Tuesday, 29 March 2016

RSPB Greylake - Peregrine, Harrier, Waders & Ducks 29/3

A cloudy dank start to our visit to Greylake with a cold strong breeze.  Arrived at the reserve and hide early to find that we were the only ones there. Along the path to the hide we had a couple of good views of Water Rail.  Not a lot going on from the hide until a Marsh Harrier hunting at the back of the  lake flushed a lot of ducks closer to us.  Lapwings are present in good numbers and are pairing up conducting aerial displays ducking and diving with great ease.  Redshank have also returned and are pairing up to hopefully nest on the reserve.  To right of the hide we had some great views of a hunting Stoat just that bit to far away for a decent shot though.  Just as we were about to leave a Peregrine shot over the reserve sending everything up in flight.  As we left the actual reserve and out on the main road we had to slow down to let 2 Red Legged Partridge cross the road - never expected that!
Key species for the day were Black tailed Godwits, Peregrine, Marsh Harrier, Redshank, Curlew, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Snipe, Wigeon, Shoveller, Teal, Pintail and Water Rail.

   Teal flock disturbed by a hunting Marsh Harrier

              Safety in numbers

   Redshank - good numbers now seen pairing up and calling 


   Great legs!

                  Shoveller - female

  Shoveler - male

                    Marsh Harrier

   Look at that eye - Marsh Harrier

                    Agile in flight with twists and turns

                  Eyes on us!

Stoat hunting around the lake edge

                  Foraging Stoat

   Lapwing - good numbers pairing up and displaying

                   Displaying Lapwings

    Carrion Crow

                  Peregrine whizz by 


                 Black tailed Godwits 

Godwit flypast

                   Greylake scene 

Black tailed Godwits

                   Godwits, Shoveler, Teal, Wigeon, Pintail 

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Shapwick & Ham Wall - Somerset Levels 23/3/16

A frosty but sunny early morning start for our visit to our local reserves of Shapwick and Ham Wall.  Our aim was to spend some time at Noah's hide hoping to catch a glimpse of some Otters that had been seen on Noah's Lake.  Unfortunately after a good hour or so we did not see any. We did however on our way to Noah's see our first ever Mink bounding along in the bracken.  From the hide itself we had a superb view of a Bittern fly past in front of the hide as well as listening to them booming around us.  There were at least 3 pairs of Great Crested Grebes on the lake head flicking and we saw one pair 'dance' if a little distant.  A kingfisher whizzed past a few times and was seen fishing from the trees in the lake.  Sand Martins were seen at the back of the lake skimming low over the water.
From the main path we had a great view of a circling Sparrowhawk getting ever higher in the sky.
On to Ham Wall where we virtually bumped into another Mink as it came out of the water onto the grass and sloped off into a woodpile.  Can't believe we would see 2 Mink in one day, beautiful animals.
There are still a few winter ducks to be seen as well as Great White Egrets and the coming and goings of the nesting Herons.
Highlights of the day had to be the Bittern, Kingfisher, Snipe,Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler, Bullfinch, Sparrowhawk, Chiffchaff, Sand Martin, Great Egret, and Mink.

Bittern fly past

                   Almost gliding

                    Beautiful tones in the sun

I bring weed - Great Crested Grebes


   The Grebes start to dance lifting out of the water

A brief dance and it's back to the head flicking

                   Kingfisher hunting from the stumps on Noah's Lake

   Dive, dive!

                  No fish this time - back to the perch


Chiffchaff singing from the willow


   Sparrowhawk way up high - often seen at Shapwick


  Look at that eye!

   Sparrowhawk - beautiful bird, great hunter 

                   Kestrel at Ham Wall car park 

  Mink - friend or foe a beautiful creature

                   Mink in the woodpile

   Tufted Duck 

                    Snipe at Ham Wall - fantastic camouflage