Tuesday 02 December – Slimbridge

 The Tuesday walkers started out as a group of 25 people but soon split into threes and fours as we worked our way around the site. There was plenty to see on the Tack Piece, including about 50 Bewick’s Swans although the main winter flock had clearly not yet arrived. Amongst plenty of Curlews and Redshanks, six very distant Ruffs could be discerned but I don’t think anyone located the 4 Little Stints that were also supposed to be present. Dabbling ducks were well represented in big numbers, but one of the best sightings was of three Cranes, clearly colour-ringed so returnees from the Somerset Levels introduction but still a beautiful sight. A Peregrine regularly stirred up the thousands of Lapwings, Dunlins and Golden Plovers. We looked through hundreds of feral Greylags and Barnacles to pick out about 47 White-fronted Geese – the genuine winter visitors. Sadly, a comprehensive search of the huge Teal flock from the Zeiss Hide failed to uncover the reported Green-winged Teal. Strolling on around the other hides, we noted 41 species in total including Skylark, Reed Bunting and Great Spotted Woodpecker, ending up with 90 Black-tailed Godwits on the South Lake. I suspect that Mark’s final list held a better species count than that. Many thanks to Mark Watson for leading a most enjoyable morning. Jane Cumming