Saturday, January 08, 2011

Forest of Dean + Slimbridge:Sun 2.January 2011

With Kevin and Geri heading for Portland and in Wayne's absence Peter "Pedro" Morgan joined myself,Dan and "The Twitchmeister" for a day out in Gloucestershire with the main target species being Hawfinch in the Forest of Dean and the 1st winter female Lesser Scaup which had been at Slimbridge for just over a week.
Our first port of call Parkend church failed to produce any Hawfinches and a visit to Cannop Ponds saw us dip for the first time ever on Mandarin Duck which appeared to have relocated due to the "big freeze".
Our next stop at Speech House did eventually produce a couple of single sightings of Hawfinch and Peter ticked off a "lifer",my only view was of the rear of the bird as it flew away from it's perch at the top of a tree.
Birding was hard work and we moved on to Slimbridge which was as usual over-run by "Joe Public" and after much confusion over captive birds we did eventually locate the female Lesser Scaup which performed well for the camera in horrible light and snow.
A quick visit to the Rushie Pen also enabled me to get a couple of photos of Bewick's Swan albeit annoyingly through glass.
I also managed to get some "stock" photos of close up common species whilst the other lads went off to successfully locate the redhead Smew on the South Pool.

The light for photography had been abysmal all day much to mine and Peter's annoyance and with snow coming down for much of the time at Slimbridge we headed for Aust Warth with the light fading in the vain hope of catching up with a hunting Short-eared Owl.

Conditions were hopeless and after about 45 mins and no sign of a SEO we had back over the Severn to Wales.

Both birding and the weather had been hard work but I think we had all enjoyed our day out.

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