Link to Slimbridge
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Created January 22 2002
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On a very misty January morning, my wife and I drove down the M5 here in England to spend a day at the Wildfowl Centre at Slimbridge, on the banks of the River Severn in Gloucestershire. I didn't realise until we got there that it had been nigh on 20 years since my last visit! How it had changed! The superb reception and visitors area were beautifully equipped with some really nice paintings of wild fowl on the walls. The noise, even within the closed portals of the centre was apparent, the geese, ducks and swans were in fine voice! The mists hung over everything and most of the waterways still retained quite a lot of frozen areas. So, cameras at the ready, we ventured forth into the "wilds" of Slimbridge. To get there from the M5 we had to travel down winding country lanes, across a lifting river bridge, to the end of a long lane.
The first thing I noticed was the wealth of sea birds that had made Slimbridge their home. Seagulls lined the barriers on the walkways, waiting for the handout! Also in evidence were the multitude of wood pigeons there for the same thing! A pair of the Black Swans had cygnets with them and were being the usual fussy parents, but not with the visitors - with the other birds and large white Swans. Even for such a cold misty day, the amount of visitors nearly filled the car park nearby.
Hidden away from most of the
waterways I found this Willow fence makers lean to. In days long gone, this was
the means of
making fish traps for the River Severn salmon runs, now just for making fencing.
This magnificent swan was nearly as tall as me! To get this shot I barely had to crouch; just waiting for him to assume the best pose and click! His body was possibly one of the biggest I have ever seen on a swan - really some weight! It's probably lucky for him that he is "protected" as all swans in England by law belong to HM The Queen. He'd make a meal for dozens!!
There were far
too many different types of fowl for me to remember. they were from all over the
world and in many
different plumages. So here are their images, enjoy!
This is "Dean" - I imagine he is poised awaiting the arrival of "Torville"
This female Blackbird was only inches away from me and sat there patiently whilst I got the camera out, focused it,
and snapped this nice picture
The Hawaiian Geese or "ne-ne". Hunted virtually to extinction, now living at Slimbridge and recovering to such an extent that pairs are now being released back into the Hawaiian Islands. I loved these birds, cheeky, unashamed blatant scroungers! They followed us everywhere and when realising we had no food, moved on. We found 3 when first entering the area, when we left they were standing by the canteen door!
This "ne-ne" posed quite contently a few inches from my lens whilst trying to focus with very cold hands!
Hawaiian Geese or "ne-ne"
A huge rush of air, the flapping of powerful wings and a flight of swans came roaring into land! They really were something special
to see and the air displacement was enormous!! Sorry the image is blurry, it was a sudden camera up shoot and hope image!
Eight million people have visited Slimbridge to get closer to wildlife & wetlands since Sir Peter Scott opened the doors in 1946. Some people come to get close to the birds, other people just love the ambience of this haven by the Severn. The birds keep coming back too - more than 20,000 wild birds dropped by last year (2001), some staying for months before starting out on their great migratory journeys.
Link to Slimbridge