Tuesday 31 July 2012

Long-billed Dowitcher - Slimbridge

Our purpose for going to Slimbridge today was twofold. Firstly to see the Long-billed Dowithcher, and secondly to look at the Spoon-billed Sandpiper exhibit. We arrived early and were surprised to find they don't open the doors until 09:30. So we waited, and Elis set to work photographing whatever she could find.

This Woodpigeon was interesting in that it is a juvenile. Not showing a white neck patch, these juveniles can sometimes be mistaken for Stock Doves.
Juvenile Woodpigeon
Here's an adult for comparison
Adult male Woodpigeon
Here a male is displaying to a rather disinterested female, I know the feeling mate!.

Male displaying to female

There was a small party of Long-tailed Tits in the car park, it is impossible to tire of seeing these little charmers, and here we have photos of a scruffy adult showing the ravages of a successful breeding season and a young bird with its brown mask.
Adult Long-tailed Tit

Juvenile Long-tailed Tit
Jackdaws are often overlooked, but they are handsome birds and well worth a look I reckon. The juvenile Blackbird shows that at least one pair had some success despite this rotten summer.
Eurasian Jackdaw

Juvenile Blackbird
This Lesser Black-backed Gull was loafing in one of the duck pens, presumably on the look out for chicks and eggs.
Lesser Black-backed Gull
So when we got into the centre we headed for the south hide where the dowitcher has been seen most days. On arrival we were confronted by a tight pack of Black-tailed Godwits, in which, we were told, the dowitcher was hiding.
Black-tailed Godwit flock
Two hours later I saw a dark cap and bill poking out from behind a godwit, it was our bird. It showed reasonably well and then went back to sleep behind three more godwits. It did eventually show itself well, good scope views, but too far away for anything other than record shots sadly.
Long-billed Dowitcher to the left of the Black-headed Gull. The others are
There was also a Ruff hiding among the godwits.
Ruff, centre right of picture facing right. The dowitcher's bill can just be seen
poking out to the right from behind the Redshank right of the Ruff. That's a
lot of rights, I hope I got it right!
During our wait Elis entertained herself with some of the local birds, namely this Common Moorhen...
Adult Common Moorhen

Juvenile Common Moorhen
 and she got this super portrait of a Common Sandpiper.

Common Sandpiper

We were disappointed to find there was not much information about the 'Spoonies' but we were shown a short video about the collection of the eggs. I'd have thought they would have made more of the project, there was no memorabilia for sale to raise funds, most surprising.

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