It was relatively late in the day when I decided the weather was suitable for a trip to Slimbridge and so it was after midday when I set off in Archie. Along the way I saw a National Trust sign indicating the proximity of Newark Park and detoured slightly to see if it was open. It wasn't, but meant that the rest of the route was on unexplored roads that gave good views of the Severn Vale.
I was actually heading initially for Purton, not Slimbridge, as I wanted to take a look at the canal there first. I arrived at 1410 hr and was soon talking to a local who had worked on the ships on the canal during World War II. Two of these were now part of the Purton Ships' Graveyard (I think he mentioned Brittania and Monarch). I had heard of this graveyard but had forgotten it was sited at Purton, and it turned out to be about ten minutes walk from where I was. Unfortunately, had I opted to visit it there and then I wouldn't have got to Slimbridge before dark, so shall have to return there another time. There are now 81 vessels there so it will warrant a full investigation. I spent about twenty minutes by the canal and was treated to a swan flypast as I took pictures there.
Some 400 Bewick's swans overwinter at Slimbridge, migrating from Russia, and some 120 had arrived by the time of my visit. Quite a few of these were grazing in a field beside the approach road, half a mile or so from the WWT, prior to sweeping in to the Rushy Pen later in the afternoon when the food was being doled out.
I arrived in time to see the otter feed, as pictured here. There are three North American river otters there, all girls (mother and two daughters), putting on a good display, though problematic to photograph owing to glare reflecting on the spotlessly clean glass panes. I had time to do a full tour including the recently reopened South Lake, as the sun slowly set, although by then I only had the use of my 17-70 mm lens as the battery for my K-50 had given out and the spare was in the car. I was able to rectify this in time for the wild bird feed at 1600 hr and saw some of the Bewick's fly in, but the warden at the Peng Observatory didn't like me putting my lens hood against the glass in case the birds saw me and flew off, and the results from further back were unsatisfactory so I adjourned to the binoculars shop nearby that also overlooked the Rushy Pen and got my pictures from there, where the staff were amiably curious about my red camera.
It was dark when I left and I gave Woodpeckers a call to arrange to call on her, Clean Steve and, of course, Bomble in Stroud for a cup of real coffee before wending my way home. A trip to Newark Park was discussed as a possible future Blipmeet.
Consecutive Blip #014
The Gloucester & Sharpness At Purton
Swan At Purton
Swan At Slimbridge
Greater Magellan Geese
Bewick's At Feed Time
A Visit To Slimbridge WWT, 25 November 2013 Lozarithm (Flickr set)
Lenses: Pentax 17-70 mm, Pentax 55-300 mm
Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust series
Friends of Purton (Ships' Graveyard site)
Lozarhythm Of The Day:
Cocteau Twins - Otterley (1985)
One year ago: Still Life With Wine #2