Sunday, April 6

Watch the birdies.

On Friday we headed  off down to Gloucestershire to visit the WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre. 

We didn't really expect what we actually found at Slimbridge - we had expected a place similar to the RSPB reserves which cater for native species that just come and go as they please. Whilst native birds do visit the centre many rub feathers with foreign species.

Unlike at RSPB and other native wildlife reserves where it is a bit of a lottery whether you will actually see anything or not, at Slimbridge many of the birds come up to say hello. This is down to the fact that visitors are encouraged to feed the residents and so humans are seen as a meal ticket. A couple took a fancy to Martyn's boots.
Whilst I was busy photographing them I felt a nibbling at my own boots.

We went to Slimbridge with two aims in mind one was to see and photograph avocets and the other to try for a closer encounter with a kingfisher. As it happened I came away having taken over 900 photos and Martyn ended up with almost as many and some video.

So did we fulfil our aims - well ...

We found the kingfisher hide with 20 minutes to spare before it closed so didn't rate our chances. The hide was quite full but we managed to find a spot to squeeze into. Apparently kingfishers had been coming and going fairly regularly but one hadn't been seen for a while. Here were we just popping in on the off chance.

As we started to think we had better leave before we were locked out of the centre - the hides are outside of the main fox proof area - who should show up but ... 
The bird was still quite some distance away but this time easily visible with the naked eye. So it was possible to capture photos a bit clearer
The hole on the far left is the nesting site. Martyn shot some video which he has posted here.

So what about avocets?

PS - more photos in my Facebook album here.


28 comments:

  1. I enjoyed watching the video of the pecking birds, they had a good go at the boot laces! Lovely photos of the King Fishers again, we are hoping to visit Burton Mere over the Easter Holidays so hopefully will have a few photos of my own to post about. xx

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    1. Good luck on your visit, Joanne - hope you manage some good photos.

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  2. I know to take photos of birds is complicated because they are fast and camera is enough slow. Your pictures of a birdies are wonderful I can watch its colors: orange blue green. Video is great!

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    1. Thanks you Nadezda - they are a challenge which we enjoy.

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  3. Loved your video! Slimbridge is certainly a place to get close to birds, mixed feelings because I see people feeding them white bread and the like rather than the seed they encourage you to buy. But even so, I really want to go again this year. Great kingfisher capture.

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    1. Yes I do know what you mean, Jessica.One guy was being surrounded by a huge group of swans which would have made me wary as I have heard of someone paralysed by a swan so you don;t want to be n the middle of a squabble.

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  4. Last time we went to Turkey on holiday, we saw kingfishers quite frequently in the grounds of our hotel. They are very fast-moving aren't they? I did get a few photos of a pair together, but they were quite distant and the photos were not so special. I wish I had had the Panasonic camera then!

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    1. They are, Mark bit now seems a good time to capture them as they spend time perched by their nesting sites, Apparently you can buy additional zoom capacity for the Lumix which would increase the optical range to 102x. Must admit I have strayed into digital 120x and had some acceptable results in good light conditions.

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  5. Lovely photos Sue - the video was great. We apparently have a Kingfisher on the river near here. Your pictures have showed me what the nest hole looks like. I now know what to look for, thanks for that :)

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    1. At Potteric they were nesting in a long vertical crevice Angie. Good Luck.

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  6. Pretty birds...and goose- well I'm not surprised. They are always nosy and annoying.

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    1. They were really cute too though Leanan and gentle.

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  7. You've waited all this time to photograph a kingfisher and now it seems you're seeing them wherever you go. I didn't realise that Slimbridge was like that either.

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    1. I know, Jo but now I want a really good close-up!

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  8. Beautiful kingfisher photos, lucky you. I'm still waiting to see one at Slimbridge - must try harder! The last time we were there we did see a wild avocet, for the first time. There are some captive ones as well in the Wader Shore. I hope you enjoyed your visit.

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    1. I'll leave you to wonder about the avocets for a while CJ. We did enjoy the visit - the combination of native and foreign species was great for photography.

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  9. How nice to be able to go back and get some clearer shots of the kingfishers well done you two

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    1. This was a different location, David

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  10. How lovely that you managed to capture the kingfishers (not literally) they are beautiful birds and so elusive normally.

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  11. They are beautiful, Elaine and it seems the season to see them.

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  12. We saw a pair of avocets at Slimbridge a couple of weeks ago - no photos to show for it though. Well done with the kingfishers, they are such beautiful birds.

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  13. Oh wow, had beautiful is that? what a privilege to see one so close up that is actually posing for you, I only see a glimmer of blue on the canal.xxx

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    1. It wasn't so close, Snowbird - my zoom was set at 60x . With the naked eye it was just a turquoise shape.

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  14. Lovely photos, and I enjoyed the video :-)
    I must admit I don’t know much about birds but I enjoy the magpies, blackbirds and lots of sparrows I have in my garden. Not enjoying so much the woodpigeons… I have other birds, songbirds, as I can hear them, but not sure what they are. Perhaps I’ll record and post one day.

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    1. If you visit the RSPB site they have sound clips of different birds, Helene

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  15. Such a lovely photos! Beautiful kingfisher birds!

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