Today has been a fairly cloudy day but fortunately with no rain. We also had my parents and my partner’s parents over to visit and to meet each other before our wedding! It seemed appropriate to take them for a walk around the beautiful Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) Reserve of Welney. Before I tell you about that, I’ve got some more nature facts from my AA Book of the British Countryside!
- The Birdsfoot plant flowers have no nectar and are self pollinating
- The Birdsfoot-trefoil plant is also known as Bacon And Eggs although I’ve no idea why
- The Black Bream is a sea fish that likes rocky areas. It is not at all related to the fresh water Bream. It’s normally found in large numbers in the English Channel over the summer.
- The Blackthorn is a shrubby tree that produces the fruit that I know as a sloe. My mum uses sloes to make sloe gin. The wood from the tree is often used for walking sticks.
I forgot to take any pictures, but Colin did have a brief adventure last night so I’ll let him tell you about it at the end of my adventure!
As I said in my introduction, we took my family across to the wonderful WWT Reserve at Welney. This place has a soft spot in my heart, being the place that my partner proposed to me, and seemed an appropriate place to take our parents.
When we arrived we started off with a look into the Fenland Museum area and enjoyed looking at the array of children’s activities that they had set out – it looks like it would be a lovely place to take children so I’d thoroughly recommend it. There is also some pond dipping stations as well so it’d be a wonderful day out! While we were in the Visitor Centre we had a look out over Lady Fen before we headed across to the main hide.
On crossing the bridge across you can have a lovely look up and down the Bedford River (I forget whether it is the old or new Bedford…)
Once we reached the main hide, we had an enjoyable time admiring the house martins flying around and catching food to feed their chicks and flying in and out of their very elaborate nests!
Once in the main hide, we set to watching the birds. We saw a good number here – including my very first avocet sighting and some delightful little avocet chicks!
Here are some more photos of the other birds we saw from the main hide:
After enjoying the main hide, we headed out for walk down towards the Reedbed hide. On the way we discovered a pond dipping area where my mum, my future mum-in-law and I had a very enjoyable session of pond dipping! Mum was the clear winner today by catching this sweet little fish, although other finds were plentiful! They including water boatman, snails, water louse, a few beetles and a number of leeches.
Once we’d tidied up the equipment and washed our hands we continued out towards the Dragonfly Ponds. Sadly we didn’t see any dragonflies today, but I was excited to find this lovely Marsh Woundwort flower which I hadn’t seen before:
And this lovely Bittersweet which I’ve discovered is more commonly known as Woody Nightshade.
One of my favourite flora sightings was this bindweed twisting its way up the reeds – a fascinating plant that you definitely don’t want in your garden!
Once the dragonfly ponds had been thoroughly explored, we took the path across to the Reedbed hide. On the way I got distracted by this gorgeous longhorn moth – Nemophora degeerella. When I was looking up this moth I discovered that it was part of a group of moths called “Fairy Moths” which I thought was such a cute name.
Eventually we did make it into the Reedbed Hide where I first enjoyed this Small Magpie Moth:
We didn’t see a great number of birds from here, but I was treated to being able to take my first picture of a Reed Warbler and my first sighting of a male Reed Bunting – both lovely birds that as their names suggest, frequent reedbeds!
At this point we realised that Welney was going to be closing soon so we ought to head back towards the car. On the way we spotted a few more common birds and this lovely orange-tip butterfly female:
I think today was a very successful day for species spotting. My total list of birds is as followed:
Mute swan, Bewick’s Swan, Shelduck, Mallard, Moorhen, Coot, Avocet, Lapwing, Pigeon, House Martin, Reed Warbler, Robin, Pied Wagtail, Reed Bunting, Goldfinch, House Sparrow.
My haiku for today is about taking other people out to enjoying nature, it doesn’t really matter where you go – you could simply treat them to a tour of your garden and point out all the wildlife you can see! I’m always amazed when I take my parents in particular out that they always ask me ‘what bird is that’ or ‘what is this Steph?’ I think that they are normally questions that are asked of parents, not parents to child!
Show them birds or moths
Garden flowers or rugged hills
Share the wilderness
Only a quick little adventure without a picture today (silly Stephanelli didn’t have a camera on her) but I’ll let him tell you about it!
Today I got to meet my mummy’s parents! They were very lovely and gave me nice strokes. I got lots of Cheerios as a reward! My wild adventure was that when we went to wave them off, Mummy took me outside on her hand so I could enjoy the fresh air. It was very cold and when I breathed it tickled my nose – so many different scents. I think it would be very scary to live out in that world so I’m very glad that my Mummy took me home and keeps me safe in my lovely cage.