As I recently headed over to the WWT Slimbridge – Slimbridge Wetland Centre to check out the wildlife and get a little photography in, I thought I’d share my experience and a few photos from the day in a hope to convince you to go and visit them as well (I make no money from encouraging you to go there, I just think it’s a great place!).
I can’t believe I had been coming to the Cotswolds for so many years and not ever paid the place a visit…
So what is the WWT?
“The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) is a conservation charity that saves wetlands, which are essential for life itself. Wetlands are the primary source of drinking water for people and wildlife. They also connect us with nature, and with ourselves, through beautiful landscapes and inspiring encounters with wildlife”. You can visit their website by clicking here and if you book your ticket online you will save yourself 10% on the ticket entry.
I headed over at 2:30pm on a Saturday, not realising the place closes at 5:30, so in hindsight I would of gone a lot earlier as it’s a big place and covers quite a lot of ground. If you’re keen to see it all and spend time sitting in the hides with your camera or binoculars then I would allow around 4-6 hours. There’s a cafe, shop and plenty of excellent facilities on site for all ages and every child I saw was having a great time (so much so there was no chance of a timid little Kingfisher making an appearance with the noise in the Kingfisher hide so I’d recommend going on a week day if you’re planning on a quit hide haha).
As I arrived at 2:30 I noticed that the otter feeding was about to take place at 3pm. We had an otter in one of the local gardens in my area recently that had helped itself to all of the neighbours goldfish so I was keen to go and see one feeding in real life. Of course I would rather see one in the “wild” but as they are pretty elusive to spot this was going to be a good start and I could grab some photos while I was there. The staff member feeding them was extremely informative and stayed behind to answer questions which is always a nice touch. Here’s an otter from the feeding session:
After the otter session I moved on to a couple of the hides and was lucky enough to see some cranes amongst the geese which I was told was pretty rare of this time of year. There is also an abundance of different flamingo which make a hell of a noise when it’s feeding time!
You can see a great variety of birds around the park from all over the world and this will obviously change throughout the year with different migration patterns of the animals. The staff all around the centre were very friendly and in most of the hides there would be one staff member sharing their excellent knowledge of the birds that were on display. At 5pm just as the last hide was closing it was only myself and one of the staff members who excellently spotted a “hobby” up in the tree, a long way away but visible through his excellent telescope (a little out of my price range but you can view it by clicking here! and check out the quality that these park ranges are using). This was a rare sight and it wouldn’t be long before this falcon was on it’s way to Africa I’m sure.
Inside they have an area with reptiles and a cafe with a shop on your way out. There really is something for all ages and I will definitely be returning again in the near future. If you have a spare day, interested in nature, conservation and the weather is good, then Slimbridge is a great suggestion in my opinion!
Thanks for reading,