A leisurely Sunday morning took an unexpected turn early afternoon when reports came through that a Little Bustard had been flushed off the seawall at Slimbridge!
Problems lay ahead if we were to make the trip. We were one hundred and fifty miles away and last admission times for the reserve were 4.30pm. Fortunately, news came through as we were leaving that the reserve was allowing hourly escorted access from 5pm-8pm.
|10 miles away|
We pulled into the Slimbridge car park at 5.05pm having encountered road closures on the M4. We had missed the 5pm access by 5 minutes! Thankfully another staff member arrived earlier than expected at around 5.30pm and after we paid the £10 entrance fee he kindly escorted us onto the site.
As expected there was a sizable group of birders already situated on the seawall overlooking the "Dumbles". Shortly after arriving we had our first view of the Little Bustard, it was just the head popping up above the long grass and these views continued at regular intervals for the next 2 hours. Sometimes it was just the head, sometimes it was the head and neck. Then around 8pm the bird suddenly appeared in a more open area and gave almost full body views before disappearing back into longer grass again.
|View from the Seawall|
There were a few birders present!
Plenty of familiar faces were present during the time we were there, many of whom like us had missed the East Yorkshire bird at Fraisthorpe Sands on 31st December 2014-1st January 2015.
Many thanks to all staff and volunteers who gave up their time, some coming in on their days off to allow us access to the reserve after hours, it was greatly appreciated.