Trip report: WWT Slimbridge (1st January 2012)

At least 23 members appeared in the car park (or later!). As we assembled a Peregrine rushed over us all, heading for a large flock of Lapwing and Golden Plover. We were soon on our way to the Holden Tower, some stopping at hides en route. It took some time to sift through all the birds on view of geese, ducks and waders.Some White-fronted Geese were ‘hiding’ amongst a Greylag flock. Canada Geese and Bewick’s Swans were scattered over the Tack Piece with a mix of Shelduck, Mallard, Pintail, Teal, Pochard, Tufted Duck and Shoveler, as well as about 50 Black-tailed Godwits, a mass of Dunlins, Lapwing and Golden Plover. A few Ruff and Redshank were also spotted. Eagle eyes picked out some Skylarks and Linnet. Two Peregrines were finishing off some prey out on the edge of the Dumbles where there was the usual flock of Barnacle Geese (and more Canadas) as well as more Dunlins and Golden Plovers. The waders and ducks were frequently rushing about in flocks – no doubt flushed by the Peregrines. Buzzards were about too but sitting quietly and giving good views. As we walked to the other hides the usual tits etc., were noted and also Snipe, Grey Heron, Sparrowhawk, Little and Great Crested Grebe and a full winged Manadarin Duck! (Sadly no Bittern.) In all 61 species were seen during a splendid morning’s walk in fine weather.

Robin Prytherch