Winter at Slimbridge
New Year’s Eve was a cold but dry day, so in the afternoon we headed out to Slimbridge WWT to catch the wild bird feed.
The girls had fun as usual in Welly Boot Land. The water is turned off there between December and February so thankfully didn’t have to worry about icy streams for the girls to slip on. They had loads of fun crossing the dry(ish) stream over bridges and playing on the roundabout and the slides.
We managed to get a short walk around some of the rest of the centre and feeling quite smug that we had managed to stop the girls getting soaked in Welly Boot Land, Freyja then insisted on walking across some stepping stones and proceeded to step into water, deeper than the height of her welly. After a change of shoes, socks and trousers, we went to see the water voles. They seemed far more sensible than my daughters as despite Freyja demanding they jump into their water, they were having none of it.
I then took Freyja to the Peng Observatory for the Wild Bird Feed. Rich took Emily off to the café and ate cake! The Peng Observatory overlooks a lake onto which wild birds gather for the regular feeds at this time of year. You can’t help but watch with amazement as groups of Bewick swans fly in in small groups and land so gracefully on the water. There are so many hundreds of birds on the lake, but when the warden brings out a wheelbarrow full of bird seed, suddenly hundreds more just appear out of nowhere. Freyja usually has a bag of bird seed when we walk round the centre, so she was a little disappointed that she didn’t get a chance to feed the swans, but fascinated to watch all of these wild birds jostling each other to get to the food.
The wardens who run the feed are very knowledgeable and will point out individual swans and explain how the work started by Sir Peter Scott on the beak markings on the Bewick’s enable the identification of each bird. They have many anecdotes and it has always been a really interesting talk. Freyja lasted 20 minutes and then she had had enough. She definitely wants to go again sometime though – although I think she is convinced that next time she will be in charge of the wheelbarrow.