30th June. It was another early morning start for Sam and I as the coach trip to Martin Mere left Washington WWT at 7:00am. The journey was a long one, but did take us through some attractive countryside. We did think whilst walking around the bird collection during part of the day, that instead of travelling to Martin Mere to look at the White-headed Ducks, a trip to Spain to watch them in the wild may not have taken us much longer than the journey this morning. Anyway I did enjoy looking around the bird collection from various areas of the world and it gave some good photo opportunities, as did the captive Otters. I appreciate that captive species are not everyone’s cup of tea, but the good work done by the WWT has to be recognised. I remembered the talk about the Spoon-billed Sandpipers earlier this year.
One in the collection
We could have been holidaying in Spain by the time we found this one
The site at Martin Mere, as anyone who has visited will know, is an extensive area. The large ‘Marsh Harrier’ hide is quite impressive and Sam seemed to remember that the narrow long hide was perhaps the longest in Europe. If it isn’t the longest it has to be ‘one of the longest’. A few areas seemed to me to be a bit unkempt, but on reflection I realise that atrocious weather conditions of late have had to be dealt with, so maybe I’m being a bit over critical. I have to say though that I’ wasn’t impressed by the reception given to us by ‘In Focus’. Well in fact we weren’t given a reception at all, the guy in the hide preferring to stay on the telephone the whole time we were in there. We didn’t receive a hello or a goodbye. I appreciate people have other business to attend to, but at least part of the conversation on the line was about the other callers planned holidays, so I reckon in this case it wasn’t pressing business! Perhaps I don’t look as though I’m in the market for new optics. In fact I am.
An impressive hide
At least two Marsh Harriers were seen during our visit. One of them very distant, and the other one not too close. At least three Common Buzzards (sightings well into double figures in total for the day) and a Kestrel were seen. Obviously not the best time to visit for large numbers of wild birds, however we did have a male Ruff in some summer plumage and Black-tailed Godwits in the same. Other waders seen were Avocet, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Lapwing and Redshank. on the journey home I saw a Common Snipe in flight. It was just a brief sighting Sam and you were dozing at the time! :-) On the journey down an even briefer brief sighting was made of Wheatear. I have a feeling we may have seen Raven, but I’m not confident enough to record it.
The Marsh Harrier showed well in the bins!
Warblers for the day were Common Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler and Chiffchaff. A young Treecreeper was seen briefly. Swifts and Swallows were about most of time we were at the site. We came a cross some fungi, one of which was larger than a football. I can only assume that it was a Giant Puffball Calvatia gigantea
We intended having a go in the canoes, but time really didn’t allow this. I don’t think we would have seen too much from the canoe anyway, but I’m sure some fun would have been had.:-) We made do with an ice-cream. We only caught the edge of a storm so didn’t get wet, although at one point as the sky darkened I certainly thought that was going to happen. So despite no canoeing it was an Under the Hood and Killy fun day with lots of laughs. Some laughs helped the long journey home fly by as the rain bounced off the coach between bright periods.