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Sunday, 29 January 2012

Slimbridge Away Day 28th January

At this time of year, with birding limited to weekends, it is easy to get a little stale with what is about on the immediate doorstep, so a little trip 50 or miles down the M5 to Slimbridge would hopefully provide a little more variety, and bolster the old year list.
First though, I made a detour to pick up fellow birder and Albion supporter Jason K, Shenstone Birder, finding him at his preferred winter Pitch.
First port of call was the Rushy Hide. Bewick Swans ( allways a pleasure), including the juveniles were present in good number's and the were plenty of stunningly smart male Pintails to admire. A Redshank was present to, completing a trio of year ticks in quick succession. We enjoyed the bird fest for 30 minutes or so, which included Shelduck, Teal and Pochard at close quarter.

Drake Pintail

One of the days highlights came next,  getting decent views of Golden Plover, which I had never really managed, and seeing them go up, twisting and turning in their hundreds was very special. The Martin Smith Hide also gave up Wigeon, White Fronted Goose and Dunlin to the year list, the latter of which, like the Plover, was well represented.

Drake Wigeon
At the next hide, Jase picked up on a pair of tree dwelling Peregrines, an unexpected raptor bonus.
My least favourite hide is the Holden Tower. From here, of note were a dozen or so o Great Black Backed Gulls, Barnacle Geese and an Oystercatcher.
Whilst watching Black Tailed Godwitts at the Zeiss Hide, the Bittern emerged, providing another highlight, as it had been over a year (8th Jan 2011) since I had last seen one at Upton. After enjoying the bird we extricated ourselves from the minor scrum to see it, and headed for the South Lake Hide, where Gadwall was added to my year list.
 We were unable to connect with the Lesser Scaup, or any Grey Plover, so no lifers today, but with 13 year additions, and some quality views I was well satisfied with the return from my visit.
Bewick Swan, Marvellous !!


  1. It was a good day, thanks again for inviting me Mark.

    P.s. That Bewicks photo is a stunner!

  2. Pleasure, would have missed a few too without ya !