Fretherne and Slimbridge

Sunday 29th April 2007
At Fretherne this morning, following the high tide, there was a good selection of waders and other birds to boost my year list. 69 Bar-tailed Godwits were on the flashes with two Knot, a Greenshank, a Spotted Redshank and a Little Ringed Plover. On the river, an Avocet, 20 Ringed Plover, 44 Dunlin, two Little Stints. Later, another flock of 41 Bar-tailed Godwits and six Knot flew up-river and circled the basin before flying off north-east. This gives a total number of Barwits seen of 110. Two Wheatears, a male and a female, were on the shore near the sluice, and a Yellow Wagtail flew over. The Barwit flock from the flashes flew on to the mud with the Knot as the tide receded allowing better views. Returning to the road from the sluice I heard a Lesser Whitethroat and a Whimbrel.

I then made for Slimbridge and arrived there at 9.40am. After booking myself on the morning safari, I checked out some of the hides. At South Lake a Common Sandpiper was feeding around the edge while other birds included eight Black-tailed Godwits. A Sedge Warbler and a Reed Warbler seemed to be competing for song-supremacy near the decoy. I watched another Reed Warbler at the Knott Hide for some time gathering reed-heads for nesting material (above), but no sign of a Spotted Flycatcher seen there earlier. I counted in total five Sedge Warblers and two Reed Warblers between the decoy and the Knott Hide. The Landrover safari (in the swish new trailer) was superb. The highlights were: two Glossy Ibises, four Little Egrets, several Reed Buntings, Sedge Warblers and Reed Warblers, a Hobby being nagged by Black-headed Gulls, a Mute Swan with cygnets and a Peregrine. Other wildlife included, a Hairy Dragonfly, a Large Red Damselfly, a Blue-tailed Damselfly and five Brown Hares. Many thanks to Martin for a thoroughly enjoyable couple of hours. Photos of Bar-tailed Godwits, Reed Warbler, Reed Bunting and Brown Hare: © Paul Masters).

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