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13th September 2020 – WWT Slimbridge

We have had friends staying with us this weekend and, having shown them the delights of birding on the Severn Estuary yesterday, today we accompanied them, as they drove north, for a morning visit to WWT Slimbridge further up the Severn Estuary. This may sound rather selfish but as it was them that introduced us to birding it isn’t as cruel as it may seem.

We only visited a few hides but there was plenty to see (and photograph) . There was a particularly spectacular moment when a sparrowhawk made a kill immediately in front of us and, although partially obscured by the vegetation, stayed and devoured its prey. At the same moment we were distracted too by a kingfisher flying right in front of the hide.

Apart from this the highlights were a crane in the distance, some snipe, a little egret, a black-tailed godwit in wonderful light, a flypast greylag goose, a shoveler and a Chiloe Wigeon hybrid in eclipse plumage showing its wonderful colours.

The sun was bringing out the butterflies but I only manged a photo of a peacock butterfly just as we were leaving.

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12th September 2020 – Severn Estuary

Such is the attraction of seeing the migrant waders on the Severn Estuary that this was our third visit to New Passage in a just over a week; and today the sun shone and we had a much better view of them.

I still have difficulty in differentiating between them all but now I can easily identify the stars for me – the curlew sandpipers, of which their were half a dozen or so. With the help of a more knowledgeable local birder I was also able to spot a pair of sanderlings among the dunlins, knots, and ringed plovers. There were also plenty of turnstones which, once you could see through their camouflage, were easier to identify as they kept apart from the others.

Sanderling standing out from the crowd
Size is the key to sorting out the knots
This curlew sandpiper came and posed in front of me
Ringed plover moving right
Flypast turnstone
Turnstone not being very sociable
A standout ringed plover with a flock of waders
A lone starling wanting to join the party