Saturday, 27 August 2016

Cotswold Trip - Slimbridge WWT

The Wildfowl and Wetland Trust Slimbridge is in the Village of Dursley Gloucestershire. It is beautifully situated on the River Severn estuary midway between Bristol and Gloucester. It was opened on 10 November 1946 by the artist and naturalist Sir Peter Scott as the first of its kind. It covers an area of 120 acres most of which is accessible to the public. A fantastic wetland to visit where birds and other wildlife are happiest near water. Plenty to do and see including; Otters, Flamingos, several bird hides and a canoe safari but more of that later.

When Sir Peter came to Slimbridge in 1945 he had 3 big ideas;
  • To protect wetlands and their wildlife
  • To inspire people with wetland experiences
  • To develop ways to breed endangered wetland wildlife and to help conservation
The wetlands help to clean the water and protect against flooding. To get the best out of the wetland for wildlife the grass and water levels have to be managed. Waders can only breed where the grass is the right height. The on site cattle and sheep help manage the habitat very naturally.The water level dictates feeding conditions for the ducks.Wading birds need mud to dip their beaks into. From the Kingfisher hide and in the distance it was possible to spot 3 wild Cranes that were originally released into the Somerset Levels but have since returned back to Slimbridge. Impossible to get a good photo but you will get the idea. As you walk around the wetlands their are numerous ; Coots, Moorhens , Swans, Geese and Ducks many with young wandering amongst the visitors. There are over 100 different wetland birds to be seen including six different types of Flamingo. Six types of Swan, 18 types of Geese and as for Ducks something like 75 types. You do need a full day to justice to all that is going on at Slimbridge. I just managed to get to the top of the Observation Tower before it doors shut at 4 o'clock. I was glad I did because the views from up there are stunning!
As for the canoeing, lets just say the intrepid duo were not always in complete harmony when it came to steering a true course.... Words were exchanged and there were a few near misses with wildfowl and fellow canoeists alike. Finally a few more random photos taken on the day.

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