Bewick's Swans are Britain's smallest Swan and migrate from their Arctic breeding grounds between October-November. They return between March-April. In the UK, they are found mainly in eastern England, around the Severn estuary and in Lancashire with concentrations at the Ouse and Nene Washes (Cambridgeshire), Martin Mere (Lancashire) and Slimbridge (Gloucestershire).
On today's visit there were 207 Bewick's Swans present with good numbers being seen at The Rushy. Also seen at this part of the reserve were a single Pink-footed Goose, many Greylag Geese, large numbers of Pintails, Pochards, Tufted Ducks, Shellducks and small numbers of Teal. One drake Pochard was seen that had been tagged with a sky blue nasal saddle and the alpha numeric code read 'C='.
A Water Rail was seen by the feeders opposite the Robbie Garnett hide. c.100 Barnacle Geese were seen at Tack Piece and 35 Dunlin flew out towards the estuary whilst we were there. A number of White-fronted Geese were seen in the field behind Tack Piece.
Things were pretty quiet at the Holden tower with the only birds of note being 15 Dunlin that flew past.
The South lake held 2 adult Common Gulls, 2 Herring Gulls (1 adult) and c.200 Black-headed Gulls. Also seen here were a number of Gadwall and a Great Crested grebe.
C.400 Wigeon and c.70 Lapwing were seen from the Kingfisher hide. 4 Common Buzzards were seen from the Zeiss hide.
All in all, not a bad day out. It was worth visiting to see the Bewick's Swans and the large numbers of Pintails (you don't get a much smarter looking bird than a drake Pintail!). Although if I were to moan it would be about the price of admission. I think that £9.75 per adult is extortionate! I could also live without the ornamental collections of wing clipped birds there but I guess it brings in the kids/families...but with all the extra income that the zoo (sorry wildfowl collections) generate they could lower the entry fee. And please don't post that its expensive to feed the wild swans etc..at £5 per adult there would still be enough money with the amount of visitors they get. Sorry...rant over ;-)
Bewick's Swan - Slimbridge, 15th Dec 2010:
Pink-footed goose - Slimbridge, 15th dec 2010:
Pochard (with nasal saddle) - Slimbridge, 15th Dec 2010:
Common Gull - Slimbridge, 15th December 2010: