Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Slimbridge visit (21.1.12)

I arrived at 9:30 on the dot and walked straight through using my membership card. I, as usual, went to the Rushy first where Bewick Swans, Pintails, Shelducks, Tufted Ducks, Mallards, Woodpigeons and Shoveler ducks all sat quietly without too much commotion but then about ten Canada Geese flew in and disturbed the peace. I was keen to move on to the Robbie Garlett Hide as I’d heard there was a great view of the Female Lesser Scaup. Having failed twice before to see it I was frustrated when I couldn’t find it. There were so many Tufted Ducks that it was hard to see it. Also there were hundreds of Wigeon, about 30 Pintails, about 30 Tufted Ducks, 20 or so Mallards, Canada Geese, at least 1000 Lapwings and mixed in with the Lapwings were Ruff, Golden Plover and Sandpipers. Golden Plovers and Ruff being a new species for me!! Redshanks appeared to be feeding from the edge of a pool. There were about 15 redshanks around the pool. After I moved on to the Holden tower where I saw more Lapwings, Wigeon, Canada Geese. I saw the White Fronted Geese and the two Egyptian Geese these two types of geese also being a new species to me. By this time I was very excited!! I went from the windswept Holden Tower to the quite Stephen Kirk Hide or so we thought, within 2 minutes of getting inside the Lapwings and other Waders all took off and did the most amazing displays thousands of birds flying over the top of us. I half ran from the Stephen Kirk hide to the Robbie Garnett hide where we got a better view of the displaying birds. After checking out the “displayers” I looked down onto the Tack piece where about 100 barnacle geese stood with ten Swans. Then a bird flew in. I had no idea what type of bird it was but after looking in my Collins Bird Guide, I came to the conclusion that it was a Snow Goose!! It was amazing but after asking Warden James Lees I was slightly disappointed that in fact it was Canada Goose with a pigment problem!! The day slowed down after that excitement but I paid a visit to the Zeiss Hide. On the way to the Hide there was a Bullfinch perched in the tree. It was very beautiful. Lots of waders stood around not really doing much. No sign of the Bittern as it was only 11am. As I walked back I could see the Lapwings flying around again so I decided to go back to the Robbie Garnett hide were amazingly the Lesser Scaup was swimming very close to the hide. I was very happy to finally see it.

Best Hide
The best was the Robbie Garlett Hide due to its amazing Lapwings and Lesser Scaup. The Holden Tower was better than usual offering more birds such as White Fronted Geese.

Best Moment
The best moment was seeing the Lesser Scaup because I was searching every female Tufted Duck to see if it had a tuft and finally I came across one that didn’t have tuft.

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