Sunday 01 January – Slimbridge Leader: Di Bunniss

A group of approximately 25 met in the carpark for the traditional New Year visit to Slimbridge. We were fortunate with the weather, which stayed dry for the main part of the day. As we met up we were already seeing large flocks of Lapwing circling overhead, with their particular ‘floppy wing’ style, and flocks of Greylag Geese and Golden Plovers flying past heading for the lakes. Once on site most of the group headed for the northern hides, starting with the Peng Hide, where a Scaup was rumoured to be lurking among the Tufted Ducks. Here were many Bewick swans, some in family groups. After discussions about identifying Scaup we wandered between the hides, having terrific views over the lakes and marshes, where distant cranes were feeding. Golden Plovers and Lapwings were seen in their hundreds, Snipe hiding among the reeds and Ruff feeding along the water edges, among the Redshank, Godwits, Dunlin, Wigeon and Teal. From the Estuary Tower were excellent views of the Barnacle Geese, one Ross’s Goose and one Snow Goose. A distant Peregrine was settled on a tree stump. Each hide was sure to have a few club members inside, so always someone to share information, sightings and a chance to peer through a ‘scope. Hours later, the Scaup was still a subject of much debate and interest. Over 50 species were recorded. Thanks to everyone who made it such an enjoyable visit. Di Bunniss