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7th February 2022 – Chew Valley Lake, North Somerset

Another very mild day for February. We spent the morning at Chew Valley Lake where, as well as a good cup of coffee at Woodford Lodge, we were able to see birds on the lake from the road and from a hide (Stratford) to which I could drive.

The view from the Stratford hide
The view from Herriots Bridge with great white egret, a grey heron and cormorants on the far bank

The sun shone briefly to give us some nice views of the lake. Most of the wildfowl were in the middle of the lake but we could make out large flocks of tufted ducks, pochard and lapwings.

Canada geese and lapwings from the Stratford hide. I think the carcass may well have been a Canada goose by the size of it.
Pochard at the back with tufted ducks in front of this large flock of wildfowl

There was also one small group of tufted ducks which were combined with goldeneye.

Lapwings in flight
Tufted ducks
A male goldeneye on the left at the back with females in front and mixed in with the tufted ducks

Slideshow of this morning’s photos:

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4th February 2022 – WWT Slimbridge

I have to concede that the injury to my Achilles’ tendon (which is now booted 24/7) is causing me great frustration, especially as I have been unable to get out and savour the joys of nature on which I have become more and more reliant.

In January and the beginning of February, in this part of the country, we have had a number of sunny and relatively mild days . Thankfully, yesterday I managed to enjoy one of them at one of the UK’s finest wetland centres, WWT Slimbridge. I only managed to get to the first two hides but I saw enough there to alleviate my frustrations.

This week it was World Wetlands Day, “which is celebrated annually on 2 February and aims to raise global awareness about the vital role of wetlands for people and planet. A call to take action for wetlands is the focus of this years’ campaign. It’s an appeal to invest financial, human and political capital to save the world’s wetlands from disappearing and to restore those we have degraded. 2 February 2022 is the first year that World Wetlands Day will be observed as a United Nations international day” – (extract from the linked website which is well worth having a look at.)

The wetlands teeming with wildfowl and waders

The first bird we saw on the Rushy lake was an avocet, the iconic emblem of the RSPB. In fact this was the only one we saw on our visit.

Avocet

From this first hide you get really good close-ups of the birds and is generally a good place to get photos of birds in flight or on the water.

Lapwing
Common teal
Shelduck
Wigeon
Bewick swan
Mute swan

From the next hide you have good views over the wetlands which are pretty spectacular when all the birds are feeding but amazing when something spooks them and the large flocks take to the air.

Golden plover
Wigeon taking to the air with lapwing in the foreground and a common crane behind
Mixed flock
Mainly wigeon in the middle of the image
Swans, shelduck, two common cranes and greylag geese at the back
Mainly golden plover in the air
Northern pintail – definitely one of my favourites
I just couldn’t get this northern shoveler to face me

The first signs of spring were most evident too.