Trip reports


Barn owl looking over its shoulder

Sunday, 18 March 2018

The beast from the east didn't stop us but by Jove it got into us. With the wind chill at minus eight we left the warmth of our trusty Jay and Kay coach leaving Chris, our driver, trying to keep warm while we went birding. With a quick toilet stop in the car park we started our walk to the Visitor Centre where we came upon a small group of people looking into the wooded area. On arrival it soon became apparent what they were looking at. Close to the path, hunkered down, was a woodcock, a life tick for a few members on the trip. Once wood- cocked out we made our way to the café for a well-earned stop for tea, coffee and a few bacon rolls. With scopes and binoculars trained on the filled feeders we were soon rewarded with a male brambling showing well amongst the other feeding birds which included a greenfinch, great tits, dunnocks and robins to name a few. Then the walk towards the beach started and ended as soon as we reached the main two hides. A few hardy souls went on but once back explained that trying to keep the binoculars still was near impossible. From the saltwater marsh we had great views of avocet, grey plover, dunlin, and curlew amongst others. From the fresh water side we had ruff and a merganser, not forgetting the red crested pochard. After eating lunch we decided to make our way back to the café for a warm drink. Deciding to soldier on, we made our way to the willow trail but apart from a marsh harrier quartering the reeds and a couple of disturbed snipe not much was seen. Walking back frantic calls were made to say a barn owl was quartering the reed beds getting very close to the path and giving great views and great photo opportunities making most forget the now falling temperatures. Whilst some were watching the barn owl eyes were drawn to the nearby ditch where a water rail was making its serene way. With a great count of 74 species and thinking we were going to cancel the trip only two days before it just shows why wildlife is so fantastic.