A Quacking Afternoon

I first went to Slimbridge when I was eight and and all fresh to Gloucestershire after moving from Wales. Peter Scott and his wife were very much hands-on in charge of the small collection of ponds populated by swans and ducks.

Mumsie didn’t rate it, however.

“It’s just a lot of little brown ducks that look much the same really, isn’t it?” she declared.

As you might guess, this young birdwatching and nature fanatic was utterly entranced – and so people have been since its inception, thank goodness. I could go on and on about the late great Sir Peter Scott, the poacher turned gamekeeper and enormous influence on wildlife conservation, but I won’t because it’s all here

I’ll just say that the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, at Slimbridge, as it is now, has never been so fantastic for birds, so well organised, so great for families and so worth a visit.Β  I was there on Saturday and had a great time taking pics – so thought I’d share a few….

The moorhen chicks were very cute indeed. Not so much ugly ducklings as little blobs of black fluff with baldy heads whose feet are way too big. They grow into bigger blobs of feathers and their feet are still completely over-sized until they become fully-grown clockwork adults – well they swim as though they are automated, anyway!

Thankfully, Sir Peter never minded a drop of bird muck…

Ruddy duck – fresh from a dive

Washing and preening is soooo important

Eider bath time


White-headed duck. Sweet little endangered thing. Sponsoring conservation.


About janh1

Part-time hedonist.
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13 Responses to A Quacking Afternoon

  1. IsobelandCat says:

    My favourite is the photo of the mallards. It captures their noisy squabbling sociability. One day I shall get to Slimbridge.
    In St James’ Park earlier this year, everyone was taking photos of the coots nest and ignoring Buckingham Palace. Says something about the effect of nature upon us, doesn’t it.

    • janh1 says:

      Yes it does! I love the way kids are automatically tuned into an enquiring fascination with aspects of the natural world that most adults ignore or have failed to notice. It’s good that Slimbridge is encouraging them to watch the wildfowl but have fun in play areas too.

      I like that mallards cropped shot too. I’d reproduce it on silk, if I could. I think it lends itself.

      Let me know if you’re planning a visit and I’ll get you in for a knock-down price! πŸ™‚

  2. John Gamblin says:

    Some lovely pics there Jan. Great way to spend an afternoon. Have you been to the Newport Wetlands Trust – well worth a visit (and they’ve got a cycle path!!). One of my favourite places to visit and unwind πŸ™‚

  3. janh1 says:

    Hi G, and thanks! I didn’t even know there *was* a wetlands reserve nr Newport! Doesn’t look far from the Caldra roundabout actually. Thanks for the tip πŸ™‚ Went to Llanelli Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust years ago where we fed the flamingoes and they amused the kids by turning their heads sideways to take the pieces of bread roll!

  4. Pseu says:

    Fantastic shots here. I love the swan and cygnet and the kissing blue beaks!

    • janh1 says:

      Thanks Pseu. I was surprised by the moorhen chicks. I couldn’t actually see the little baldie heads in real life – but they showed well on the pictures…shame Danny Kaye didn’t sing about the Ugly Moorhenling…!!

  5. Gadzooks: I was on my way back today from Cornwall to Berkshire today and might have popped in had I read your post in time….always wanted to go there, we have relatives in Cam. Maybe we’ll try a trip in the Summer hols, Jan. Fantastic pictures…

    • janh1 says:

      Hi Kate – well worth a visit and Cam is only 6 – 8 miles away! Been meaning to comment on your piece on Cothele – a true tucked-away gem of a place πŸ™‚

  6. It is a great place. I spent the day there for a team building exercise a few years ago. We had the choice of painting or pulling up weeds. I opted for the weed pulling πŸ˜€

    • janh1 says:

      πŸ™‚ Yes that would be my choice too. I was a bit disappointed not to see water voles this time, although they may still be there… On a previous visit, there was a water vole sitting on a bank about four feet away from me, grooming himself in the sun like a big brown domesticated hamster. Very very cute – and you’d have to sit patiently for hours to have the faintest chance of seeing that sort of thing elsewhere!

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