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 

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