We popped into Gailey on our way south (GJM -who would have thought it had come to this!), but our journey south was soon held up by an overturned vehicle on the M5. We decided to leave the motorway, but soon discovered that there was a PURPLE HERON at Coombe Hill Meadows, a place I'd never visited before. We soon found the place, but the car park was small, and we only just squeezed in. We walked along the towpath, and soon met up with some birders heading back. They looked at our footwear and laughed at us. We then found out that the path to the hide was flooded, and there was a nice, black, smelly mud about a foot deep to wade through. We were told that without wellies, we stood no chance!
Every birder walking back told us the same story. Except one in trainers.
The path to the hide
He said that he had walked along the bottom of the fence. And so I did the same. Sometimes, I put a foot on either side. However, it was quite a long stretch of flooded boardwalk, and I was soon knackered. The things you do to see a bird! It took me about three-quarters of an hour before the juv Purple Heron decided to give me a flight view. Then, I had to negotiate the path once more. Ten minutes of shuffling along the bottom of the rail again.
Stunning picture of the Purple Heron in Gloucs
It was then onto Slimbridge. Unfortunately the motorway traffic was now coming through Gloucester town centre, and it took us nearly an hour to do the 25min drive down to the WWT centre. We managed to get in without paying the £10-95 entrance fee and soon were watching the s/pl LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER sleeping among the large group of BLACK-TAILED GODWITS. It was showing quite well, but we were looking into the sun.
Long-billed Dowitcher at Slimbridge - my first one for 6yrs!