Another brilliant day at Slimbridge WWT.  The road in was somewhat choked by heavy traffic which we realised must be caused by a carnival we had seen advertised the previous day.  We followed a long line of cars, pedestrians, including some in wheelchairs, and even an aged tractor driven by a man in a large straw hat, as we slowly made our way towards the Wetlands site. 

To get there you have to cross a lovely newish bridge over the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal, where several boats are moored.



What became apparent, thankfully, was that the multitude of vehicles and people walking along the road were heading for the carnival, held in a field next to the Wetlands centre, rather than the centre itself.  Although, being a Saturday, there were considerably more visitors there than the day before.

It’s no wonder really, because there is so much for all the family, as well as for the usual birders with their gigantic lenses and tripods.  There is a magnificent purpose built playground for toddlers and another area with swings and sandpit further round the site.

And, of course, there are the birds.  Although there are thirteen hides in all, we only had time to go into a handful.  From these distant waders were to be seen, but powerful binoculars were needed and these we don’t have, so we didn’t linger long.  Photography is more our thing, and that is the big advantage of the large areas where birds, both resident and wild, gather – especially at feeding time when their usual diet of water creatures and vegetation is supplemented by special pellets spread into large containers.  Birds at Slimbridge are given a perfect life and their every need is catered for with space to roam and expert care.

Everywhere you go there are species you haven’t seen before and there is even a tropical house where temperatures are kept at a perfect level for the exotics seen in there.  It was too hot for me and, although interesting, we preferred the more natural surroundings outside.

Grey-winged Trumpeter




Inevitably, of course, our path eventually led to the flamingoes and in particular the, once again, sunlit area where the Greater flamingoes lived.

Panic once more ensued when a flock of gulls flew over.



This one was surely the politician or perhaps the teacher, or even priest, exhorting his audience to action.

I think I could spend hours watching this fascinating bird and, of course, their “hangers-on”, mostly today a crowd of Whistling ducks, one of our favourites. 

There’s something about these upright ducks that amuses us hugely.  They’re as bright as a button and always in the thick of it.  There are many variations but the White-faced Whistling duck is definitely the cutest.

An unusual and fairly weird bird is the Crested Screamer, obviously so called because of its distinctive call, but these two were quietly snuggled up together and reminded me of the Muppets in some way. They seemed to like affectionately pecking each other’s necks and we wondered whether that’s the reason they have a distinctive white ‘necklace’ rather reminiscent of the collars worn by women from a native tribe in Borneo (I think).

Strange to think that some of the birds are still breeding (remember the amorous swans from yesterday which star, exhausted, in today’s featured image at the top of the page) but moorhens still seem to be at it too.  This tiny baby is enchanting in his green paradise.

We spent the final hour of the visit on a bench near Puddleduck Corner where the wild Greylag geese came zooming in to join their resident relatives at the feeding station, much to the residents’ general disgust.  Capturing these mini invasions was difficult with the cameras and lenses we have but Peter managed this one.

Meanwhile the Emperor Geese decided that it was time for a siesta and settled down in their snug feathers.

Time for us to go and leave them to it, but not before we spotted this amazingly coloured and defined American Wood Duck (which surely used to be called the Carolina Duck?) in the shady part of the water.  The dandy of the duck world.  He would brighten any patch of shade although his other half is but a pale grey shadow of her husband. Oh well, that’s the order of things in the bird world it seems…