Friday 01 January – Slimbridge

We had a lucky break in the weather which was generally fine until the end, when rain arrived. Allowing for early arrivals and late-comers 30 members gathered for the walk. We trooped off to the Holden Tower and hides adjacent to the Tack piece to enjoy the ‘feast’ of birds before us. A large flock of Lapwings and Golden Plover were frequently ‘spooked’ and, sure enough, a Peregrine was soon seen out on the edge of the Dumbles. It must have been responsible for the flights. Other waders included Black-tailed Godwits, Curlew, Redshank and Dunlin. A few Ruff were present too, but more difficult to pin down. A small flock of White-fronted Geese were spread out beyond the waders and ducks (see below) and we managed to sort out the few Greenland race amongst them. There was also a scattering of Canada, Greylag and Barnacle Geese as well as Bewick’s Swans. Ducks included Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, Shoveler, Pintail, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Pochard and we also found the three Scaup outside Peter Scott’s House! Before that a lovely Sparrowhawk gave prolonged views as it sat on a fence post just below the tower. It was, no doubt, looking for lesser fry and we did encounter a number of passerines – Blue and Great Tits, Robin, Wren, Pied and Grey Wagtail, Dunnock, Starling, Goldfinch and Chaffinch. Other notables included Little and Great Crested Grebe, Little Egret and Grey Heron, Water Rail, Cetti’s Warbler and Great Spotted Woodpecker. Oh, and I almost forgot – Buzzard! I’ve mentioned only about two-thirds of the 60 species noted. A splendid start to the year! Thanks to Judy Copeland for organising the lunch and I usually get thanked for leading, although I am often the one who is led! Robin Prytherch