Monday, 26 May 2014

Ham Wall & Shapwick & a bit of Crook Peak 25/5/14

 Ham Wall & Shapwick
A day of some cloud, sun and breezes on the Somerset Levels.  Arrived at 8 am to a full car park!
Paid a visit to Ham Wall first and we were greeted by the usual sounds of Cettis Warbler Goldfinches a Willow Warbler and Chiffchaffs singing away. Plenty of Swifts and Martins over the reed beds as well as some great views of Hobbies.  The Cuckoo was calling away in the background but unfortunately no sign of the Nightingale!
From the first platform we had a good view of a male Marsh Harrier but nothing much else around.  Walking down to the screens and new hide again there were plenty of Swifts screaming in the sky and the unmistakable song of Reed Warblers (sounds like hundreds of them) and a single Pochard and Coot on the Water.  The Mute Swans now have cygnets.
From the new hide it was great to see a Great Creasted Grebe with at least a couple of young hidden on its back - the young have such striking markings.  The Cuckoo was quite close and the Herons as always quite restless in the reeds.  We had a great view of a Bittern which unfortunately was a little too quick to duck into the reeds. Also had a fly past of a Great White Egret.
On to the Shapwick side and the scrape to our great surprise revealed a Black Winged Stilt the first one we have seen in the UK. Also on the scrape were the usual Godwits, Tufted Duck, Teal, Lapwing, Gadwall and a Little Egret.  Not a lot happening from Noah's hide but we did see a male  and female Marsh Harrier.  Once again from the Shapwick side a least two Cuckoos could be heard.
Crook Peak
On our way home seeing as the sun was shining a little more we spent half an hour on the lower slopes of Crook Peak.  Plenty of Common Blues and Brown Argus and a few Small Heath.  No sign of the Dingy Skipper but still a few Grizzled.  Great to see our first Large Skipper of the year.  We have since found out that this is the first for this year recorded for Somerset.  All in all a great day!

Great Crested Grebe plus one

Great Creasted Grebe plus 2 - just love the markings on the young

Black Winged Stilt - what a great surprise to see this graceful bird on the 'scrape'

Black Winged Stilt 

Common Blue - amazing artwork!

Large Skipper - stunning fresh colour and the first recorded for the year in Somerset!

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