Slimbridge Catches Up with Chew

Green Sandpiper

Another big white waterbird put the Wetlands Centre list on 105 species and equal footing with the Lake. (For me of course. The grand totals must be twice that size, more… I wonder what the figures are.) Anyway a couple of hours on my way to guaranteed year birds at Upton Warren gave me some bonuses for the 2011 tally.

These did not include the lesser scaup I was trying for again. In fact the Rushy Pen was quite empty and it wasn’t until I’d worked my way round to the Zeiss hide that the action started. A big flock of black-tailed godwits and a pair of lingering pintail were easy to find. It took a second scan of the South Finger lagoons to reveal a little egret tucked into the reeds. Apart from being new for Slimbridge it was also new for the year, and oddly not before great white egret, seen at Westhay in January.

An hour up the M5 added more to the 2011 list than just the Upton avocets and little plovers I was expecting. The latter did also put on a nice mating display – not the usual “wham bam, thank you ma’am” but quite a performance. There was to be no mating yet in the third of the year species as they were on their way to their bonking grounds in Scandinavia and Russia. Before departing on that last leg of their journey, a few green sandpipers were feeding up on the margins of the Flashes.

Wednesday saw two other migrants in at Sand Point with a swallow and one house martin. A male stonechat completed an agreeable afternoon there on the Somerset coast.

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