We decided that we wouldn’t rush home having dropped DD1 back at Uni for her final year … we took three days to cover the 300 or so miles, stopping off at a different bird reserve every day.

It’s a little early in the year to see many winter migrants, but there were geese aplenty at Martin Mere (day 2). We failed to see the promised Marsh Harrier or Bearded Tit at Leighton Moss (day 1) but we did see a Willow Tit (no photo!), so that was a satisfactory first. And we can now identify with some confidence a White-fronted Goose! But the highlight of the trip was seeing cranes in the wild at Slimbridge (day 3) …

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Trust me, they are there in the background beyond the Greylag and the Barnacle geese!

Initially, we were disappointed with Martin Mere – more of a zoo than a bird reserve. But once we recovered from the shock of the transition from the beautiful Leighton Moss (run by the RSPB), we settle down and enjoyed the variety. So we were more prepared for Slimbridge, which is also run by the WWT, but it is in any case less overwhelming and has much better access to the wetlands.

I took dozens of pics … all with my little handbag camera, so don’t expect to see many clear views of the wild birds, but I am very happy with some of the results …

LEIGHTON MOSS

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MARTIN MERE

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SLIMBRIDGE

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