Wednesday 01 January – Slimbridge Leader: Robin Prytherch

31 members raised their hand at the start of the meeting – a wonderful turn out. This did mean of course, that we were crammed into the new Estuary Tower (ex Holden Tower site) initially, but all seemed to be enjoying the views of a variety of species. The tide was out so there was not the hoped for pack of waders on the Dumbles. A few geese and swans were obvious; Mute and Bewick’s Swans and Greylag and White-fronted and Canada Geese. Then a Black-bellied Brent Goose was spotted in a distant flock of Brent Geese – a goose too far for some members! A Peregrine Falcon was well out on the edge of the Dumbles and a Buzzard much closer. It was obviously a predator that caused a flock of Lapwing and Golden Plover to pass overhead and we did eventually see the waders settle in the damp fields from the Zeiss and South Finger Hides, where we also saw Dunlin and a single Little Stint. By now most duck species had been seen – I noted Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, Shoveler, Pochard, Gadwall, Tufted Duck and Shelduck. Snipe and Water Rail were seen. A good selection of passerines included House Sparrow, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Chaffinch, Meadow Pipit, Dunnock, Robin, Wren, Mistle Thrush, Blackbird and others. The grand total was 51 species, so I’ve obviously missed out a few (i.e. Crane). It was a pleasant fine morning’s birding to set off the New Year. (Thanks to Robin for leading – Ed). Robin Prytherch