A female ferruginous duck (of unknown origin) has been showing in the Asia pen in the collection and so I headed there first to have a look but drew a blank. I checked out the nearby South Lake where it is also sometimes seen but again there was no sign of it and so I headed off to the Tack Piece which was well flooded and absolutely covered with birds. Scanning through the wildfowl and waders I managed to find at least 3 ruff, 2 little stint (my first ever overwintering birds), a pink footed goose amongst the white fronted goose flock, Bewicks swans, a snipe and 5 of the reintoduced common cranes.
Common Crane, Slimbridge
First Snowdrops of the Year
Bewick's Swan TUZ - Bianco, ringed at Slimbridge in 2000
Bianco the Bewick's Swan
The rest of the trip wasn't quite as exciting but we did see some great birds and with some great views. Highlights were the long staying resident Slavonian grebe near the wreck, a male goldeneye flying downriver, around 400+ avocets, lots of red breasted mergansers, a spotted redshank with greenshank at the outlet of the River Kenn and the resident harbour seal hauled out on a sand bar in the river.
After the trip we stopped off on the way back to Plymouth at Bowling Green Marsh for a quick look. It is the first time I have visited the new revamped hide, very nice but the glass in the windows is optically rubbish, you have to open the flaps to view the birds with binoculars due to the distortion, not so great if the weather is cold and wet and windy. Bird highlights were a very showy but distant water rail, a distant chiffchaff in the hedgerow with blue and great tits, 2 flyover ravens, a lone snipe, a very orangey/red looking fox, a flyover stock dove and some lovely views of lapwings looking resplendent in the sunshine.
Lapwing, Bowling Green Marsh
Spotted Redshank (left) with Redshanks
Spotted Redshank (Centre)