It looked like a fine day for once, and I didn't want to waste it, so I set out in the morning for my first 2014 visit to Slimbridge. As I drove off in Archie it began to rain, but luckily had cleared up en route. I arrived in time to grab a sandwich and coffee at the Black Shed café beside the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal before the short hop to the Wetland and Wildlife Trust centre.
There were still quite a few Bewick's swans noisily announcing their continued presence, including a young cygnet called Annie, whose parents had set off on their migratory trip without her. This is the first time this has ever happened in the centre's history. She seems to have now become attached to another family and it is hoped that they will teach her the route back to the Russian tundra or re-unite her with her family along the way. Cygnets make this perilous journey at a very young age, and have to learn the route before they become independent and start their own families.
I attended the otter feed talk again and learned some more about these three North American river otters. They are slightly larger than our native otters, the male Eurasian otters being about the size of the female American otters. They vary in size and Flo, the mother of the other two, is smaller than Minnie and Ha-ha. She was born in March 2002, and her daughters on 20 February 2009.
Apart from all the regular exhibits (albeit mostly wild animals) I also found a wren, which I spent some time observing at close quarters but was unable to photograph due to its speed and obtrusive twigs in the way, and a grey heron that was fishing in a stream near the kingfisher hide. All in all, I had a successful afternoon, and took about 150 pictures, whittled down to a set of 66.
I left early enough to drive back while it was still light, and took a back road route that led me through Springhill and Fop Street on the windy, narrow hilly roads that I enjoy. I stopped briefly on Hyde Hill, on the way to Uley, to photograph some sheep at a feeder, with a fine Cotswold backdrop, and was home at half-past six.
It has taken until today to complete work on the images I took, and to select a blip. I have blipped Bewick's and otters from the centre before, so this time I have chosen some flamingos. They have several different kinds spread around the trust, including Greater Flamingos, Chilean Flamingos and Caribbean Flamingos. I'm not sure which these are.
Consecutive Blip #058
Gloucester & Sharpness Canal
Flo, Minnie and Ha-Ha
A Visit To Slimbridge, 27 February 2014 (Flickr set)
Annie Update (10 March 2014)
Lenses: Pentax 17-70mm, Pentax 55-300mm
Lozarhythm Of The Day:
Jessy Bell Smith - Archie (2007)
One year ago: Sam Widges