Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Slimbridge and Herefordshire

I have been back to Hereford this week as I told you in my last post. I arranged to meet Mike Smith at Slimbridge WWT reserve in Gloucestershire, yesterday (mon 4th).

Mike informed that there wasn't a lot at Slimbridge yet but we were hopeful for something. Looking in at one hide we saw a Sparrowhawk sitting on a post across the scrape from us, unfortunately it was still quite foggy and the viewing windows in that hide are too small for long lenses so no pictures, but it was lovely to see. The next hide we visited was slightly better, there were Teal, Mallard, Shoveler, Black tailed Godwit, Mute Swan, Buzzard, Wood Pigeon, Greylag Goose, and a quick glimpse of a Water Rail.



I love the reflection of this one.


In this one the duck seems to be imitating the Swan in cleaning itself, I can just imagine it thinking to itself "will I ever be as handsome as the swan? "

After a quick coffee went to the South lake hide and saw, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Black Headed Gull, Jackdaw, Lapwing and a Kingfisher in addition to what we'd already seen.

Mike was correct, there wasn't the large numbers of Ducks, Geese and Swans that will hopefully be present in a month or so. So we cut short our time on the reserve to head off to another nearby location, but not before I'd snapped a close up Jackdaw at the restaurant.


Would you agree there is something quite stunning about the Jackdaw, I think it's in the eyes.

Leaving the reserve we had to wait for the canal bridge and mike spotted two Brown Rats, mooching about in the farmers yard area just to the right of the road we were on. Great views of them whilst we waited. They were in deep shade so no photos again, but I'll keep my eye out for them in future, I think Rats are fascinating critters, I don't like them but I admire their tenacity.

So a short drive to Frampton to look for a bird I've never seen was undertaken. Mike advised me that the target bird may have moved on so he suggested a walk with the bino's might be the best first option. We were lucky. The birds we'd come to see were Black Terns and there were a pair of them flying about and resting on bouys on the water. It was fascinating and thrilling to see birds I'd never seen before quite close up. Too far for decent pictures but great through the bino's. On a couple of occasions they flew close enough to see, in detail, with the naked eye and I wished then we'd had the cameras but in all honesty they fly so quickly and acrobatically that I doubt I'd have been able to keep up and lock on with the lens. I can add another life time first to this years list.

A very enjoyable time spent with Mike soon came to an end and we said our farewells. Thanks Mike!

Driving back to Hereford I happened across a Kestrel sitting on a telegraph pole. it was in the area of Weston Under Penyard, on the outskirts of Ross on Wye. I stopped the car and got the camera out of the boot. I was a bit surprised it didn't fly away. I got a shot of it.

and i was very pleased with it too, However when I zoomed in on the camera I could see what I thought was blood on it's beak and it didn't look right.

So I waited and when it turned it's head I got another shot.

this time I could see that it wasn't right. I again zoomed in on the pic.

Clearly this poor thing had been in the wars, could it have been done by another Kestrel? Could it have picked on prey that fought back? I'll never know, but I don't fancy it's chances of surviving a harsh winter with only one good eye. Nature at its cruelest perhaps.

A good day, nice to be back on my old patch.