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A spotlight on wetland wildlife - October 2020

Posted on 03 Nov 2020

Join us on another journey around our reserves looking back on the migratory month of October. Thousands of waterbirds are arriving on our wetlands for the winter, some all the way from arctic Russia.

One of our earliest Russian migrants are the Russian white-fronted geese. Numbers are building at Slimbridge, with many juveniles in the flock which will have hatched on the tundra just a few short months ago.

In other goose news, numbers of barnacle geese are building at Caerlaverock.

Whilst large flocks of golden plover are building on our reserves. These birds are best appreciated in flight – twisting gems of white and gold in the crisp autumn sky.

With all of these arrivals, our wetlands are getting noisy!

Of course, an increase in prey species means that our predators also have a chance of surviving the winter.

Whooper swans are in for the winter at Martin Mere, having arrived from their Icelandic breeding grounds.

And a pair of whoopers also dropped in to Slimbridge before moving swiftly on…

…Whilst someone at Caerlaverock is clearly a Big Bang Theory fan.

The teams at Slimbridge and Washington have been spotting common and jack snipe.

With Washington also seeing another uncommon visitor – goosander.

Whilst at Welney, a rare autumn vagrant was still lingering – the lesser yellowlegs. One was also enjoyed at Slimbridge back in September.

There’s been a couple of otter sightings during October, too:

At Slimbridge:

And at Castle Espie:

Castle Espie also again do well with trapping another stunning moth. Look at those colours!

We’ll be touring our reserves again next month as November slowly pushes us from the autumn period into the grip of winter. Bird numbers will continue to increase, especially if the weather gets colder on the continent. At the time of writing, there are no Bewick’s swans in the country but their arrival should be just around the corner…

In the meantime, keep up-to-date with wildlife news on all our centres' social media channels or wildlife sightings pages.

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