Sunday, 8 March 2015

Early Spring on the Somerset Levels 7/3/15 Birds, Butterflies, Flowers and Snakes

What a stunning blue sky sunny Spring day and it was warm! We arrived at Ham Wall at around 9am to a chorus of bird song and plenty of flitting around.  Surely today we would see our first butterfly? We explored Ham Wall side first and birds of note were Great White Egret, Little Egret,  Shoveler, Teal, Wigeon, Pintail, Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Snipe, Reed Bunting, Goldcrest and plenty of the more common species. A booming Bittern was heard but not seen. There are at least 4 Great Creasted Grebe pairs and a pair of Kingfishers were seen whizzing and chasing at one point they flew straight over our heads! Cettis Warblers are busy singing from their perches but are still hard to get a decent photo of!
Primroses, Violets, Snowdrops, Celandines and Daisies all bursting open in the sun and warmth and in turn attracting bees.  So good to see and hear the bees hum past.
It was on the Shapwick side that we saw our first butterflies of the year. Some great views of Brimstones including one female and a single Small Tortoiseshell and Red Admiral. It was so good to see the return of the Brimstones.
Not too much to see on the scrape but a few Pochards and Tufted Ducks. In the woods leading to Mere hide we saw a Treecreeper and Coal Tit.  Once again booming Bitterns could be heard all over the reserve.
It was on the Shapwick side that we saw our first Adders of the year a truly fantastic view of this beautiful snake. We always feel so honoured to catch a glimpse of this wonderful reptile. 
All in all every part of nature we saw and experienced today left us on a high! A real welcome return of spring and so good for the soul! The Somerset Levels, so much more than just the birds

   Dunnock - singing its heart out!

                    Dunnock - great colours if you stop to look!

   Primrose - herald of Spring

                   Bumble Bees back on the scene, warming up in the sun.

    The humble Celandine 

                   Elf Cup fungi - finding this lovely fungi all over the woods at Shapwick

    A big Elf Cup! 

                  Brimstone flat out on the bracken seeing the warmth of the sun

   The beautiful Adder - stunning reptiles

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