Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Brean Down Way - 10th May

The Brean Down Way is a new walk from Weston to Brean Down now made possible with the opening of the sluice gate on the path near the sewage treatment works. We have walked this path many times but have only been able to walk as far as the sluice gate as it has been locked.
This is now a superb walk through the nature reserves of Uphill and Bleadon and then on to the sand dunes of Brean and the rocky cliffs of Brean Down. A beautiful part of Somerset countryside packed with flora and fauna and a lovely 11 mile trek.
Impressive numbers of Whitethroats, Sedge Warblers and Reed Buntings along the way. Skylarks taking to the sky singing their hearts out and Linnets flying from field to field.
A good few Green Winged Orchids still on the hill at Uphill though not for long as the cows were let into the field just as we left. A cold strong breeze was blowing as we climbed the hill to the church so no butterflies to be seen. However in the churchyard itself we found several Wall dancing amongst the gravestones!
A brilliant walk, can't wait to do it again.




    Little Egret from the screen     


                
                   The dunes at Brean

   Looking towards Brean Down

                
                   Shelducks high on the cliffs

   Summer flora bursting forth!


               


    Summer meadow looking towards Uphill Church

               


   Plenty of Whitethroats all along the walk

                


   Uphill Church


               
                   Reed Bunting

   Green winged Orchids in their many colours

                              

                                                                                 


                               

                                                                   


                                                     


                                                               


                                

                                                                     


                                               
                            

                                                                                 


     
               
                  The hill covered in Orchids and Cowslips



               
                  St Nicholas church 

   Beautiful wildlife haven

                
                   Wall Brown

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Westhay Otter & Orchids 3rd May

A cool an cloudy day for our visit to Westhay. We started from the Island hide where our walk then took us on towards the raised bog area. Cuckoos were calling along the way and across the raised bog we saw a Whitethroat, Linnet and heard a Grasshopper Warbler but as usual just couldn't see it.  A few dragonflies here and there but still too cloudy for them. On through the woods and Blackcaps singing away. 
On to Lake hide where we had a great view of a Hobby and Cuckoo in the same tree! The Cuckoo took flight and then the Hobby was mobbed by a Magpie pair.  The lake is looking lovely with a good covering of lily leaves. The water itself free from birds but all of a sudden and for a very brief moment an Otter appeared, our closest encounter yet! What a moment.
From the new North hide there was nothing on the water itself but we did get good views of the Marsh Harrier pair and more Hobbies. Plenty of Reed Warblers singing from the reeds with the sighting of one or two.
We followed the drove track down to the road where we turned right to meet the returning drove. In one of the fields we spotted the first Southern Marsh Orchids of the season making an appearance, beautifully formed and fresh. 
Once again a lovely walk around Westhay with a total of 39 birds seen including Cuckoo, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Hobby, Marsh Harrier, Reed Bunting, Reed Warbler, Great White and Little Egret, Kingfisher, etc. Not the sunniest of days but our world certainly lit up when we saw the Otter.


   Otter gliding past

                


   Spotted!

                


    Starting to dive

                




               



    Popped up amongst the Lilly pads

                


    Eye to Eye!


               
                   Apple blossom on the hill

   Southern Marsh Orchid
            
                                                                 


                                                                      


                   
                                                                            


   Coot chick 

              
                 Will I grow up to look like you?

   The springtime beauty of the lanes on the Levels