Jointly managed by RSPB and the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire and Peterborough.
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).
five showing well from Kingfisher hide early afternoon
10 reports returned.
Click here for a list of birds reported within 50km of Ouse Washes RSPB in the last 14 days.
Ten hides always open. RSPB/WT visitor centre open weekends. No entrance fee. Toilets in the car park.
Surfaced car park at TL470859.
Hides from north to south:
Being the largest area of washland in the UK, the Ouse Washes encapsulate everything that wetland birding in the British winter has to offer. Many thousands of wildfowl and waders spend the winter on the washes creating an unforgettable spectacle — flocks of Bewick's and Whooper Swans, Wigeon, Teal, Golden Plover, Lapwing and Black-tailed Godwit predominate, with the sight made all the more impressive when a Peregrine bustles through and sends everything in to the sky! The adjacent fens offer the possibility Short-eared Owl, Hen Harrier and Merlin while a healthy population of Tree Sparrows visit feeders around the visitor centre. Summer sees breeding waders such as Snipe and Redshank taking up their territories, while the site is also excellent for dragonflies and can also boast being one of the best places in the country to see one of our rarest bumblebees, Bombus ruderatus.
The following information is adapted from Finding Birds in Britain, written by Lee G. R. Evans and published by BirdGuides.
Spotted Crake Up to three calling male Spotted Crakes can be heard from the hides overlooking the washes at Welches Dam in May and June. Visits at dusk are essential. The reserve is well signposted from Manea village and there is a car park and visitor centre adjacent to the Old Bedford River.
Bewick's Swan 3000-5000 Bewick's Swans winter on the Washes and can be easily seen at Welney WWT Refuge or from Ouse Washes RSPB Reserve. The RSPB reserve is reached via Manea village. Follow signposts towards reserve along a series of minor roads. Pass Purls Bridge and continue south-westwards adjacent to river towards Welches Dam car park. A selection of hides overlook the washes on the opposite side of the river. Large numbers of Whooper Swans and dabbling duck also winter here.
Garganey The RSPB reserve at Welches Dam attracts a breeding population of about 3-5 pairs of Garganey and these can be seen from the reserve hides. In April and May, pairs can be located on the flooded meadows from Stockdale Hide, and are generally present in the area of washes to the south of there. The reserve is well signposted but can be reached by taking the B1098 from Chatteris towards Upwell. The road turns sharp left after two miles and after 200 yards crosses Vermuyden's Drain. Turn right immediately after the drain towards Manea and at the beginning of the village, turn right towards Purls Bridge and Welches Dam. At the bridge, the road follows the Old Bedford River to the RSPB car park and visitor centre. The Garganey are best seen from any of the first four hides as you walk north along the barrier bank footpath on the opposite side of the river.
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