a wooded area that had a number of Chiffchaff. There was also Great Spotted Woodpecker and Blackcap. There was also a Red Kite searching for food. I turned around and went a slightly different route back, seeing 4-5 Stonechat and the return of the Peregrine, however this time it appeared to be hovering above me but was actually flying into a strong onshore wind, which allowed me to take some reasonably good pics. Back down the hill a pair of Chough were showing well in the sun. eBird Checklist – 26 Jun 2023 – Constitution Hill – 19 species

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)
Chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax)
Red Kite (Milvus milvus)
Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)
Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)

19 Jun 07:00 (Clear 25Deg)

Bempton Cliffs RSPB – (04hr:00mins, 1.2Miles)

I have always wanted to go to Bempton cliffs, so when Steve, my birding friend, invited me to go with him on a day trip , I couldn’t refuse. A very early start to get there(03:30!) arriving at 7.00. A few early risers were also arriving. The first bird I saw in the Car Parrk was a Tree Sparrow. Rare at home but there were a lot in the car park and the feeders they had there. Anyway a short walk to the cliffs and WOW, 1000s of sea birds clinging to the cliffs and in the sea below. Gannets, Razorbills, Guillemots and Kittiwakes made up most of the birds, with Rock Dove, Fulmar and Puffin also around. I was hoping to see Shag, but seem to miss any that flew past while exploring the site. All in all a very rewarding trip and well worth the early start. with a bonus Barn Owl hunting around the car park as we left. eBird Checklist – 19 Jun 2023 – Bempton Cliffs RSPB Reserve – 24 species

Puffin (Fratercula arctica)
Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus)
Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus)
Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla)
Razorbill (Alca torda)
Guillemot (Uria aalge)
Rock Dove (Columba livia)
Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus)
Puffin (Fratercula arctica)
Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla)
Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus)
Razorbill (Alca torda)
Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus)

17 Jun 05:56

Ouse Fen RSPB – Barleycroft/Berry Fen (02hr:44mins, 4.2Miles)

eBird Checklist – 17 Jun 2023 – Ouse Fen RSPB Reserve–Berry Fen – 51 species

Brown Hare (Lepus europaeus)
Great White Egret (Ardea alba)
Banded Demoiselle (Calopteryx splendens)
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus)
Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus)

11 Jun 05:20

Ouse Fen RSPB – Barleycroft/Berry Fen (02hr:55mins, 4.2Miles)

10 Jun 05:49

Ouse Fen RSPB – Barleycroft/Berry Fen (03hr:00mins, 4.2Miles)

03 Jun 05:20 (Clear 12 Deg)

Ouse Fen RSPB – Barleycroft/Berry Fen (02hr:55mins, 4.2Miles)

Back to the patch this morning on a beautiful clear morning. Started off with a real treat after spotting a Tawny Owl in the trees between Little Fen and Berry Fen. The first ‘self-found’ Tawny Owl. Onto Berry Fen and the usual warblers. Most of the water has gone from the fen, just a few small pools remaining. Another treat was a Grey Plover on the Fen, not a common visitor to the patch. eBird Checklist – 3 Jun 2023 – Ouse Fen RSPB Reserve–Berry Fen – 58 species

Tawny Owl (Strix aluco)
Greenfinch (Chloris chloris)
Yellowhammer (Emberiza citronella)
Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus)
Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus)
Common Whitethroat (Sylvia communis)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba)
Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)
Redshank (Tringa tetanus)
Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

May 2023

30 May 12:20

Lakenheath RSPB (02hr 30mins, 3 Miles)

This was my first trip to Lakenheath RSPB and onbly 3.5 miiles from Weeting Heath. I always enjoy visiting a new reserve as there is always the feeling that you will see something new. A typical landscape for the area, with lots of reedbeds and associated birds such as Reed and Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat and Reed Buntings. There were also at least 3 Marsh Harriers in the area. The main excitement happened when at one of the watchpoints and a Cuckoo was heard in the distance. It carried on calling and was getting closer. It then appeared to be in the tree about 50m away. Then to my delight it flew into the tree about 20ft away. It had stopped calling by this point and was joined by another. After an altercation one flew off, the other remaining in the tree. I could see it but it was in amongst the branches so was very dark. It then flew into an adjacent tree and was showing a little better. But definitely my closest and best view of a cuckoo. eBird Checklist – 30 May 2023 – Lakenheath Fen RSPB Reserve – 24 species

Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus)
Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus)

30 May 10:00

Weeting Heath NNR (02hr 1.0 Mile)

eBird Checklist – 30 May 2023 – Weeting Heath NNR – 18 species

Robin (Erithacus rubecula)
Robin (Erithacus rubecula)
Curlew (Numenius arquata)

28 May 23 05:50, Overcast 13 Deg )

Ouse Fen RSPB – Barleycroft/Berry Fen (02hr:30mins, 3.8Miles)

I decided today to go out a little later as last week there was not a lot showing. I also decided to go round my normal route in the oppostie direction so that I got to the lake last. I was rewarded early with a couple of Roe deer that were in the field. Plenty of the usual Warblers; Cetti;s Reed, Sedge and Whitethroat. eBird Checklist – 28 May 2023 – Ouse Fen RSPB Reserve–Berry Fen – 53 species

Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus)
Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus)
Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
Coot (Fulica atra)
Pochard (Aythya farina)
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo)

21 May 23 04:36, Overcast 13 Deg )

Ouse Fen RSPB – Barleycroft/Berry Fen (03hr:00mins, 3.8Miles)

eBird Checklist – 21 May 2023 – Ouse Fen RSPB Reserve–Berry Fen – 42 species

9 – 12 May 23

Ottawa, Canada.

I had a work trip which took me to Ottawa, Canada for this week. I have never been to Canada before so was looking forward to the birding opportunities that it was going to potentially provide. I only had a limited time available to go birding, but took my camera along anyway. After going out and walking along the river I got chatting to a local (who also had a big lens) and he told me the best place to go. I had one day available before I flew back. So I went to a place called Mud Lake about 5 miles south of Ottawa and as you can see below, I was not disappointed.

7 May 23 (05:09, Overcast 13 Deg )

Ouse Fen RSPB – Barleycroft/Berry Fen (03hr:10mins, 3.8Miles)

Getting use to the early starts now and the dawn chorus is in full swing. Many birds heard on the way to the lake including Robin, Song Thrush, Blackbird and Yellowhammer. What greeted me at the lake was not so good. A number of Black headed Gulls were dead on the side of the island, I counted around 40 on the site. It looks as though Avian Influenza has got into the colony, which looks as though it is and will have a disasterous effect. I understand that DEFRA are testing samples as we speak. On a lighter note I found my first Lesser Whitethroat of the year, alongside the Common Whitethroat seen now for a couple of weeks. Onto Berry Fen and there were 3 Black-tailed Godwit, a Snipe, three Ruff, a Dunlin (First for the patch for me) and a brief visit from a Wood Sandpiper (Another year tick).

Black-headed Gull (Chroicephalus ridibundus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicephalus ridibundus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicephalus ridibundus)
Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)
Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola)
Dunlin (Calidris alpina)

Apr 2023

30 Apr 23 (05:00, Sun 10 Deg Clear)

Ouse Fen RSPB – Barleycroft/Berry Fen (03hr:46mins, 6.20Miles)

My earliest start yet on this early May Bank Holiday weekend. A clear morning, just hoping that the birds would oblige. The usual suspects at the Lake, with Red Crested Pochard still in attendance, and the usual din from the100s Black-headed Gulls There were reports of a number of dead birds in the colony, with Bird flu in the front of everyone’s mind I’m sure if it got hold in a colony as big and in cloes proximity to each other, it would rip through it quickly. Fingers crossed. Young birds starting to appear on the lake with Greylag chicks on the lake with their parents and Cormorant chicks seen in the nests on the main island. This morning I decided to take a detour from my usual route and take a walk down to the Needingworth side of the reserve. A number of Common Tern flying around the lakes and I heard a very close booming Bittern, unfortunately I didn’t see it, but it is not until you hear it up close that you realise how loud it is. I heard two cuckoo, and managed to see one of them, off in a distant treetop. My First Reed Warblers of the year, about five of them in total as I walked round. Back onto my usual route and round the end of Barleycroft lake and I saw a pipit int he woods. Not often seen at the site, and this turned out to be a Meadow Pipit. Lots of Whitethroat around, they appeared to be everywhere. On the way to Berry Fen more Common Tern, Sedge Warbler , more Whitethroat and a Reed Bunting. Once I reached Berry Fen there were the usual Lapwing and Redshank, Teal and an overflying Shelduck. There was a Buzzard sat on a fence post on the far side of the Fen. Little Grebe also seen. Now to the end of Berry Fen where I usually have my Cetti’s Warbler encounters. As usual it was there, but sat out in the open with the Sun directly behind, so not conducive to a good pic, however there was a very obliging Garden Warble, again a first for the year. Walking back to the village there was another year first of a very high flying Swift. All in all a good morning with a number of year ticks. eBird Checklist – 30 Apr 2023 – Ouse Fen RSPB Reserve–Berry Fen – 60 species

Garden Warbler (Sylvia borin)
Yellowhammer (Emberiza citronella)
Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)
Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)
Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis)
Common Whitethroat (Sylvia communis)
Greylag Goose (Anser anser)

23 Apr 23 (05:20, Sun 10 Deg Overcast)

Ouse Fen RSPB – Barleycroft/Berry Fen (03hr:20mins, 4.20Miles)

Another early start, managing to get out the door at 5.20. Down to the lake as usual. A little gloomy as the Sun hadn’t quite risen. Greeted with the usual Gull noise but a nice surprise of 18 Common Tern (A 2023 First) on the end of ‘Gull Island’. There has been a few pairs that have nested in that location in the past (none last year). I took a very ‘record shot’ pic in the hope to get a better one on my way back once the light was better. Great White Egret, Little Egret and Red Crested Pochard as well as the usual suspects. On my trip around the lake I glanced over the fence to see a horrible sight. A dead Jackdaw strung up on a branch, with 2 dead Magpie on the floor. Clearly there as a deterrent to other Corvids. Apparently this is perfectly legal in the protection of Gamebirds such as Pheasant. The law is an ass. Killing resident wild birds to protect an introduced species for the pleasure of shooting them. I think in this day and age, with biodiversity issues the law is an ass. Anyway I continues on my journey round the lake and on returning to the site of the Terns, they had unfortunately gone. Onto Berry Fen and another Year first of two Common Whitethroat. Onto Berry Fen and 9 Little Egret, a small number of Redshank and usual Ducks. First Cuckoo heard along with a booming Bittern, both on the other side of the river. Blackcaps and Cetti’s Warbler also seen at the end of Berry Fen. A pair of Great Crested Grebe performing their courtship on Little Fen. A Buzzard and Sparrowhawk seen on my way back to the village. eBird Checklist – 23 Apr 2023 – Ouse Fen RSPB Reserve–Berry Fen – 54 species

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)
Common Whitethroat (Sylvia communis)
Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus)
Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)
Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)
Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)

16 Apr 23 (05:40, Sun 12 Deg Overcast)

Ouse Fen RSPB – Barleycroft/Berry Fen (02hr:30mins, 3.80Miles)

An early start this morning with chatter on the local Birding Whatsapp group that a pair of Arctic Terns were spotted yesterday at Barlycroft Lake. Typical as I usually go down on Saturday morning. Anyway as I walked through the village at dawn I could hear a Tawny Owl very close in the village, however I went to investigate to see if I could locate it, but was unsuccessful. Off to the lake, and I got down there around sunrise (6am). There were 3 Cattle Egrets on the main island (First of the year), and I could also hear a booming Bittern from the other side of the river, so while I didn’t see it, it still goes down as a tick. Nothing else to report on the lake, bar a Great White Egret and as I departed for Berry Fen there was a high Sparrowhawk having a tussle with a crow. Onto Berry Fen and the Black-tailed Godwits had departed but there were Nine Little Egret on the far bank of the water. Once I reached the end of Berry Fen I was well and truly in Cetti’s Warbler territory, with at least five calling at different locations, and I was lucky enough to capture a couple of pics while one of them was briefly in the open. Other notable spots were three Blackcap and a Sedge Warble (Heard but not seen). eBird Checklist – 16 Apr 2023 – Ouse Fen RSPB Reserve–Berry Fen – 57 species

Cetti’s Warbler (Cettia cetti)
Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)
Cetti’s Warbler (Cettia cetti)

14 Apr 23 (10:50, Fri 10Deg Sunny)

Welney WWT – (01hr:00mins, 1.0Miles)

My first trip to Welney this year was a little underwhelming. the highlight being a group of approx 150 Black-tailed Godwit resplendent in breeding plumage opposite the main viewing hide. Very few ducks with a small number of Greylag Geese, a few Teal and Tufted Duck. There were a number of House Martins that were already occupying last years nests on the side of the main hide. Unfortunately the Lady Fen walk was still flooded plus and the other route was closed due to Red listed birds breeding. eBird Checklist – 14 Apr 2023 – Welney WWT Reserve–Wetland Centre – 32 species

Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)
Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)
Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)

13 Apr 23 (07:24, Thur 10Deg Sunny)

Ouse Fen RSPB – Barleycroft/Berry Fen (02hr:20mins, 4.40Miles)

Another sunny but windy day. I altered red my route to go the other way round my usual walk. As it’s later in the morning than my usual start, i.e. not before sunrise, I like to have the sun behind me for the majority of the route (for photography purposes). As it was windy there were not many birds showing on the water of Berry Fen, but the usual illusive Cetti’s Warblers were teasing me that they were there to be photographed, they weren’t. I heard but didn’t see my first Sedge Warbler of the year as I walked up Little Fen. At the bottom end of Berry Fen I could see a flock of what looked like Godwits, so hopefully they would still be there by the time I got up there, unlike the previous trip a couple of days ago. Anyway they were still there, a flock of around 200 Black-tailed Godwits were on the far side of Berry Fen water. There went up in flocks as they were disturbed by various things, including a Red Kite, which I haven’t seen very often over the Fen. A Sparrowhawk also flew over , which I managed to catch a couple of shots of. After taking some shots of the Godwits, I moved on to Barleycroft where the noise of the Black-headed Gull has become all consuming. 5 Little Egrets and a pair of Red Crested Pochard were seen along with the usual residents. Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers were seen and heard respectively and as I round the lake to complete the circuit I saw my first House Martin on the year, along with a Swallow. After I got home, I checked last years pics of the Godwits, in the same location, they were there in the same week last year. Also of note, I racked up 100miles birding this year so far. eBird Checklist – 13 Apr 2023 – Ouse Fen RSPB Reserve–Berry Fen – 52 species

Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)
Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)
Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)
Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)
Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)
Reed Bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus)
House Martin (Delichon urbicum)
Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
Red-crested Pochard (Netta rufina)

11 Apr 23 (07:07, Tue 10Deg Sunny)

Ouse Fen RSPB – Barleycroft/Berry Fen (02hr:10mins, 3.88Miles)

At last a sunny morning out on my walk round the patch. Having said that it was fairly breezy so not a lot was hanging around to be photographed. Apart from the usual species on the lake, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Shoveler, 100’s of Black-headed Gull, Cormorant, a Great Crested Grebe and the odd Little Egret, not much to report. Same with Berry Fen, but it did look like I missed out on over 100 Black-tailed Godwit that flew off in the distance. Interestingly I saw two Sparrowhawk today (may have been the same one of course), but annoyingly I turned a corner and saw one fly off after clearly being say in the open on a branch. It’s so frustrating knowing there was a glorious photo opportunity and I had missed it. No new species for the year of patch list but I did come across a beautiful Yellowhammer as I walked back into the village. eBird Checklist – 11 Apr 2023 – Ouse Fen RSPB Reserve–Berry Fen – 54 species

Yellowhammer (Emberiza citronella)
Yellowhammer (Emberiza citronella)
Yellowhammer (Emberiza citronella)
Yellowhammer (Emberiza citronella)

09 Apr 23 (06:05, Sun 10Deg Overcast)

Ouse Fen RSPB – Barleycroft/Berry Fen (02hr:00mins, 3.90Miles)

Back on home territory and back down to the lake. I had heard on the grapevine that there was a Garganey on Berry Fen so was determined to find it for my first of the year. It was typically dull and overcast so not idea for photography, it seems like I say that a lot recently. Anyway a trip round the lake saw the usual suspects, including a pair of Red Crested Pochard. Not a lot else to report so headed out to Berry Fen, I just came out of the Barleycroft fenced area and onto the footpath that runs adjacent to the River and blow me, there in the flood of the field was the Garganey. Very happy to have found that. Onto Berry Fen and there were a number of Black-tailed Godwit and Little Egret. Sand Martins over the lake, a first for the Patch year but not a lot else. An elusive Cetti’s Warbler briefly showed but the dull weather didn’t make for a decent pic. Walking back through the village I saw my first Swallow of the summer. eBird Checklist – 9 Apr 2023 – Ouse Fen RSPB Reserve–Berry Fen – 52 species

Garganey (Anas querquedula)
Garganey (Anas querquedula)
Cetti’s Warbler (Cettia cetti)

Martin Mere WWT – (03hr:50mins, 2.80Miles)

Next on my list in the NW was Martin Mere WWT. Not a big fan of the Bird Zoo at the front of the reserve, great for kids to get them into bird I guess but its not for me. Luckily I am a WWT member as the entrance fee of £16. 95 I thought was a little steep. Anyway I eventually found my way to the reserve proper, and was greeted with 100s of screeching Black-headed Gulls. I could have stayed in Cambs for that, however hidden in with the BHGs were two Mediterranean Gull, which is always a bonus. Walking around the I saw the usual birds such as Reed Bunting, Chiffchaff, Linnet, Marsh Harrier , Little Egret and the usual ducks. New for the year were Sand Martin, Tree Sparrow and Ringed Plover. Another sunny day and plenty of opportunity for photography. eBird Checklist – 8 Apr 2023 – Martin Mere WWT–The Mere – 57 species

Mediterranean Gull (Larus melanocephalus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicephalus ridibundus)
Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus)
Linnet (Linaria cannabina)
Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)
Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)
Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus)
Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)
Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)
Teal (Anas crecca)
Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)
Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)

07 Apr 23 (11:39, Fri 13Deg Sunny)

Burton Mere RSPB – (04hr:15mins, 3.88Miles)

Well out of my patch today and a trip up to Dee estuary and Burton Mere RSPB. I have visited before where I bagged my first Long Billed Dowitcher, unfortunately no such luck today. The reserve was busy with visitors , it being Good Friday but there was a lot to see and some cracking opportunities for some photography. There are a number of hides and some of the birds were very close. A lot of Egrets and wading birds such as Avocet, Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, and Knot. My first, the latter being my first for the year, along with Greenshank and Willow Warbler. I find ID of Warblers difficult so enlist the help of an App called Merlin. This records the bird and gives you an ID. It’s not perfect but gives you a good starting point. eBird Checklist – 7 Apr 2023 – Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB Reserve – 48 species

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Red Knot (Calidris canutus)
Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)
Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major)
Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)
Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus)

02 Apr 23 (06:21, Sun 8 deg overcast)

Ouse Fen RSPB – Barleycroft/Berry Fen (02hr:40mins, 3.88Miles)

Out slightly later this morning arriving at the lake just after sunrise. Another overcast morning, again not ideal for photography. Little Egret and Great White Egret around the lake, with the usual suspects. Nothing out of the ordinary, the Red Crested Pochard was still in attendance. Gull island now in full nesting mode with 100s of Black-headed Gull and 4 Lesser Black-backed Gull also on the island. Two Green Woodpecker at the rear of the lake and a drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker. Plenty of Chiffchaff singing throughout the walk. Off to Berry Fen and a couple of unusual waders, a Ruff and Black-tailed Godwit at the West end of the Fen. Marsh Harrier and Buzzard also seen. eBird Checklist – 2 Apr 2023 – Ouse Fen RSPB Reserve–Berry Fen – 52 species.

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)
Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)

Mar 2023

25 Mar 23 (05:24, Sat 8 Deg sunny Windy 18SW)

Ouse Fen RSPB – Barleycroft/Berry Fen (02hr:18mins, 2.92Miles)

Back to the patch and my normal weekend trip around the lake and Berry Fen. Last morning before the clocks changed, so my earliest start this year. This time of the morning you don’t often get disturbed by dog walkers. Just leaving the village I could already here the Black-headed Gulls at the lake, their numbers have grown considerably over the past couple of weeks as they start to choose their nest sites. Still dull and gloomy as I arrived at the lake, not ireal for photography. Usual suspects at the lake, but a bonus Barn Owl hunting at the side of the lake, just exiting the area as I arrived. On the lake the pair of Red-breasted Pochard were still in attendance, with the female sat on ‘Gull Island’ and the male on the lake. Nothing else of note but Spring was definitely in the air, not least by the singing chiffchaff with at least ten heard throughout my walk. Onto Berry Fen and again nothing out of the ordinary, a Marsh Harrier flying over the lake disturbing all the waterfowl, but the strong wind meaning not a lot was showing. eBird Checklist – 25 Mar 2023 – Ouse Fen RSPB Reserve–Berry Fen – 46 species

Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Red-crested Pochard (Netta rufina)
Red-crested Pochard (Netta rufina)
Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)
Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicephalus ridibundus)

24 Mar 23 (09:02, Fri 10 Deg sunny Windy 18SW)

Titchwell Marsh RSPB (04hr:00min, 2.81 miles)

Another excursion out of the county and a trip to one of my favourite reserves. Arrived reasonably early to avoid the rush at a very popular reserve. On arrival I went to the Island hide, on the way there were 5 Marsh Harriers in the distance over the reedbeds. Once in the island hide there were a number of Avocets in the nearest island, along with Black-headed Gulls. On the freshwater marsh were small number of Brent Goose, shelduck and a lone Pink-footed Goose. Onto Parrinder Hide there were at least 4 Mediterranean Gulls mixed in the the BH Gulls. A large number (up to 100) Avocet were distributed around the freshwater marsh. Onwards towards the beach and walking past the salt water marsh were Curlew and Redshank. Onto the beach and there was not a lot showing, probably due to the strong wind. I watched the sea for around 20mins and only saw 3 Sanderling on the beach, Herring Gull and Oystercatcher. On the sea was a Red Breasted Merganser and a Great Crested Grebe. I did consider going back but decided to walk along the beach for a while to see if there was anything around . I walked about 400m east and cam across a small saltwater stream and there I saw my first SNOW BUNTING. I sat there watching it for around 20mins, managing to get some pics. I then returned to the reserve where there were around 100 Brent Goose on the marsh. A quick trip to Fen hide with Chiffchaff, Treecreeper and Goldcrest and made my way back to the car park. (60 Species).

Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis)
Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis)
Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis)
Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)
Curlew (Numenius arquata)
Redshank (Tringa tetanus)
Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Mediterranean gull (Larus melanocephalus)
Brent Goose (Branta bernicla)
Curlew (Numenius arquata)

Hunstanton Cliffs, Norfolk (35min, 1 mile)

On the way back from Titchwell I stopped off at Hunstanton to see the Fulmars on the cliffs. Last year I visited and there were over 50pairs on the cliffs. Unfortunately when I got there I could only see a handful of pairs, in fact less than 10. I presume that they have been hit badly with Avian Influenza, but was informed on Twitter that it could be a number of factors including weather, and that the census that took place in Jun when the birds were nesting would show the true scale of the problem, (10 Species)

Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis)

18 Mar 23 (05:30, Sat 9 Deg Overcast)

Ouse Fen RSPB – Barleycroft/Berry Fen (02hr:30mins, 2.91 Miles)

Sunrise at 06.08 meant an early start this morning, with a Tawny Owl heard as I made my way through the village to the Lake. As I was walking down to the lake I was able to hear that the Black-headed Gulls had arrived in force. On arrival at the Lake there were at least 300 BH Gulls on ‘Gull Island’ searching out for the best nesting spot. There were six Little Egrets in the trees at the far side of the lake, but they flew off as I reached my usual monitoring spot. Other species included Great Crested Grebe, 6 Oystercatcher, and a pair of Red Crested Pochard on Gull Island. As I made my way round the lake there were the usual species seen or heard. A Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming away in the trees at the far end. Also a flock of 20+ Fieldfare and a smaller flock of 8 Redwing. Off to Berry Fen where there were the usual suspects along with a Drake Pintail and a Marsh Harrier. At least 3 Cetti’s Warbler heard, 1 was seen. Not many pics today as the weather wasn’t particularly kind, although there was an obliging Robin as I was walking back through the village. (51 Species).

Black-headed Gull (Chroicephalus ridibundus)
Robin (Erithacus rubecula)
Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

11 Mar 23 (06:05, Sat -3 Deg Overcast)

Ouse Fen RSPB – Barleycroft/Berry Fen (02hr:00mins,3.88 Miles)

A very cold morning, with a hard ground frost. Three Great White and two Little Egrets on the edge of the lake, but the overwhelming presences was the return of the Black-headed Gull on the island, there were approx. 100 scouting out their nesting sites. One Egyptian Goose and two Oystercatcher. Plenty of Tufted duck and Pochard a lone Great Crested Grebe. Three Roe Deer seen at the rear of the lake, along with Great Spotted Woodpecker in the wood. My first Goldcrest of the year also seen at the edge of the lake. Off to Berry fen where the majority of the ducks were located, Shoveler, Teal and Wigeon along with 100+ Lapwing. Two Pintail also seen amongst the ducks. An Egyptian Goose was on one of the nests in the Heronry at the far side of Berry Fen. Just the one Cetti’s Warbler heard in the shrubbery. (44 Species).

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) Great White Egret (Ardea alba)

Black-headed Gull (Chroicephalus ridibundus)
Pintail (Anas acuta)

5 Mar 23 (06:05, Sat 5 Deg Overcast)

Ouse Fen RSPB – Barleycroft/Berry Fen (02hr:40mins,4.10 Miles)

A few noisy Black-headed Gull down on the lake, around 30flying around their usual nesting location. A pair of Great Crested Grebe going through their courtship routine. Unfortunately the weather was very dull so no great photo opportunities. (48 Species).

Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)
Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus)
Jay (Garrulus glandarius)

Feb 2023

26 Feb 23 (06:21, Sun 8 Deg Clear)

Ouse Fen RSPB – Barleycroft/Berry Fen (02hr:40mins, 4.10 Miles)

Back to the local patch with a nice clear day. You can tell that spring is in the air as nest building a has started with Cormorant’s taking nest building material to the trees on the main island, and the Black-headed Gulls are starting to scout out their normal nesting site on the large islands on Barleycroft lake. Nothing out the ordinary around the the lake. On to Berry Fen where there were approximately 50 Lapwing. The Fen had the usual large number of wigeon, Gadwall and Shoveler , but the first of the year Grey Wagtail at the end of the fen. There was also a singing Chiffchaff showing well in the sun, (48 Species).

Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)
Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)
B H Gull (Chroicephalus ridibundus)
Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)
Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus)
Coot (Fulica atra)
Robin (Erithacus rubecula)
Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

24 Feb 23 (13.00, Fri)

Holkham NR, Norfolk (02:00, 2.5 Miles)

Off to the coast to get some new ticks for the year. Very busy for a Fri term time and was hoping to see some Snow Bunting. Off to the beach with a flock of Brent Goose on the salt marsh, along with a small group of Shelduck. Once I got to the beach the sea was very rough so little chance of seeing anything on the sea. The usual shore birds were seen, Oystercatcher, Sanderling, Dunlin and a variety of Gull including Black-headed, Common, Herring and Lesser Black-backed, also Curlew. I made my way along the dunes to head back to the carpark where I came across 7 Shore Lark, unfortunately conditions weren’t good enough to get any decent pics. There were also a good number of Linnet and Skylark on the way back to the car park. Back to the car park where there was a good selection of species including Grey Partridge, Mistle Thrush, Wigeon, teal and 3 Snipe sat very close to the fence. (30 Species)

Mistle Thrush (Turdus viscivorus)
Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)
Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)
Brent Goose (Branta bernicla)
Skylark (Alauda arvensis)
Grey Partridge (Perdix perdix)

24 Feb 23 (09:20, Fri)

Undisclosed Location, Norfolk (03hr:00mins. 0.5 Miles)

My first outing outside of Cambridgeshire this year on the search for Goshawk. I met a good birding friend of mine at this undisclosed location in central Norfolk where they are known to display. We were very lucky and spotted 2 Goshawk off in the distance. A lifer for me. No pics unfortunately as they were too far away. A number of other species were seen, with a lot of finches and Skylarks (25 Species)

19 Feb 23 (06:34, Sun 8 Deg Clear)

Ouse Fen RSPB – Barleycroft/Berry Fen (03hr:00mins, 4.10 Miles)

Spring definitely appeared to be in the air this morning, and with sunrise now 07.08, having to go out a little earlier to get down to the lake for sunrise. The usual Cormorant s leaving their roast on the lake as I made my way down. Also 2 Buzzard circling around the fields, which was unusual for that time of day. Got to the lake, and on first inspection there didn’t appear to be much about. Usual ducks, Cormorant and lapwing, with only 3 Mute Swan on the lake. Cormorants were definitely in nest building mode. On closer inspection there were 4 Little Egret and a Great White Egret. First for the year on the Lake were 6 Oystercatcher being very noisy on the centre island. A trip round the lake brought 3 Egyptian Goose, 3 Canada and 4 Greylag Goose. A Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming in the trees. Off to Berry Fen and two overlying Shelduck. A lot of Wigeon, Tufted, Shoveler and Gadwall. 3 Herons on the heronry on the far side of the fen. At the end of the Fen there was at least on Chiffchaff with it’s distinctive call. Plenty of Blue and Great tits along with a flock of Long-tailed tits and Goldfinch. Walking round to the back end of Berry Fen there were 3 Redshank on the lake shoreline. (46 Species)

Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus)
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
Robin (Erithacus rubecula)
Great White Egret (Ardea alba)

12 Feb 23 (06:40, Sun 8 Deg Overcast)

Ouse Fen RSPB – Cuckoo Fen (02hr:25mIns, 3.45 Miles)

11 Feb 23 (06:55, Sat 7 Deg Overcast)

I thought I’d mix it up this morning and go on an expedition to the other side of the Great Ouse and onto Cuckoo Fen. So I went out a little earlier as it is a bit of a trek to arrive around Sunrise, not that you would notice as it was so drab and overcast. So another blank on the photos front. Usual species seen, although a big bonus/highlight was my first Cambs Ravens which were flying over Cuckoo Fen from Over Church. (35 Species).

Ouse Fen RSPB – Barleycroft/Berry Fen (02hr:33mins, 3.88 Miles)

An overcast morning didn’t make for good photographic opportunities added with a really quiet morning regarding the birds. Usualy waterfowl on Barleycroft Lake. Great White Egret and 2 Little Egret on the lakeside. 3 Roe deer were spotted behind me while at the lake, but all quickly ran off before I had a chance to take a pic. Large flock of Redwing on the fringes of the lake and also at Bluntisham Church. Role on Spring, migrants and the better weather (37 Species) .

5 Feb 23 (06:55 Sun 3Deg Clear)

Ouse Fen RSPB – Barleycroft/Berry Fen (02hr:40mins, 4.00 Miles)

Another trip around the patch, with a lot colder that yesterday, but clear so a better opportunity for some decent pics. I got down to the lake and the lake (Unfortunately no Barn Owl this morning). Great White Egret and Little Egret again seen on the edges of the far side of the lake. A flyby from a Marsh Harrier caused little disruption. As the sun came up there were a lot of Blue tit and Great tit in the trees surrounding the lake. On the way to Berry Fen the years first Skylark and Pied Wagtail and a Roe Deer running around the field. At the end of Berry Fen there were a number of Blue tit and Long-tailed tit. I tried to get some pics but those little blighters will not stay still for a second, however I did get a semi decent pic of a Chiffchaff and Redwing in the sun. (43 Species).

Redwing (Turus ilacus)
Robin (Erithacus rubecula)
Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Great White Egret (Ardea alba)
Moonset over Barleycroft Lake

4 Feb 23 (07:00 Sat 8Deg Cloudy)

Ouse Fen RSPB – Barleycroft/Berry Fen (02hr:24mins, 3.88 Miles)

I headed out down to the lake about 45 mins before sunrise, and was delighted to see my first Barn Owl of the year hunting over the field before the entrance to Barleycroft Lake. Unfortunately it was too dark for photos but very happy to see it. The usual stream of Cormorant making their way out from their night-time roost. A Great White Egret and 2 Little Egrets were seen as I walked up to the lake. The usual waterfowl were seen along with about 30 Lapwing on the small island, along with a couple of Egyptian Geese. A tour round the lake perimeter yielded a small flock of Redwing (with some dodgy pics due to poor light). Out of Barleycroft and onto Berry Fen. Four Shelduck flying over the Great Ouse (First of the year for the patch). 100s of Wigeon on Berry Fen along with Teal and Tufted Duck. I noticed three Grey Heron in the nests in the Heronry on the far side of Berry Fen, A couple getting a little frisky. Back home with little else seen, a very quiet time of the year for the patch. (40 Species).

Redwing (Turus ilacus)
Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)

Jan 2023

29 Jan 23 (08:55 Sun 4.5Deg overcast)

Fen Drayton RSPB (03:18 – 4.37miles)

I decided to go to Fen Drayton RSPB this morning to try to find the Smew and Goosander that had been spotted the previous day. I decided to try a different route to my previous visits. I usually did the Ferry Lagoon loop, which at this time of year is usually extremely muddy, particularly at the northern end. I went from the carpark to Drayton Lagoon and down to Elney Lake then back up between Moore Lake and back up to Drayton. At Elney Lake there were two Marsh Harrier, not much else. There were a flock of what looked like finches in the tree tops, but they were into the Sun, so I couldn’t see what they were. Anyway I took a few pics in the hope to manipulate then when I got home. Plenty of Goldeneye on most of the lakes, a friendly Squirrel and a Cetti’s Warbler flitting around the reeds. A lot of Long-tailed tits and the usual Great and Blue tits. No sign of the Smew. Onto Moore Lake and Great White Egret and a couple of Common Gull. Back onto Drayton Lagoon and finally see what I am looking for, the Goosander (Female), unfortunately no pics as it was too far away. Once I got home and downloaded my pics, I was pleased to find that the flock of birds in the tree top were Lesser Redpolls (48 Species)

Lesser Redpoll (Acanthis cabaret)
Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula)
Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)
Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)
Great White Egret (Ardea alba)
Robin (Erithacus rubecula)
Common Gull (Larus canus)

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)

28 Jan 23 (07:10 Sat 1Deg overcast)

Ouse Fen RSPB – Barleycroft/Berry Fen (02hr:27mins, 3.88 Miles)

Out early again this morning and got down to the lake about 30 minutes before sunrise. A very dull morning, a ridiculously high iso required not ideal for decent photos. As I was walking down to the lake I counted 106 Cormorants flying in single file from their island roost heading towards Earith. Nothing out of the ordinary on the lake this morning. There was a Green Woodpecker calling in the distance and a small flock of Greenfinch in the shrubs by the entrance to the lake. Off to the path walking towards Berry Fen, which was still frozen . The only birds on the fen were 4 Pied Wagtails on the ice. A flock of Long-tailed tits were on the reeds, annoyingly quick, so unable to get any decent photos. All in all what I thought was a quite day on the bird front but still saw a decent number of species, toped off with a first Male Blackcap of the year in the garden, a very infrequent visitor. (42 Species)

Blackcap (Aegithalos caudatus)
Long-tailed Tit ((Aegithalos caudatus)
 
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba)

21 Jan 23 (07:12 Sat -4Deg Clear)

Ouse Fen RSPB – Barleycroft/Berry Fen (02hr:33mins, 3.88 Miles)

A very cold morning with hard frost that had been around all week. I got down to the lake in good time before sunrise (now just before 8.am) to find the lake frozen bar a small section in the middle that had a large congregation of the usual waterfowl,. Tufted Duck, Wigeon, Coot, Greylag and a couple of Egyptian Goose. The usual 80+ Cormorant in the trees on the main island. As I was standing surveying the lake, something in the corner of my eye moved. It was what I had assumed was a dead swam over on the main island. It was indeed a dead swan but it was being tugged on and devoured by a fox. This fox must have made its way onto the island via the frozen lake, and unless it finds its way back before the ice melts then it will have to swim. Nothing much of any significance other than four Roe deer running off in the distance on the far side of the lake. Onto a frozen Berry Fen and an obliging Reed Bunting on the frozen reeds. The resident Kestrel in the tree overlooking Little Fen and a flock of Redwing that I was trying to capture disturbed by a dog walker. (33 Species)

Reed Bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicephalus ridibundus)
Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus)
Fox (Vulpes vulpes)

20 Jan 23 (13:20 Fri 5 Deg Clear 8mph N)

Nene Washes RSPB,  Eldernell, Peterborough (02hr:00min. 1.7Miles)

Had a cheeky afternoon off work, as the weather was nice I thought I’d go back to Eldernell to see if I could get better pics of the Owls and catch the ones I missed last weekend. The Car Park was full as the internet has been ful of SEO, LEO and Tawny pics for the past week, I walked along the back and manged to see the LEO which was in the same spot as it was last weekend. I then walked onto the small wood where the Tawny owl was supposed to have been last weekend. Lucked out today as it was sat there asleep in it;s tree hole. Owls ticked off I walked back to the Car Park and decided to walk in the other direction away from the crowds looking at the Owls. I was treated to a ver obliging Stonechat, then further along the back there was a Marsh Harrier hunting. Further along there was a Red Kite sat on the gate and a Buzzard further along still. In the far distance I could see 50+ Whooper swans and the unmistakable sound of Common Crane. There were six Crane that I could see. All in all a very satisfying couple of hours. (28 Species)

Long-eared Owl (Asio otus)
Tawny Owl (Strix aluco)
Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)

15 Jan 23 (07:26 Sun 5Deg Clear 20mph)

Ouse Fen RSPB – Barleycroft/Berry Fen (02hr:11mIns, 3.87 Miles)

A cold windy morning not expecting to see much this morning. I got down to the lake about 15 mins before sunrise. Usual Tufted Duck, Teal , Shoveler, Coot and Cormorant, with a Great White Egret and Little Egret on the lake edge. Two Marsh Harrier flew over the lake. After about 45 mins at the lake I started my walk round it. I saw two Glossy Ibis fly over as I rounded the far side of the lake as well as two Marsh Harrier hunting. Nothing much further to report other than a close up view of a Kestrel sat in the tree by the reserve entrance. (39 Species)

Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)
Great White Egret (Ardea alba) Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)
Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)

14 Jan 23 (13:50 Sat. 7Deg Showers 18mph SW)

Nene Washes RSPB Eldernell, Peterborough(01hr:22min. 1.04Miles)

A wet morning , so no birding, however the weather broke in the afternoon so I went on an owl hunt at Nene Washes RSPB, near Peterborough. The Car Park was full as it is a popular time of year, particularly looking for Short-eared Owl. The Rain came down as soon as I got out of the car, typical, but wasn’t disappointed as two Short-eared Owls were hidden in the trees 100 yards from the Car Park, I would definitely have missed them if there hadn’t been a group of birders looking at them. The sensitive nature of one of the species seen e-bird gives advice on not publicising the location so won’t go into any detail here, suffice to say it was a lifer. (15 species)

Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)

08 Jan 23 (07:40 Sat), 8Deg light Cloud Wind 18mph S)

Ouse Fen RSPB – Barleycroft/Berry Fen (02hr:13mIns, 3.93 Miles)

A bright morning and manged to get up and out and down to Barleycroft Lake just before sunrise. As I was walking down to the lake from the village I counted 47 Cormorants flying from the direction of the lake towards Earith. Once I arrived at the lake there were still approx 40 Cormorants still in the trees on the island. The usual ducks coot and lapwing were a Great White Egret on the far side of the lake. As I was watching that I just caught two Glossy Ibis flying in the direction of Needingworth. There were also two Little Egret around as well as a small flock of Redwing. Before I left two Egyptian Geese flew onto the lake, the first of the year. Off to Berry Fen with the usual Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler, Gadwall and Coot. The obligatory Marsh Harrier also flew past. The Chiffchaff was again seen walkin through little Fen

Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Great White Egret (Ardea alba)
Wigeon (Anas penelope)

07 Jan 23 (13.50 Sat), 10Deg Showers Wind 18mph S)

Ouse Fen RSPB – Barleycroft/Berry Fen (01hr:57mIns, 3.75 Miles)

Another grim day weather wise but as the weather improved a little in the afternoon I took a walk out to Ouse Fen. The usual waterfowl on Berry Fen, which is in full flood, Wigeon, Tufted Duck, Shoveler and Teal, and 100+ Coot with an over flying Marsh Harrier causing a disturbance with ducks flying everywhere to escape being potential lunch. An additional patch tick for the year as a pair of Reed Bunting flew across the path. On to Barleycroft Lake where the usual suspects could be seen. By this time it was raining again and the main island on the lake had 90+ Cormorants sheltering in the trees. Two Little Egrets were disturbed by a walker in the area to the West of the lake and flew past. The walk back to Bluntisham yielded a Kestrel, Buzzard and once in the village, a Sparrowhawk flew across the Baptist Church graveyard . Considering there didn’t seem to be much about, with no photos taken, the list was a respectable one. (37 Species)

04 Jan 23 (14:00 Wed), 11Deg Clear Wind 20mph SW)

Fen Drayton RSPB (01:26 – 2.56miles)

Last chance to salvage something from today I decided to take a quick walk around Fen Drayton’s Ferry Lagoon (anticlockwise from the carpark for those that know it), there is always something there to see. I quickly started to rack up the species including Goldeneye, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Crested Grebe, Kestrel (which obliged and hovered directly above me) and a lot of Greylag, Wigeon and Tufted Duck. I had forgotten how muddy it gets there in the winter with the final half of the circuit being a real slog, to be honest not very enjoyable. As the sun was setting there were vast numbers of Greylag, Cormorant and various ducks, including some Pintail as well as Little Grebe. I also managed to get a few decent pics. So in the end not a wasted birding day. (31 Species).

Goldeneye (Female) (Bucephala clangula)
Goldeneye (Male) (Bucephala clangula)
Goldeneye (M&F) (Bucephala clangula)
Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)

Ouse Fen RSPBCuckoo Fen (00:50min – 1.29miles

Down to the southern end of the reserve, again too windy, another Marsh Harrier, a Kestrel and some Greylag Geese. Today is looking like a bit of a non starter regarding birds. (8 Species)

Ouse Fen RSPBLockspit Mere (01hr:12min – 1.84miles)

My last day before going back to work so thought aI would take advantage of the clear weather after being rained off yesterday. It was a sunny day however a very windy one so not a lot about bar a lone Marsh Harrier and some Meadow Pipit. (9 Species).

02 Jan 23 (Mon, 6Deg Clear)

Ouse Fen RSPB – Barleycroft/Berry Fen (02hr:17mIns, 3.97 Miles)

Another trip out to Ouse Fen this morning. I managed to get to the lake about 20mins earlier than yesterday, about 30 mins before Sunrise, and managed to see a Great White Egret feeding on the near bank, unfortunately not enough light to get a decent pic. Also on the lake was a pair of Red-crested Pochard, not an infrequent visitor to the lake but an extremely beautiful duck. (See record shot below, again not really enough light, so a crazy iso). There were also 80+ Cormorant roasting on the main island, all but a handful had flown off while I was there. Before I moved on, a Common Redshank landed on the ‘Gull island’, (I don’t think that is its proper name, it is just wear all the Black-headed Gulls nest in the Spring), this is an infrequent visitor to Barleycroft Lake, if not the local area. I moved round the Lake taking a different route from yesterday, doubling back along the path to the back of the fenced off reserve seeiing Song Thrush and Redwing as well as hearing both Great Spotted and Green Woodpecker. Then moving on to Berry Fen where there were 200+ Wigeon, with a large number of Tufted Duck and Teal and a flock of 50+ Lapwing doing circuits of the fen. (48 Species)

Red-crested Pochard (Netta rufina)
Common Redshank (Tringa totanus)
Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

01 Jan 23 – (Sun, 5Deg Clear) 2hr 6mIns, 3.98 Miles.

Ouse Fen RSPB – Barleycroft/Berry Fen

A nice morning for the first trip out for the year yielded a respectable 44 species in my walk round Barleycroft Lake and Berry Fen. Out before sunrise and down to the lake, which always has something to see. A number of Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Coot, Shoveler, Mute Swan, Cormorant and Greylag Geese. A Sparrowhawk in the trees on the far side and an over flying Marsh Harrier. A Little Egret skulking around on the shoreline. After about 30 mins scanning the lake and surrounding area I started my walk round the lake where two Glossy Ibis flew over. As I was completing my circuit a Snipe was disturbed and flew across the lake. Onto Berry Fen and a Buzzard and two more Marsh Harrier. A large number of Wigeon on the far side of Berry Fen. The usual tits were seen throughout the walk including a Long-tailed Tit. Onto Little Fen where I briefly got a glimpse of a Chiffchaff, not very common at this time of year. An enjoyable 2 hours and 4 mile walk, with some images taken today below. (44 Species).

Sunrise over Barlycroft Lake this morning
Robin (Erithacus rubecula)
Teal (Anas crecca)
Greylag Goose (Anser anser)

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