An Amateur Bird-Fancier visits Slimbridge

We’ve just come back from a long weekend in Gloucestershire.  The highlight was to spend time with William, Zoë and their parents at the home of Sarah (daughter-in-law)’s parents, who had invited us all: the highlight of this particular highlight was watching Zoë  discover strawberries…

Another highlight was to visit Slimbridge, the Wildlife and Wetlands Trust site founded and developed by Sir Peter Scott.

So much to see: water birds of every kind.  But I’ve come away with memories of three in particular: three species of wading bird who spend much of their lives fossicking in the shallows for the small creatures on which they depend for their diet.

All three of the birds that so engaged me shared similar characteristics.  Impossibly long, fragile-looking legs, giving them a delicate and graceful appearance: impossibly long, unmissable beaks.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you various varieties of flamingo…..  Who can fail to be entranced by their pink plumage, sometimes almost embarrassingly vivid, at other times delicately pale?

….black tailed godwits ….

… and the distinctively patterned black and white avocet.

Follow the links for a natural history lesson.  For now, enjoy as we did simply observing them.

 

Click on any image to view full size.

 

30 thoughts on “An Amateur Bird-Fancier visits Slimbridge”

  1. Oh, I remember the flamingoes especially when visiting the Camargue (apart from Zoos everywhere!). But to me the best bit are the avocets, water birds I didn’t know the name of but which we saw and tried to photograph (difficult) when ‘touring’ the River Dart from Totnes to Dartmouth in the past years. I’ve just written to Sandra about not being anywhere nice this year (except that, of course, our house IS very nice but it’s not for holidays, we stay here to catch up with much needed garden and other work)…. Normally we should be in Devon, languishing the shores of the sea, picking at our fish&chips packets, drinking Pimms with our friends, sharing French wine & cheese with others, laughing and singing, doing concerts and trips….. Not so!
    Are there still strawberries to be had ‘there’???? Aren’t you lucky! I already am contemplating of buying frozen berries for my fruit salads and müesli….

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      1. When you ‘do’ Camargue, pls watch out for your wallet and phone. We have been in unbelievable (and sadly true) ‘exchanges’ with the ‘gypsies’….. One who didn’t get what she wanted, actually cursed Hero Husband – in no uncertain terms and really nasty!

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      2. Don’t be afraid, just be careful! And btw; what shook us so was the fact that we never spoke anything but fluent French – and still were approached in a frightful and abusive manner. If we were ‘mere’ tourists, I might have understood a bit better – but anyway, it’s well worth visiting, the wild horses, the flamingos, the uncountable birds and water inhabitants, the sheer beauty and wilderness, the salt ‘factory’ – it’s magic!

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      1. yes, of course! You’re right, I am just more used to seeing horses than flamingoes… 🙂 In any case, it’s a natural beauty-parlour, wild, glorious, and surprising!

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  2. Wow–I’ve never even heard of these birds, except flamingos–how do they turn their neck and heads in those crazy configurations?! This looks like a wonderful preserve. And hasn’t Zoe come a long way! She’s beautiful, even with a berry-stained face.

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    1. Yes, Zoe’s almost one now, though developmentally, only 9 months old – and doing really well. Those flamingos were amazing, as were our better-known (to us) waders.

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  3. How many years is it since I’ve been to Slimbridge – I daren’t work it out. So a timely reminder, especially as I’m currently compiling a list of stopovers and things to do ‘on the way to Yorkshire’. Tom has now made the move to Bridlington so I’ll be travelling north as well east…. 😳

    Lovely to see a photo of Zoe; she’s doing so well!

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    1. She is. This time last year, Sarah was in hospital, and we were willing Zoe not to be born yet. Luckily, all is well. And you’re going to be Yorkshire-bound fairly often. Please do tell us if you ever have time to extend your visit so we might meet somewhere mutually convenient. I’ve a feeling we’d get on!

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  4. Lovely photos and a wonderful discovery – strawberries. Oh, how I love your language and word choice…. fossick a new word for me. Thank you. And the birds, too. I am still looking up to see what is flitting about in the yard. Thank you and have a wonderful Wednesday.

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  5. Great to see Zoë looking bright and full of energy. Fab bird pics too. Flamingos are so photogenic, but I think the silhouetted black tailed godwits reflected in the water have it on this occasion.

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  6. I’m glad you like the silhouettes. They were my favourites too, and such charming birds. I watched them for ages. Just as I am in thrall to Zoë, and William too of course.

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  7. Isn’t it just! And this time last year, Sarah was in hospital, 27 weeks pregnant, and we were all willing Zoe not to be born. But she was, only a week later. And she’s just fine.

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  8. Lovely birds and pics. My parents loved Slimbridge and I was taken there at least twice when I was small – smaller even than a tall pelican standing intimidatingly near to me in one photo that I still have.
    Zoe is gorgeous – such a sunny smile and sweet expression. Says a lot for strawberries 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I might have guessed you’d have been to Slimbridge! It was a first for me, but I can see it’s been developed hugely over the years – in a good way. No pelicans last week though. And yes. Zoe’s a charmer.

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  9. Zoe is beautiful…the best part of most of our trips now is seeing one or more of the grandkids who are growing up faster than seems possible. Love traveling to their homes and have them show us their special places.

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