Last January we spent a day at the Nene Washes in Cambridgeshire and were amazed by the wildlife we saw. So, today we decided to take another trip across from Northamptonshire to see if it would be as good for a second time.
Well, we weren’t disappointed!
As soon as we arrived, we could see a few groups of people with cameras and scopes peering into some bushes. As we walked up we almost immediately saw a short-eared owl perched with a clear view in the front of a bush. A little further on there was a long-eared owl in another bush, although much harder to see as (my digi-scoping, as shown below, doesn’t improve). There were four long-eared owls altogether in the areas.
A little further down the embankment we tried to see a tawny owl in a large hole in an old tree but it wasn’t visible at all but as we turned back we had great views of a barn owl hunting over the tussocky grass.
We then spent a little while looking over the huge embankment-bounded flood plain of the River Nene and saw plenty of other birds including massed swirling flocks of wigeon, lapwing and golden plover. There were other raptors in the area including buzzard, kestrel, red kite and a mash harrier but we missed the hen harrier that had been seen earlier in the day. The other highlight for us was the sight of more than a dozen common cranes amongst the wildfowl flocks.
The Nene Washes really is a great place for winter wildlife and we might have stayed longer but for the strong, freezing wind. We had similar weather last year so hopefully next time it might be a little kinder to us.