Having not seen Colin for two months-thanks to weather, ill health and so on, it was nice to be able to get the new year off to a good start with a trip out. As there were no major rarities to go for, we decided on a fairly short trip to the Fens.
We started off at Coveney near Ely, where a Rough Legged Buzzard has been seen intermittently-in fact its believed to be the same one I saw near Royston last winter. Despite searching for some time, with a bitterly cold wind and the occasional snow flurry, we could not find it. Several flocks of Redwing and Fieldfare were found in the hedgerows, with the occasional lark and pipit flying over.
Leaving the area, and heading for Pyemoor, we soon encountered herds of Wild Swans. Large numbers of Whoopers, and smaller numbers of Bewick's were feeding in beet fields, and occasionally flying past us. Another flock held a large number of Greylag and Canada Geese too. Nearby, we found small coveys of Grey and Red Legged Partridge and a small flock of Golden Plover.
The Ouse Washes at Pyemoor were largely empty of wildfowl, due to the wind most duck were sheltering in the lee of the west bank a long way off. A small flock of Barnacle Geese were a bit of a surprise. There were few small birds around, apart from the occasional Reed Bunting and we did not see any owls or birds of prey apart from many Kestrels and a single Buzzard.
We stopped of at Welney briefly, but there was little to see on the feeders from the centre and most of the reserve was shut.
We then headed off to Graffham Water.
The first thing we encountered was a Great Northern Diver swimming just offshore. We also found a few Redshank and Dunlin feeding along the muddy edge, but there apart from some Mallard, Gadwall and Goldeneye there was not much else on view so we headed off to the dam.
The Velvet Scoter that had been present for several weeks showed quite well among the grebes and Cormorants but we failed to find any of the other species that had been around like Red Necked Grebe and Common Scoter.