Monday, 23 March 2015

Somerset Levels 2 day safari 17th & 18th March

We spent 2 very different days at Ham Wall and Shapwick the first started sunny and then cloudy and the second after a frosty start some lovely Spring sunshine. Covering both days we recorded a total of 55 bird species, Adders and a single Small Tortoishell. 
Most birds were in good song including Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps, Cettis, booming Bitterns, Dunnocks etc. Kingfishers both chasing and fishing were a common sight as were displaying Great Creasted Grebes. We even got a glimpse of the dance a couple of times. Most surprising of all was a fly over of 5 Cranes high up in the hazy blue sky right over the scrape at Shapwick. We were notified of their presence by their wonderful haunting call - We will never forget it.
The woodland areas of Shapwick revealed Coal Tits, Treecreeper and Goldcrest plus plenty of flitting of Great, Long Tailed and Blue Tits.
We also had a great view of a pair of Marsh Harriers 'seeing' off a pair of Buzzards - tallons at dawn!
Sand Martins were seen in good numbers mainly over the Ham Wall reserve again we were alerted to these by their calls in the sky. Other birds of note were Great White Egret, Little Egret, Goldeneye, Redwing, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Reedbuntings, Shoveller, Wigeon, Pochard and Teal.
Only one butterfly species seen a Small Tortoishell.
Fantastic to see the Adders in their usual spot this time we counted 3 basking in the sun.  Another surprise of the day was spotting a tiny young Adder only about 3 inches long basking in its own bit of sun.  It was perfectly marked 'mini me' just beautiful!
All in all a fantastic couple of days on the levels, can't wait to return!

Cettis Warbler - fantastic song. Seen a little easier at the moment as they sing out their territory 

                   Wigeon  - still good numbers on the levels

   Kingfisher perched to fish seen from Noah's hide

A little video ....
                   Celandine - a great nectar host for insects including bees and butterflies plus they look stunning     
                   In the Spring sunshine

   Scarlet Elfcup - seeing these all over the Somerset Levels now

                    Willow in the dew

   Some Willow more advanced than others

                  Blackcap as well as heard singing seen feeding on the ivy berries

   Redwing - feeding up before flying East?

                 Cranes - wow! Very high up in the hazy blue sky but so good to see and hear


                 Treecreeper- often seen along the woodland path to Mere Hide

    Young Adder - only 3 inches long but perfectly formed and marked


    So small but still has that red eye

                   Male adult Adder

   Basking together - 3 heads are better than one! 

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