Monday, 12 January 2015

11 January 2015: First trip of the year to Slimbridge.

Armed with my newly arrived updated membership card, I set off for an afternoon at Slimbridge. Although it had been a sunny morning, I couldn't get away until 12is and it had already started to turn slightly. It was also still very windy and rather cold, so Slimbridge and all of its hides held a certain appeal against the elements.
At first I was bit worried about my decision as I set out on my usual route -  very little of note from theSouth Lake, Kingfisher and Zeiss hides - certainly no Bittern(-:). However, things brightened once i got to the North side of the reserve. Although the Rushy was fairly quiet, the Drake Pintail are staring to show how splendid they really are.

Plenty of Bewick's Swan on the reserve too, though most of them are out on the Tack Piece and Dumbles, but this one was clearly resting up and bathing outside the Rushy hide.
Moving on down towards the Holden Tower, there wer 3 Common Crane feeding and beeing given a hard time by the Corvids.

A drake Pintail flies in, unfortunately the light could have been better - fairly grey all over by now.
From the Willow hode, we were entertained by a troop of small birds on the feeders as we waited for thr Water Rail to show. Long Tailed Tit
Female Reed Bunting

No show on the Water Rail and the hide was getting very busy so on to the next one. Curlew, Canada Goose and Teal together.
Suddenly up went the Lapwing with a flock of Golden Plover behind - unable to locate the source of panic.
On down to the Holden Tower and there sat out on the Dumbles is a possible cause for the previous panic - a Peregrine.
 On the Hawthorn directly in fromt of the hide - a Jackdaw.

Next a once in a lifetime shot - the Cranes that had been in the Tack Piece flew right in front of thr Holden Tower - this is actually an uncropped frame(-:).
They landed and began their noisy calling routine.
Not far away a flock of Wigeon were feeding
and more Bewick's moved out from the Tack Piece onto the Dumbles in response to the ebbing tide.

Up went everything again, mainly Golden Plover in these 2 shots

but the culprit was not the Peregrine, but a high flying Marsh Harrier.

More Bewick's moved onto the Dumbles as well

A pair of Dunlin arrived.

Another Jackdaw on the Hawthorn beneath the hide.
Then the Peregrine  and took off to the left of the hide where it was assaulted by a Raven (no pics unforunately) but then it dived , came over the top of the hide and rushed at everything on the Dumbles, without making a successfuls catch.

In the aftermath a drake Shoveler flew towards us
Retracing steps back up towards the reserve centre, there was plenty of birdlife on the Tack Piece still. Curlew moving close to the hides
as well as a large flock of Black Tailed Godwit, gradually making their way doen the piece.

More Curlew at close range
and another flying Godwit.
Drake wigeon taking off
and another drake Shoveler.
A Common Buzzard landed on one of the fence posts

and was immediatekly hassled by Corvids

Even closer Curlew
Thre of the Barnacle Geese also heading back out to the estuary edge as the tide receded even further.
Time to spend ten minutes or so waiting for the Water Rail to show at the Willow Hide

and a las look at the Tack Piece before leaving for another Bewick's swan arrival
and a preening drake Pochard.

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