Monday, 24 April 2017

Black-Winged Stilts, Redhead Smew + Little Gull

Date: 24th April 2017
Location: WWT Slimbridge
Weather: Cloudy, Overcast but Warm
Other Species: 2 Black-Winged Stilts, 1 Little Gull (2cy), 1 Smew (Female), Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Avocet, Sand Martin, House Martin, Barn Swallow, Little Grebe, Song Thrush, Mediterranean Gull, Dunlin, Ruff

Observation: After seeing tweets all weekend from Slimbridge with the Black-Winged Stilts present, we just had a make a visit, to see them! We left early and about 10 minutes from Slimbridge we received a tweet saying there were no sign of the Stilts.. noooo!!
We arrived at 8.20am and headed straight for the Rushy. The 2cy Little Gull was present, fairly distant so not the greatest of pictures.

Can really see why they are called the Little Gull. Black-Headed Gull in shot for size comparison.

 Having a good look on the Rushy for the Stilts we spotted a Redhead Smew, a few pictures later and unsure whether it was in fact a wild bird, a WWT warden (Martin) then spotted it and pointed it out! Nice! After confirmation it was a wild bird (and possibly the Chipping Sodbury bird) we took a few more images of her.

The 6 Greylag Goslings were still present, our last visit we spotted one of the chicks looking unwell so great to see 6 are still looking healthy (if the same brood).

With most birds moving around the Rushy, we got some nice flight shots.

The hybrid Wigeon was also present today.

Determined to find the Black-Winged Stilts we moved along the Holden Walkway searching everywhere for them.

An abundance of Sand Martin and a few House Martin skimming across the water, how could we not, get some shots? Well try anyway...

Probably the best of almost 50 pictures.

Just past the Willow Hide, this Sedge Warbler popped up and gave us a song in full view!

Great to hear the Song Thrush singing it's little heart out!

Returning from Holden Summer Walkway (with nothing of note), we received a tweet.
"2 Black-Winged Stilt just flown from Hogarth Hide onto South Lake"

We rushed around to South Lake to be told they flew off minutes ago, we stayed there in the hope they would return, plenty to see including this Little Grebe.

Still no sign of them we moved onto Hogarth Hide. Again no sign but plenty of Avocet and some distant Ruff.

We carried on as normal with no further tweets, just as got to the Zeiss Hide and sat down, a tweet came in, and the whole hide left and we all rushed to Robbie Garnett Hide, on arrival we got told they weren't there by a "birder", we decided to check the Robbie Garnett Hide anyway, as it turned out, they were there!! 
These Stilts were definitely giving us the round-around and keeping us fit!

But finally here they were, showing well most of the time, but after about 20 minutes they were right down the far end of the Estuary behind the Rushy.

Great little birds and well worth the visit!

Both of the Black-Winged Stilts in shot.

Very happy, we left and checked in on the Rushy as a last check, the Smew was still present and gave us a wing flap. A great morning birding!

We headed up to Rodborough Common to try and find some butterflies but the weather wasn't great, windy and some light rain. We headed back home with no butterflies but some great year and UK ticks!

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