24th November – A Visit to the Ouse Washes

Visit to RSPB Ouse Washes   co-ordinator Liz Bridge

This trip is now to the RSPB Ouse Washes Nature Reserve only because of the reduced daylight hours at this time of year. The reserve is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is owned jointly by the RSPB and the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire. It consists of a long, narrow strip of grass fields or ‘washes’ that flood every winter and is now the biggest area of regularly flooding washland in Britain. In winter the reserve is used by tens of thousands of ducks as well as Bewick’s and Whooper Swans, making it one of the best places in Britain to watch wildfowl. Flocks of farmland birds, including Tree Sparrows, Corn Buntings and Yellowhammers, are usually seen around the visitor centre. Stonechats, Barn Owls and Water Pipits are also possible. There are 10 hides and the Visitor Centre is open from 9-5 daily; there are toilet facilities. I am advised that the access to the hides is not affected by flooding but it is advisable to wear stout footwear and plenty of warm clothing. Please bring coffee, packed lunch, or whatever you need to sustain you through the day.
The journey time is approximately 90 minutes from Dereham and I suggest we meet at the Visitor Centre on the reserve at 9.30 am. It is obviously preferable if members attending could link up to share cars. If you are intend to join the trip please put your name on the visit sheet at an indoor meeting or contact the leader – Liz Bridge on 01603 261370. On the day only, my mobile number is 07790 270059.
RSPB/Wildlife Trust Visitor Centre is at Welches Dam (TL470859), signposted from Manea village. From the A141 Chatteris– March road follow the B1093 WSW; from the A142 Chatteris bypass follow B1098 WNW then take minor road to right just after Horseway (or continue to Manea via B1093).Nearest postcode: PE15 0NF Sat Nav 52.44742, 0.15589 (52° 26′ 50″ N, 0° 9′ 21″ E)
* Health and Safety Warning *
9 of the hides are only accessible by steps, the 10th having both a ramp and steps.

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