For many years, Spoonbill has being somewhat of a glaring omission from my British list, having missed 4 county birds in the last few years, including one by a painful 5 minutes, (meaning i would have been on site and walking to the hide when it flew through), and a further 5 in my journeys around the wider country.
However, a brief flypast of an adult Spoonbill back in May at Titchwell RSPB proved to me that these mythical creatures did actually exist, so, with slightly more optimism i headed down to Slimbridge WWT for the long staying bird with my curse now broken.
And it was straight to the South lake, and as soon as entering the hide, the stunner of an adult SPOONBILL greeted me towards the back of the lake perching on a stump. Initially asleep, it occasionally woke up, revealing the spatula of a bill that the bird possesses.
Still in partial summer plumage, the bird was obviously heavily moulting into its winter plumage. As you would expect for a species more accustomed to southern climates, the bird was irritated by the somewhat crap weather of the day, with heavy rain and cloud.
2 Ruff and a partial summer plumaged Golden Plover joined the 130c Black-tailed Godwit.
Hearing that the juvenile WOOD SANDPIPER was showing on the Rushy, we headed over there, where we hid in the hide from the worsening rain, but the Wood Sandpiper was indeed present with 5 Green Sandpiper.
After a check of the Zeiss Hide, where we saw the 8 Avocet, a Pintail, and the Wood Sandpiper flew in and joined us.
A scan from the Holden Tower revealed a adult DARK-BELLIED BRENT GOOSE, with 6 Ringed Plover, 10 Dunlin and 6 Common Tern, so then we moved to the Middle Point, with the rain having now ceased.
From here, following the heavy rain, we witnessed a period of vis-mig, and in 2 hours, a total of 42 WHIMBREL flew past the 'hide', all of them calling as they went, a few of the birds dropped down onto the mud briefly before continuing off south. Similarly, a juvenile MEDITERRANEAN GULL flew past us as it headed downriver, but this bird seemed to drop down onto the Saltmarsh. A party of Blackwit (40 birds) were on the estuary, before being flushed and flying off back towards the Center. 4 Little Egret were located out on the mud also, and with the growing number of Gulls, a juvenile YELLOW-LEGGED GULL was picked out on the edge of a sand bank.