Wednesday, 28 December 2011

My First Bittern

A dry day, a Christmas family day out. Cameras, Scopes, Binoculars & Warm waterproofs packed. Sat Nav programmed for Slimbridge WWT, A quick flick around the collection of ornamental birds and plenty of ducking a diving at the hoards of incoming Geese.

Incoming Greylags

And off towards the Kingfisher Hide, a quick pit-stop in the Van De BovenKamp Hide as the majority of foot traffic where headed towards the more exciting Kingfisher Hide, was well worth the stop, as after around 5 minutes of scanning the edges of various reed beds, my first ever Bittern spotted skulking along the edge of the water 100 yards from the hide, Magical! Interesting to see the Mallard on the water mirroring the Bittern as it stalked its way along the waters edge to a thick clump of reeds. Showing for a good 10minutes, Not the best photos, but definitely clear enough to tell what it is. Well worth the trip!

The Kingfisher hide didn't show any Kingfishers, but a good outlook over the water meadows showed a lot of Curlew in the distance, the Bird feeders hanging from the nearby trees, had Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch and regular visits of scavenging Jackdaws a few sitting still long enough for me to shoot of a couple of pics.

Blue Tit

After parting with a small fortune for a Baguette in the Restaurant we got down to some serious Wildfowl watching, first stop over looking the Tack Piece, the Martin Smith Hide giving any visitor and serious birder a pretty breathless first glance. Ducks, Geese, Swans as far as the eye can see, Hundreds, Thousands all feeding on the flooded water meadows. Wigeon, European White Fronted Geese, Goldeneye, Pintail, Pochard, Bewicks Swans, Mallard, Common Teal, Tufted Duck, Redshank, Dunlin and Lapwing all mixing together.

Feeding Wigeon

Just A Small Number Of The Feeding Wildfowl
A Huge flock of Golden Plover fed on the far side of the water meadow often rising and re-settling again, getting us all excited in the hope of a Peregrine zooming through the middle of them, no birds of prey unfortunately other than two rather sedate Buzzards perched on matching fence posts. Also spotted on the Tack Piece a good view of a pair of Lesser Scaup a somewhat rarity for the country.
Common Teal
View Of The Tack Piece
Golden Plover
Golden Plover
A final stop at the Rushy Hide, gave some great views of drake Pintails, and a female Goldeneye.

Female Goldeneye 

Drake Pintail
So all in all a good day, with a couple of firsts the Bittern, Pintail & Lesser Scaup. And seeing thousands of wintering birds on the Tack Piece something I wont forget in a hurry. Definitely worth the trip!

Happy New Year Everyone!

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