Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Slimbride Wildlife and Wetlands Trust.

It was such a lovely day today that after lunch we decided to go to Slimbridge. The big attraction of course is the birds, but the grounds are so well planted and laid out that even the car park is pleasant to look at. We parked beside this little hawthorn tree which had a young bunch of mistletoe growing on it. I got this nice shot of some of the haws, but the mistletoe didn't show up against the rest of the tree.
Inside the grounds the winter visitors are just beginning to arrive, though all year round there are plenty of wildfowl to be seen.

Here is the founder. This bronze bust of Sir Peter Scott is positioned where he can gaze out over his beloved wetlands beside the River Severn. In the years since his death an enormous amount of work has been done at Slimbridge. I sometimes wonder if he would recognise it now. The facilities are excellent and it has become a world famous learning centre as well as carrying out conservation and breeding programmes for endangered species.

I know I should have been looking at the birds, but this colourful leaf all spangled with water droplets caught my eye.

Isn't she (or he) beautiful?

I always think of Alice in Wonderland when I see flamingoes. I love the reflections they make in this photo.

These were in a different area right beside the cafe - I took this through the window as I have never seen young flamingoes before. They are the ones on the right who have hardly any pink plumage yet. You can't call them beautiful but they do have a strange appeal.

This came as a total surprise and is a new departure for Slimbridge. I took loads of photos but the otters were so quick it was impossible to get really good shots and in the end I gave up and just enjoyed watching them playing in the water.

There was glass or tough perspex all round the pool so I was contending with reflections on that as well as trying to get a good shot with the light behind me.

This one is better. There are four otters here, all female, and they are North American ones. It is hoped to acquire some males and start a breeding programme. These four were rescued when a zoo closed down. I think they'll be a big draw - even on a cold afternoon there was quite a crowd watching them.

Spot the harvest mice! Another surprise in a building that has been put up since my last visit. There were about 20 or more in this large glass case, all tearing about like mad. There are two on the yellow tennis ball which should be easy to see and you might even find a few more. I knew they were small but was surprised by just how small - not as big as my thumb and so pretty. These were another addition to the wildlife here and we would have missed them had it not been for these two beautiful carved window frames -

which were at the entrance to the building which housed the mice and various other exhibits.

There is no livestock in this photo, just the fascinating shapes and textures of bark on the pollarded willows which are all over the grounds. Many of them must be quite old now and have holes in their trunks which makes them even more interesting.
They reminded me of the trees featured in so many of Van Gogh's landscapes.

Lots of hidey holes for small birds, creatures and insects to enjoy.
I'm afraid I got carried away and took quite a lot of photos of these trees with holes in but restrained myself from posting them all.

One final bit of texture - I love the way this fallen tree has weathered to that lovely silver colour.


The Weaver of Grass said...

There is a couple of year's worth of textile art in those photos Heather! Nice to be reminded of Slimbridge. When we lived in Wolverhampton it was a nice day out and not too far. Now it would be impossible in a day.

maggi said...

Fantastic photos Heather. I am sure that Sir Peter would be delighted at the way Slimbridge has developed.

jill said...

Thankyou for sharing your photos, they are great

DIAN said...

wow, these photos are really gorgeous. thanks for sharing your day out. I too love the shapes and textures of old trees.

Heather said...

Of course, my heading should read: Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust. It is a lovely place to visit and there is so much more to see than we covered yesterday.

Allabitrandom said...

I liked your comment on Dog Daisy Chains re craft fairs and wandered here for a look around. Love your blog and your work. The photos are just FAB!

Amas Veritas said...

I thank you for that lovely visual vacation. I'm presently stuck behind a bank clerk's desk and in desperate need of stimulation! Gracias for brightening my dusty wee corner of the world.