After the recent reports of Hen Harriers, I thought I'd check Welwick Saltings out. The appalling weather lately, meant that the lane was rutted and full of ice, plus deep puddles with slippery mud as an added garnish. Compensation came in the form of a nice male Bullfinch along the lane. Before I reached the bank the obligatory off road motorbike was riding on the flood defences from west to east. It looked like a teenager, or even younger, but he had a dark helmut on, which completely obscured his features. He also seemed to have a minder in tow. Unfortunately, the tree where the Hen Harrier used to perch adjacent to the path seems to have been washed further along, and is no longer approachable. Managed to see a Barn Owl quartering the Saltmarsh & had a distant view of a Merlin landing on the washed-up tree, but a heavy sleet shower set in. It looked as though it was going to last the rest of the afternoon, so I would have legged it back to the car, but it was too muddy, so I carefully returned to the car instead. Went back home via Sunk Island & Stone Creek, where this very confiding Barn Owl allowed me to approach very close - its feathers had presumably got damp in a shower, so it wasn't bothered about trying to escape. Must revisit Welwick when no showers are forecast, maybe in 2010!