Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Slimbridge visit 16/1/15 Avocets, Cranes and a Ruddy Shelduck

The promise of a beautiful blue sky sunny day prompted an early start for a visit to Slimbridge and what a fantastic day it turned out to be. Although cold there was no wind for a change and the slight warmth of the sun a reminder that Spring is around the corner.
We set off down the track towards the Holden Tower stopping off at the various hides along the way.  Some great numbers of birds out on the fields - ducks, swans, geese and waders. All of these put up in the air to great flocks now and again by perhaps a hunting raptor. The calls from the many Wigeon and Teal is amazing as is the haunting call from the Bewick's, beautiful!
The highlight of the day had to be at the 'Willow Hide' where we were hoping to get a glance of a Water Rail. No Water Rail here but out of nowhere a stunning Sparrowhawk swooped in making all other birds dive for cover. The Sparrowhawk stayed for no more than 10 seconds then flew off again. What a moment though!
As always Slimbridge is a wonderful place to walk around and the hides are brilliant to watch and observe the many wild birds that visit. Our total for the day was 50 species including a Peregrine, Sparrowhawk, Barnacle Geese, Cranes, Snipe, Avocets, Black Tailed Godwits, Golden Plover, Wigeon, Teal, Curlew, Redshanks, Dunlin, Lapwing, Water Rail and a single Ruddy Shelduck an escapee or wild?

    Bewick's Swans - they have a wonderful haunting call

                  Teal - the fields are full of them. Great colours on this little duck

    Black Tailed Godwits and Lapwings - quite flighty at times maybe due to a predator fly past

                    Spring is on the way!

   Sparrowhawk - what an eye, what a look!

   Golden Plover flock - fantastic when the light hits their colours

                    The awesome Cranes coming in from the fields to Slimbridge

   Greylag Geese - always quite vocal geese.

                   Avocets a long way off but a nice surprise to see this lovely elegant bird

    The elusive Water Rail - such a pleasure to watch and observe this reclusive bird

                   Water Rail - great colours and markings

   Bewick's Swans

                   Shelduck splash!

   Female Mallard - beautiful

                   Ruddy Shelduck - truly wild or an escapee?

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