Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Another day out

Not too far from where we live is the Slimbridge Wetlands and Wildfowl Trust and in July we thought it would be a good idea to pay a visit taking a friend along who is keen on bird life.
The area has been a wildlife trust for many years, founded in 1946 by Sir Peter Scott, the son of the Artic explorer captain Scott. The trust has been open to the public since it was first founded.

The Better Half (TBH) grew up in the same area and has visited Slimbridge as long as she can remember and I had also been there long before we met, so it is a familiar place for both of us.

On the way we cross Minchinhampton Common where it is traditional for the local farmers to summer their cows, so there are often cows wandering around, but are usually not a problem but this day, there was a traffic jam resulting from more cows than we had ever seen there ambling across one of the road junctions where two intersecting roads cross the common.

After this brief holdup, we duly arrived at Slimbridge. To get to the wetlands, you have to cross the canal and there is a swing bridge which is opened for boats to go through every now and then which halts the road traffic for a short while. Since this is fairly infrequent, I got out of the car and placed myself in a position where I could photograph the boats going through. Just by the side of the bridge a swan had made a nest and there were a number of signets sitting on the nest.

The Slimbridge site is huge and it is not possible to walk everywhere on one visit, without hurrying past most of the different areas, so this time we decided to go to some of the more distant parts of the wetlands where we have not often been. We wanted to see if we could see some of the rarer species that can be found there.

From the hides we were able to see many waterfowl and at one point saw some avocets which please our friend immensely, since they are hard to find away from a place like Slimbridge.

Further on we saw a large bird in the distance and realised it was a crane.

Moving to a higher level in the multi-story hide, we soon spotted two more. These birds have only recently been re-introduced into the UK and are slowly spreading across the natural wetlands.

 We were seeing three and after wading around for a while they took off and flew out of sight.

There is a hide at the end of a long path which is for watching kingfishers, but although we stayed for a while, much to the relief of my feet, we did not see any.
We then wandered through the main visitor area and looked the various less timid birds that were looking for food from the visitors or finding their own in the ponds and waterways that have been provided in the grounds.
There were still a number of chicks around with their mothers, still looking cute and fluffy

A Moorhen and her chick.  The chicks always have extraordinarily long feet for their size

Some flamingos from the West Indies, not usually found in the wild in the UK, but part of the preservation work

Another imported species

And the otters
After our visit, we had booked a table at the Tudor restraint, where we have been several times when in the area because it is a good place to eat and after a meal, we returned home.

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