Sunday 08 January – Westhay Moor NNR Leader: Jenny Vickers

The forecast was for sunshine and showers throughout the day. Not ideal, but certainly good enough weather for a visit to the fabulous Westhay. So, eleven people met in the car park and ventured into the reserve. At the first hide, we had bright sunshine with dramatic grey clouds giving a beautiful light. This nicely showed the plumages of the Teal, Wigeon, Gadwall and Shoveler. The trees by the paths yielded Tits and Goldcrest, with Cetti’s Warblers and Water Rail calling from deep cover. We reached the Tower Hide just in time to shelter from a downpour. A solitary Snipe zig-zagged away, a male Marsh Harrier flew across the reeds, a couple of distant Mute Swans impersonated Egrets, an actual Great White Egret made a brief appearance, and we had a fleeting glimpse of a Water Rail darting across a gap in the reeds. Many of the birds seemed to be sheltering out of sight, but we were able to practise the useful skill of identifying ducks in flight. The rain eased and we headed off to the further areas of the reserve. The large lagoons held good numbers of ducks, Canada Geese and a couple of Greylags, plus stunning male and female Goosander. In total, 33 species were seen on the walk. Thanks to Jenny for leading the walk, to Alan for recording the bird count, and to all present for their great company in rather damp conditions. Tim Fell