Went to Slimbridge today and had a fantastic time. The two and a half hour journey each way was certainly worth it. First of all, I'd like to say what an amazing place Slimbridge is and I'd thoroughly recommend it to anyone.
We started off around the Rushy where an incredible number and diversity of birds were seen. 280 Pintail, 70 Bewick's Swans, 100+ Shelduck, 600+ Tufted Duck. The Bewicks were a first for me and watching their squabbles was fascinating. In the Peng Observatory we had even better views of these species and I managed to get a few reasonable shots (shown below). Of more interest was the returning Female Lesser Scaup which we were shown as soon as we entered the observatory. For those of you unfamiliar with female Lesser Scaups, they are practically a female Tufted Duck with slightly peaked head and only nail black on the bill, not easily distinguishable features when the bird is asleep 60 metres away!!
Next off we went into the captive collection. These provide stunning photo opportunities for species usually only seen through a scope, but we saw too many species to list!!
Our next target was to try and see the Bittern. People have been lucky enough to see this bird showing in the open recently but our views were very poor; so bad that we could only see the birds neck!! From this hide we also saw over 500 Dunlin.
Finally we tackled the last section of the reserve. This part was perhaps the most productive, birds seen include: 50+ White Fronted Geese, 200+ Golden Plover, 3000+ Lapwing, 1 Peregrine, 1000+ Teal, 700+ Wigeon and 100 Barnacle Geese.
Unfortunately by this time the sun was already setting but we decided to return to the Peng Observatory for the Swan Feed and to have another scan for the Lesser Scaup. We scanned for the scaup furiously but it was nowhere to be seen, until we discovered it had been asleep in front of us all the time, only around 10 metres from the hide!!! As the light was so poor, I only got a couple of bad record shots, but it was great to see this rare little bird so close. The feed itself was also fascinating as we watched over 100 Bewick's Swans coming into feed. All in all a great days birding!
|Hooded Merganser (Captive)|
|Flamingo (Captive - Obviously!!)|
|Demoiselle Crane (Captive)|
|Spot the Bittern!!|