Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Somerset Levels 29/12/14 - Bearded Tits, Goosanders etc

Arrived at a very cold and frosty Ham Wall at around 08:30. Everywhere was covered in a thick layer of frost making a 'Narnia' type scene, really beautiful. The levels took on a truly magical quality!  The frosty look only lasted an hour or so as the temperature increased and then a quick thaw.
We made our way towards the new hide taking in the beauty of the scene along the way.  Most areas of water were well frozen forcing duck species etc out to the middle of the water areas.  Plenty of smaller bird species flying around Robin, Blackbird,Dunnock, Long Tailed Tit, Blue & Great Tit.  From the first platform we caught a fleeting glimpse of a Bittern one of 3 we would see today. From both platforms there were plenty of Shoveler, Tufted, Gadwall and Lapwings.
The highlight of the day had to be seeing a male and female Bearded Tit feeding with a Reed Bunting on the path very near the entrance to the new hide, only there for a minute and then gone but wow!!!! Had a good fleeting view of a Water Rail from the new hide also.
On the Shapwick side we were surprised to see 3 Goosander on the canal, but each time anyone got close they soon took flight but always returned.   Plenty of Kingfishers also along the canal bank today probably because their usual areas were frozen.  We were also lucky to see a couple of Marsh Harriers , another 2 Bitterns and 2 Great White Egrets.  In the wooded areas plenty of Goldcrests and a Treecreeper etc. Other birds of note were a Stonechat and a few Chiffchaffs.
At Greylake which was also frozen there were plenty of Widgeon a few Snipe, Kestrel, Buzzard and once again some great but fleeting views of Water Rail.
All in all a top class birding day with 44 species seen.  Most photos record shots but just so good to see all those birds! 

Frosted trees at Ham Wall

                   Frozen Canal

    Winter sun on the Levels

                    Beardies on the path - record shot but so good to see!


                   Marsh Harrier

   Greylag Geese - large numbers on Noah's lake

                    Great White Egrets - taking flight from the canal edge

   Goldcrest - very flighty in this cold weather!

                    Goosanders on the canal Shapwick side.


                    Snipe on ice

   Water Rail - plenty at Greylake but you have to be fast to get a photo!

                  Reed Bunting - great looking birds