Napier Birding (Steve & Lee) decided to go and visit the folks back in the UK for a catch up, so naturally the camera came too!
We were there for nearly a month and noticed very quickly that things hadn’t changed too much in our 10 year absence, except the weather has got worse!
It was damp / raining nearly every day, overcast, cold and just about the worst it could be for photographing the bird life!
The journey went a bit like this. First to Yorkshire in the sticks, and straightaway were sightings of Great Tits, Blue Tits and Long Tailed Tits on the garden feeder. Blackbirds and House Sparrows fought alongside them for food.
Wood Pigeons courting in the tree tops, and the call of Tawny Owls at dusk from the trees at the bottom of the garden were a delight to hear, even if we didn’t get to see them!
Next, we were off to friends in the Snowdonia National Park in Wales. Here, the Common Buzzards soared overhead alongside Red Kites. Wales was at the forefront in bringing these majestic birds back from the abyss, and now they are all over the country.
Despite the rain, the Great Tits and Blue Tits were joined by Hedge Sparrows at the bird-table. Flitting around underneath, was Britain’s smallest bird, the “Jenny Wren”.
Lastly, we were in Cambridgeshire, and a visit to Welney Wildlife Centre in the Fens was the highlight of the visit. It has a magnificent purpose-built hide overlooking the wetlands, which attracts thousands of birds all year, and a visit here has to be on every birders to-do list if you are in the area.
Despite the poor conditions, and right next to the hides, were Whooper, Mute and Bewicks swans, Pochard, Teal and Mallard ducks.
Greylag geese flew in and landed next to Canadian geese, and even the odd Bar-headed Goose could be spotted.
The sighting of the day (but no photo, unfortunately,) was a Marsh Harrier patrolling the Fenlands. Locals told me it is a common sight as there is an established pair of them in the area.
As we walked back to the car, a Robin sang from the bushes and a flock of Goldfinches hit the feeders.
Kestrels and Fieldfares were seen on the drive back, with Rooks and Jackdaws sitting on the telegraph poles.
Deep in the hedge at home, in the near dark, was a tiny Goldcrest, and Chaffinch and Yellowhammer sat in the tree tops.
So, despite the weather, we got a really good reminder of what we had left behind, but it was great to get back here to the sunshine!
(We have decided to create a photo gallery of Steve's wonderful photographs and have posted it at this link: