By CleanSteve

Greylag geese passing Estuary Tower at Slimbridge

I couldn’t resist the lure of the sun today. I needed to go shopping but decided to make a swift excursion to WWT Slimbridge so that I could visit their new Estuary Tower. It was completed late last year and allows you to stand on the top of the building with the sky above and views for about 250 degrees. There are some limited glass barriers offering wind protection which limits photography to about a range of about 180 degrees, but the views that are available make up for it.

The building is situated just behind the River Severn’s flood protection banks set some way back from the main river which has an extremely high tidal range. Today high tide had just passed and the water was slowly receding in the distance, probably four hundred yards from the tower. The area is maintained by WWT Slimbridge as wert meadows with some relatively permanent flooded areas with small islands. They are like marshes which get flooded occasionally which provides rich nutrient and thus perfect feeding grounds for countless breeds of birds, some of which are resident whilst others visit during the different seasons.

I saw curlews, oystercatchers, wigeon, black headed gulls, various geese, cranes, swans, teal, shelduck, lapwing, redshank, shovelers and some avocet.

The numbers today were not as massive as can sometimes be seen there in mid-winter, with flocks of hundreds rather than thousands. A couple fo pairs of swans flew past. The cranes grazed near the river in the distance. A large flock of several hundred barnacle geese circled on the ‘Tack Piece’ without coming close. These two greylag geese did offer me a good fly-by circling between me and the top of the embankment seen in the foreground, with the occupied flooded marshes spreading away into the distance.

Soon-ish, I'm going to try to do some serious back-blipping as I'm getting so far behind. I can't complain that I don't have time anymore!

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