Monday, 18 March 2013

Slimbridge birding

With the winter drawing to and end now, and with a few winter specialties having turned up, we decided a trip down to Slimbridge was in order. It was straight to the Holden Tower and i was soon scanning the Goose flock. And it didnt take to long to spot this.

A adult Gypo (Egyptian) Goose feeding out on the dumbles with the White Fronts and Barnacles. Infact, it is the first Egyptian Goose i have seen 'in the wild'. It held my attention for around 10 seconds before i started to look for some of the other Geese. A small pan to the left got me onto a large orange legged Goose within the flock. And i was soon watching the 1st winter BEAN GOOSE. There are 4 species in the picture below, can you pick them all out and name them? (I could have quite easily got 6 had i raised the camera earlier)

I continued scanning, and i picked up the other 2 BEAN GEESE, both adults, and we were treated to decent views of the birds within the 221 strong White-Fronted Goose flock.

The usual array of species was present from here, including Bewick Swan, Pintail, Wigeon representing the majority of the ducks. Waders also were well represented with OYC, 400c Golden Plover (including a few in almost summer plumage). 1500c Lapwing, 700c Dunlin, 30c Redshank, a few Black-tailed Godwit and Ruff, and a load of Curlew out on the estuary. A single Little Egret was showing in the channels.

We then headed over to the Zeiss hide, via both the Rushy Pen and the South lake. A nice flock of Redshank were showing in the Rushy, including a couple which approached the hide fairly closely.

The small flock of Teal was also showing well in the sun.

Similarly, so were a few BlackWits on South lake.

Also on south lake was this stunning flock of 9 Ruff

While walking past one of the 'plastic' exhibits. i spotted a BHG with a leg ring, and upon reading it through my scope i realised i was watching an old friend. BHG 2P33. It turns out i have seen this bird twice before, at Upton Warren in the roost, and most recently, also at Slimbridge back in January 2012.

We had hoped the Bittern would show from the Zeiss hide, but for about the 8th time we drew a blank. We were however greeted by the sight of 4 Common Crane from the GCP reintroduction program  It would be great if these birds were able to colonise the area, as they looked so 'right' in the habitat. One day.

2 Cetti's Warbler were showing in the reeds adjacent to the hide, and we were treated to great if ever so brief views of a rung male as it perched on a reed stem on the edge. A Little Egret was seen distanly from here, and also the Kingfisher hide.
As we walked back, this Grey Heron was showing very well in the stream, despite the hundereds of screaming children only metres away!

We then decided to head down to the 'Severn Beach' area, in the hope of seeing some Owls. We first dropped into Aust Warth in the hope of picking up an early flyer, but non were out, so we quickly headed to New Passage in the hope of a few waders, but other than a few Redshank and a small flock of Dunlin there was little about.
We moved back to Aust, and stayed until dark looking for the Owls, with absolutly no sign of any, despite there being both Barn and Short Eared being seen on both days before and after the 18th.

I was even more annoyed when news emerged late evening of 4 Twite whcih had been present at the top end of the road we were on looking for the Owls, and not a single birder mentioned them being present there.

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