Field Trip Report – WWT Slimbridge – 11 October 2023

Joint Bath Nats and Bath RSPB WWT Slimbridge Field Trip Wednesday 11th October 2023

Leaders: Lucy Starling and Phillip Delve

Eleven RSPB/Nats members and one non member joined Phillip and me for a stroll around Slimbridge on a grey morning and afternoon. Our visit coincided with a juvenile Barred Warbler’s third day in bushes below and around the Estuary Tower (Summer Walkway closed as a result). It was “no show” for us and other hopefuls; indeed, the bird only appeared for a few seconds for WWT members entering the reserve before normal opening hours. The perils of “twitching”!?

Whilst not seeing the warbler, we heard many Skylarks, sadly no Curlew, and Tom and Phillip located a small flock of distant Golden Plover and a few Dunlin.

Rushy Pen gave us excellent close views of Black-Tailed Godwits, Common Redshank, Spotted Redshank and Lapwing, with two more distant Green Sandpipers. Teal were very numerous around the reserve and by now most duck species were coming out of eclipse plumage and males more easily recognisable, including a lone Pintail at Rushy.

We dropped into Robbie Garnett hide on our way to the Zeiss Hide, and found a flock of Eurasian Wigeon grazing along with Lapwing and Common Snipe. Viewing birds from Zeiss really required telescopes, and we needed them to see clearly a flock of Golden Plover that fortunately dropped into the shallow lagoon. I found three distant Common Cranes in the Severn Estuary along with some Shelduck and Ruff. The most interesting sighting here was found by John G; a Little Grebe in the water below us by the reeds, doing battle with a small wriggling Eel. The Eel, eventually, was swallowed!!

After lunch taken in Peng Hide, we visited the South Lake (Discovery) Hide where we inevitably found plenty of gulls, mainly Black-headed and Herring, Canada Geese, Grey Heron, Tufted Duck, Pochard and Shoveler. Back at Rushy, we added a Meadow Pipit and Grey Wagtail to our tally of species and had much closer views of Common Snipe.

Some members lingered on later in the afternoon and visited the Summer Walkway, reopened after it was clear the Barred Warbler had disappeared and were rewarded with additional wader species including Knot.

Other notable species seen/ heard around the reserve by some of our party were Chiffchaff, Cetti’s Warbler, Reed Bunting and Little Egret. Still numbers of Red Admiral butterflies about, and numerous Hornets; it has certainly been a good year for these insects!!

Lucy Starling and Phillip Delve