It's Bath not Baaaarth

As it was half term, we decided we'd have a mini-break around Bath. I said I'd leave my bins behind but Bernie insisted I take them :-). The trip down was fine - everyone seemed to observe the speed limits a lot better these days and there were few problems, even through the ubiquitouscentral barrier repair zones.

We'd not planned a precise route as it was last minute, so we got the NT book out to see where we could stop off. Everything seems to open in March so there was nothing else but to visit Slimbridge. It's ages since I've been here but we re-accustomed ourselves to the new layout and headed for the marshes. A few hundred Russian Whitefronts were showing distantly along with several Barnacles (rubbish views compared to Islay!) and a Peregrine regularly spooked the waders on the scrapes.

I managed to find the female Ring-necked Duck in amongst the snoozing Aythyas before it headed for the cover of a reedy area and I scanned through thousands of Teal for a Green-winged but to no avail. I must say that the reception centre is quite something else and perhaps a sign of things to come at Martin Mere. I clocked the Lesser Canada Geese on our way back from the hides!

The next day was a bit drizzly to start with but we had a fine day in Bath doing the touristy thing, the only ornithological note being a pair of Grey Wagtails at the Roman Baths. However, the forecast for the following day was of snow. I hatched a cunning plan to go back via mid-Wales and the Kite feeding station at Gigrin Farm.

We set off at 9 from out B&B near Chippenham and drove west rather anxiously through the sleet but as soon as we started north towards Abergavenny, the weather improved a touch. It only took us about two and a half hours but as the place didn't open till 1pm we headed for a nice tea room in Rhayader.
I was quite surprised at the number of people there on a very cold, drizzly day but a few half-term families had made the trip. All the time, Kites were appearing from over the hills and starting to congregate in the general area - all waiting for the 2pm feeding time.
The man with his tractor load of meat duly arrived and as soon as he'd started to move on, the first Kites descended. It was a splendid site with nearly 100 Kites in the air at once just over the feeding area. Several Buzzards and Ravens joined in - they came in and ate where they landed whereas the Kites plucked items from the ground and carried them off. Suddenly, Bernie noticed the Black Kite as it came in from the right - it was successful on its first pass and was away rather quickly - shame!

However the kites were still coming down including a leucistic bird and several with white outer primaries.
After the second wave of feeding and no further showing of the Black Kite, we decided that we'd better move before frost bite set in and three and a bit hours later we were home having successfully circumnavigated traffic chaos on the M6!


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