At last the sun is out and we are off to Slimbridge again for what will hopefully be a wonderful day.  The car park is almost as full today as yesterday and there are plenty of families with children as usual.

Today nearly everyone is sporting woolly hats and warm coats as the wind is bitingly cold – but the air is crystal clear which means the photography should be good.  We decided to concentrate more on the birds that live permanently at Slimbridge because you can get so much closer to them, but also popped into the odd hide to see if we were missing anything.  We saw a couple of Redshanks and some Black Tailed Godwits in the distance plus some Green-winged teal and Northern Shovelers but not close enough to take meaningful shots.

The birds were sparkling in the autumnal sunshine:

Tufted Duck having a bad hair day

Ruddy Shelduck all aglow

Electrifying Falcated Duck hunted in China for their feathers as well as for food

And it wasn’t just the birds who were putting on a show:

What a difference it makes when the sun shines!






I watched this Philippine Duck (a threatened species) for some time as he put his head into the water and then threw it back swallowing whatever he had found:

And of course the day wouldn’t be complete without photographing one of our personal favourites, a pair of White-faced Whistling Ducks who always make me smile:

Slimbridge have been so successful in hand rearing Eurasian Cranes from eggs (remember their “Crane School?” on the television?) and they now find them returning once they have been released into the wild on the Somerset Levels – obviously loved it here and why wouldn’t they? Read all about it here http://www.wwt.org.uk/visit/slimbridge/news/2012/05/wwt-slimbridge-news/wild-cranes-return-to-their-motherland/

Eurasian Cranes

We couldn’t resist another peek at the beautiful flamingoes:

Greater Flamingoes

There’s something rather sad about this Red-billed Whistling Duck:




And what the Muscovy Duck lacks in facial beauty he makes up for with his beautiful green plumage:







This photo showing the ornate Mandarin Duck with his rather less showy wife should be good for a caption contest (ideas in the Comments section please!).  This is my effort:

“You told me it was a fancy dress party!”

I’m sure some of you can do better than that…

Slimbridge is such a beautiful place whatever the season.

And this Chiloe Wigeon blends beautifully with the fallen leaves:

I just had to include this Crested Screamer (one of our favourites from our last visit) as I really hadn’t noticed his “Norah Batty” legs before!

Between us we took over 500 photos today but space (and our mobile broadband internet connection) does not permit me to include them all unfortunately.  I will make up a Flickr set when we get home so I can upload all the best ones.  I will show the link on this blog.

Just one more though…

James’ Flamingo in the late afternoon sun

In case you think I have forgotten the “star” of our trip to Slimbridge, I must mention the North American River Otters.  There are just three of them – mother Flo and daughters Minnie and Ha Ha.  Just before we left this afternoon we joined the small crowd around the Otter bank who were watching them being fed and listening to the excellent commentary.  You can see Flo at the top of this blog – fantastic!