With Andy as duty chauffeur we decided on Mid-point, Slimbridge WWT, for the high tide. News of a Baltic Gull first thing spurred us on. On the way to the river we checked Robbie Garnett hide to find a Green Sandpiper. At the river, the Baltic Gull, seen by James Lees, had long since disappeared by the time we got there, as had two Brent Geese. Still, it was an excellent morning, if a little slow at first, not to mention freezing, the initial boredom being relieved by a Yellow Wagtail, seven Oystercatchers, the resident Great Skua, a Little Egret, a Whimbrel, a Raven and several singing male Reed Buntings. The object of my desire eventually arrived, a dark-phase Arctic Skua, which flew straight upriver. Later, a summer-plumaged Turnstone flew by, also upriver. Then Mike spotted four distant black dots floating up, this was another great bonus in the form of four Common Scoters (3m, 1f), a county tick for me. Before leaving the river seven Swifts flew past. After walking back past the Holden Tower, we checked the halfway hides again, this time to find a Greenshank, two Green Sandpipers, two Oystercatchers and a Little Egret. On the way home, a stop at the sailing lake at Frampton produced two Common Terns.
This afternoon I went to Daneway with Linda for a walk around the beautiful Siccaridge Wood and to see the wild Lily-of-the-Valley, which was a superb sight and heavenly scent. While admiring the sight, a Tawny Owl was calling nearby, and later a Grey Wagtail was in one of the old lock beds along the disused Thames and Severn canal. At Frampton Mansell, a Little Grebe was sitting on it's nest. Butterflies along the way included Orange-tip, Peacock, Speckled Wood and Brimstone. (photos of Reed Bunting, Greenshank, Lily-of-the-Valley and Grey Wagtail: © Paul Masters)