News archive

December 2008

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Whooper & Bewick's swans feeding in ploughed field

Not just a mere bird watching trip!

Although we arrived at Marshside in mist that reduced visibility to about 50 yards, the weak winter sun soon warmed the air up sufficiently for us to be able to see to the far side of the reserve. The hundreds of Wigeon and Teal, that we could only hear calling as we arrived, could be seen in all their majestic glory. Pintail and Tufted Duck added to the wildfowl spectacle. Large numbers of Pink Footed and Greylag Geese grazed the wet meadow areas moving in and about the flocks of Black-tailed Godwit and Lapwing that were roosting. A fleeting view of a Water rail from one of the hides was a good find. A couple of Whooper Swans flew into one of the larger areas of water, disturbing a Little Egret that had been feeding in one of the gullies that had hitherto hidden it from view. Off to Martin Mere and after fortifying ourselves with excellent home made soup we ventured off around the reserve. Whichever hide you went into you could hear the calls of whooper Swans, Teal, Wigeon and geese. In amongst the commoner ducks we could see large numbers of Pintail and Pochard. Surprisingly 14 Ruff were present from the Swan hide, coming close enough to study them quite easily. Greylag and Pink Footed Geese flew in and out of the reserve but this time there was no sign of the Barnacle Geese that we had seen on previous visits. Birds of prey abound, with Buzzard, Kestrel, Peregrine, Barn Owl and Marsh Harrier all being seen at one time or another. The other speciality of this reserve is the resident Tree Sparrows - always a delight to see. Without a doubt the most amazing find was being able to see the 1 Bewick Swan amongst the 1,400 Whooper Swans. Talk about needles in hay stacks!