Thursday, 29 December 2011

Number 48: swanning about at Welney

I saw this one on Autumnwatch a while ago and thought it would be a shame to miss it (having made such a muck up of the starlings murmurating this year).

Every year, thousands of swans come to the UK for the warm winters (!) and lots go to the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Welney, which is right in the heart of the fens, north of Ely. The Trust preserves habitat which in turn attracts the birds, and it has put up a number of hides to attract people to come and have a look.

They also do a swan feed three times a day which brings the birds right up to the hide. They are always mentioned in the press at this time of year and despite being only an hour away I haven't ever been for a look. Starlings avoided me just 10 minutes from home but swans wouldn't be so difficult, surely...

No, it turns out. Looks how many other people joined in!

Swans are popular!

They started to fly in from all over the reserve just as dusk was falling with some of the cleverer ones sneaking round to the wheelbarrow of food around the back.

The ducks came too and were a bit bolder than the swans in waiting for the food to be delivered. They are all facing right because it was a howling gale and they were trying not to be blown down the mere.

The nice food lady did her best to get the seed into the water but as you can see, most of it was being blown horizontally down the waterline

They waited a few minutes after she had gone and then it became a scrum!

And for good measure there was a fantastic sunset.
The only disappointment was learning that there aren't any crocodiles in the Fens and there wasn't a flamingo to look out for. Ah well.

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