A Day at Slimbridge

26th January 2014
Fed up with the gloom and slim pickings around my local patch I decided to head off down to Slimbridge for the day - a number of years since I was down there and the recent sightings logs sounded positive.

Ignoring the central 'zoo' I headed for the hides - lovely to see the exotic species on site and much valuable work is done there, but I admit to having no real desire to photograph Flamingo in Gloucestershire! The weather was bright (for the first part of the day anyway) although a gale was blowing through the windows in the Holden Tower overlooking the fields and Severn Estuary.

Sometimes the camera cannot do justice to the spectacle and this was one such occasion - impossible to fit the 3000+ Golden Plover and 6000+ Lapwing into the frame so these images represent only a small portion of the birds on the marsh

Compared to other WWT reserves, such as Martin Mere and Caerlaverock, there are only small numbers of Geese around - a small flock of Barnacle and a single Brent with a good number of White-Fronted

Slimbridge is particularly famous for its Bewicks (note in the most up to date Collins this is now called a Tundra Swan - eh?) and they were showing beautifully

One of the hides in particular gets you not far above water level in one of the flooded fields and this makes a hell of a difference to the shots you can take. Never seen so many Pochard in one place (just look at that eye!) but I particularly like the image of the Pintail below

So to the main event! Many of you will have seen or heard about the programme they run for the breeding and reintroduction of the Crane to the local environment. I didn't expect to see these gorgeous birds at such close quarters - the first fly-past at the Holden Tower being too close for the big lens to fit the full bird into the frame - so was delighted to manage the following shots

A great day out, finished off with a spectacular lightning show in Gloucester on my way home - it will not be as long before I return!


Photo comment By Phil Owen: Great stuff Mark Crane in flight is a great shot!
Photo comment By tom richards: What absolutely beautiful pictures.I love the one of the tufted duck. Gosh, I'd love to see one of those magnificent cranes. Thank you.
Photo comment By Eryl Selly: Very good set Mark given the time of year. I was down there recently a couple of times and always enjoy it especially, as you say, the spectacle of the waders flying together.
Photo comment By Edward Cottell: Cracking stuff Mark, enjoyable read and gorgeous pictures as always. I agree its a bit dull back home birdwise, having said that, I bet the Bittern shows itself now!
Photo comment By Noel: Just love the pics,many years since I was at slim ridge,love the cranes.

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