Date: 1st to 5th May 2017
Weather: Overcast breezy sun at times
Park: The Hallmark Hotel Barr
Leader/Organiser: Jean Wardle
Party No: 28
North Cave. Stanford
Weather: Fine Gloomy some Sun
The party of 28 set off from Penwortham at 9.00 am by G-Line holidays. We drove across country to North Cave Nature Reserve run by Lincolnshire Wild Life Trust. We had been there 4 years ago. We had only 2 hours to view part of the Reserve but saw many birds in this short space of time. We drove over The Humber Bridge and onto Stamford and had an hour to walk round the old town. There was a lot of old timber and stone buildings. We walked down to the river and the famous Stamford bridge.
We continued down the A1 to Cambridge arriving at the Hallmark Hotel at 5.30 pm. After complimentary coffee and tea we booked in.
The evening meal was enjoyed at 7.00 pm but was small so complaints were made and things rectified.
Wicken Fen. Ely
Weather: Fine some Sun
The party travelled to Wicken Fen which is National Trust Property and there spent 4 hours walking round the various paths and board walks. Some of the group went on a boat ride around the reserve. The highlight of the visit was observing at least 5 Hobby’s hawking over The Mere seen from the tower hide.
We continued onto Ely and visited the famous Cathedral then walked to the River. Not as good as Stamford for old buildings but still good.
Newmarket Gallops, Cambridge University Botanic Gardens and Cambridge
Weather: Fine but very cold easterly wind
People were allowed to do their own thing. Five of the group walked from the hotel to get to know the local countryside. The Villages of Childerley and Dry Drayton were visited.
Thirteen people from the party set off for the Newmarket Gallops at 8.00am. Once at the Gallops we left the coach to stand near the track. Several stables were exercising their horses and the jockeys were very friendly.
We next motored to the Botanic Gardens where we stayed until about 1.30 pm. The gardens were extremely interesting especially the Glasshouses. We also had an additional viewing of a pair of Jays building a nest. If the weather had been kinder we would have extended our visit. 7 of the party took a bus into Cambridge to view the city. Some of the party returned to the hotel by public transport whilst the rest returned by the coach. The day was very enjoyable and interesting but unfortunately the cold weather was not very nice.
Weeting Heath. Lakenheath
We set off for Weeting Heath run by Norfolk Wildlife Trust. We drove through Suffolk and after crossing the Little Ouse River, we entered Norfolk. Could see Lakenheath NR but continued onto Weeting Heath and stayed for 2 hours. We were shown the location of the elusive Stone Curlew by the Warden but it was so far away, we had to use our imagination to make it out. We continued onto the 3 Hides that overlooked the Heath but could only see 2 Curlew and 3 Skylark. There was a feeding station that gave close ups of Yellow Bunting and other Finches. Two of us crossed the Road and observed a Monkjack Deer that came really close to the Road.
We then drove onto Lakenheath and spent 4 hours walking around the large reserve. This RSPB Reserve really needs a full day to do it justice. We could hear a Cuckoo calling and eventually saw it at close quarters high up in the tree. 2 more Hobby were seen and some of the group were lucky to see 2 Bittern that flew past their hide. There are some Common Cranes at the far end of the reserve but we hadn't time to walk that far to see them.
Took the long drive back to the Hotel. The countryside was beautiful in parts but near to the Hotel and on the A14 there was a lot of work being done and a bit depressing seeing all that land being spoilt for ever.
The Lodge Sandy Headquarters of the RSPB. Melton Mowbrey
Weather: Fine Sunny Warm
We left the hotel and drove to The Headquarters of RSPB at Sandy. We walked around one of the trails for 90 minutes. Before starting the long journey back to Lancashire. We saw some beautiful countryside before stopping at Melton Mobrey, famous for its Pies. We had a Sandwich in a park before buying some of these pies then sat outside a pub for a well deserved drink.
The 5 days were great and a lot of birds, mammals, and butterflies were seen.
Many thanks must go to Jean Wardle who has organised these birdie breaks for 5 years, but as she is finishing this year we need someone to step into her shoes.
Thank you Jean for another well thought out holiday. Its a shame that she is calling it a day re organising breaks but we all wish her all the best in the future.
Black Headed Gull
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Great Crested Grebe
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Lesser Black Back Gull
Long Tailed Tit
Red Kite 6 h *
Red Legged Partridge