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Bewick’s Swans, Slimbridge

Bewick’s Swan

No Wilson’s phalarope for the assembled faithful this morning. Plenty of dunlin and golden plover from the Zeiss Hide and even a couple of black-tailed godwits, discernible through the murk. Enough to keep me occupied for an hour before the murk turned to the forecast rain and I scurried back to the Visitor Centre for coffee number two.

Happily, Bewick’s swans were back to complete the set for the year. Mute swans are ever present and I had already caught up with whoopers at Martin Mere. It’s good to have the entire family gathered for Christmas. Later, a distant party of white-fronted geese from the Holden Tower took me up to my 660th species in the list for the last twelve months. Can it get any better? If I haul ass over to Norfolk next week, it may. Otherwise, as of Monday week attrition from the Australia trip kicks in – one bird that day; half a dozen the next; and so on.

But enough of me. What about the Bewick’s? Our smallest swan, but still larger than Canada goose, it’s only on the Amber List. Only? My God, a relative success story. Actually, this means that Europe has decided the species is of some concern and we get a big proportion of the wintering population but split between few sites. It’ll only take a meltdown at Berkeley to do for the WWT Slimbridge birds; but, hey, who’ll be worrying about a bunch of feathers in that event?

(It’s OK: I know Berkeley’s been decommissioned; but you get the general idea?)

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