Friday, 23 February 2018

Wimpole Hall and Fowlmere

11th February 2018

When we arrived at Wimpole Hall Paul Hackett was already set up in the car park waiting for the Hawfinches to come down and drink from the puddles on the muddy verge opposite. This seemed a good idea so we settled down to wait for their arrival. A half an hour later the car park was starting to fill up and within minutes four cars had parked on the muddy verge over the puddles, so time to abandon that idea.

A wander around the trees by the fence did reveal a number of birds that were feeding on seed that had been put down including this Chaffinch and a rather smart male Brambling.

Song Thrushes are still fairly scarce these days, but in February they seem to emerge from nowhere and start singing, alerting you to their presence. This individual was feeding under the trees and, unlike many Song Thrushes these days, was quite happy feeding out in the open rather than scurrying under bushes.

But the gem today was this Redwing which was feeding on the grass ride on the other side of the fence and was particularly tame, allowing us to approach to within just 8 yards.

So time now to head off for Fowlmere and as we left the hall there was a queue of about 50 cars waiting for spaces in the car park to become available, and there was no special event on!! Along the road towards the reserve I noticed a pair of partridges lurking under a hedgerow so we turned round, got the cameras out of the boot and approached for a second time. They turned out to be Grey Partridges but sadly were in no mood for a photoshoot, so only managed to get one shot.

Not too surprising at this time of year the reserve was very quiet, in fact the only noise near the visitor centre was Chris and Ellie Beach making nest boxes with the Fowlmere Bullfinches RSPB Wildlife Explorers.

In the Reed-bed Hide the mere had been taken over by Greylag Geese, which were all paired up and displaying, so plenty of opportunities for shots of neck-stretching, interaction and the odd flight shot.

So probably not what we were expecting when we set off this morning, but a very rewarding day nevertheless. And the stars of the show today? Well, today the award goes to Chris and Ellie for giving up their time to get youngsters out into the countryside and involved with wildlife.

Great stuff!!!

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