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29th July 2020 – WWT Slimbridge

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This was our first visit to WWT Slimbridge since the lock down. Even though we have  memberships to the Wetland Centre we had to book tickets online, as numbers of visitors are restricted. We foolishly arrived at a time when most families manage to get their children organised and out of the house and had to queue (with two metre gaps) for half an hour. Looking at the length of the queue when we arrived I had anticipated longer and so the wait was not too painful.

As soon as we were in the Centre we made our way to the hides along the estuary walk, leaving all the crowds behind. There were restrictions on the number of people who could go in to the hides but this was never a problem as there were very few people wishing to visit these hides.

I had seen reports of spotted redshank but we could not see any. There were lots of black-tailed godwits and a few greenshank. I also discovered, when editing my photos, that there were dunlin too.

DSC08017Goldfinch regularly appeared in front of the hide

DSC07927Black tailed godwit in flight

DSC07900Dunlin tucked in among the black tailed godwits (centre right)

DSC07901A lapwing and a greenshank

DSC08272-2Black tailed godwit

DSC08361-2Redshank

DSC08302Lapwing

DSC08289Something spooked a large flock of greylag geese (but most of them flew between me and the sun).

DSC08217Black tailed godwit in flight

DSC08083Grey heron in flight

DSC08093Barn swallow

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DSC08387Black tailed godwits and reflections

From the new estuary hide we could see nothing except common crane. A few years ago these would have been a major rarity but nowadays they are often here.

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DSC08129-2Common crane on holiday from the Somerset Levels

It was quite warm in the sun but the sunny periods were infrequent and we both felt quite chilly at times; so we avoided the crowds and restricted our visit to just a couple of hours. Just as well with the number of photos I took in that time.

 

 

 

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25th July 2020 – Pembrokeshire, Wales

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I think it would be appropriate to refer to this blog as accidental bird watching in Pembrokeshire. We have spent the last week on holiday on the coast of West Wales where our main focus has been to entertain two youngsters.

Whilst walking coastal paths, spending a lot of time on beaches and exploring estuaries I couldn’t resist taking a few nature photos. I was especially pleased to see a family of choughs which, in the UK, are best seen in Cornwall and Pembrokeshire.

On the estuary by our holiday cottage we saw redshank, a common sandpiper,  little egrets and a buzzard.

DSC07807Redshank

DSC07106Common sandpiper

DSC07274Little egret

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DSC07087Buzzard

Along the coastal path, with good views of the nearby islands including the island of Skomer, famous for its puffins but currently closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we saw the choughs and two kestrels with chicks.

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DSC02070Chough

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DSC02009Kestrel

In the car park at Carew Castle a thrush and a robin posed nicely for me.

DSC07397Carew Castle

DSC07405Thrush

DSC07400Robin

At Martin Haven a seal seemed as curious about us as we were about it.

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Everywhere there were barn swallows.

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DSC01770Barn swallows

… and house sparrows.

DSC02095House sparrow

My last photo I’m not too sure about but think it could be a sedge warbler.

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