Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Ham Wall & Shapwick 17/10/16

A beautiful sunny but cool day on the Somerset Levels that saw us start with the Ham Wall side at around 08:30.  On route to the Avalon hide we had great views of a Stonechat family feeding along the channel edge and a Bittern flew across our path. Quite a few duck species are now gathering at the first platform and the water at the Avalon hide, winter is on the way!
We had the Avalon hide to ourselves where we spent a brilliant 2 hours watching Marsh Harriers, Kingfishers, Bittern, Great White Egrets, Shoveler, Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal etc come and go. Bearded Reedlings were seen and heard pinging, I wonder if they will ever use the grit table put up to attract them?  What a superb way to relax but sometimes a little tense when trying to get that shot! Also had our first view of a Redwing for the winter season.
Not much was seen from the second platform as the reeds still need to be cut back. As always along the path back to the carpark we saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker in its favourite tree.  Surprising to still see a few butterflies catching the very last of the Suns warmth Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, Peacock, Comma and a Small Copper.
On to the Scrape on the Shapwick side where we got caught in a shower! From the Tower Hide there was still a single Green Sandpiper, a few Ruff, Snipe, the Glossy Ibis pair, Lapwing and increasing numbers of Ducks.
Noah's Lake has hundreds of Coots on it at the moment and we were amazed to witness them all gather together in a 'raft' when something spooked them.  Quite a sight.
All in all another great day out on the Levels - 47 bird species seen and 5 species of butterflies.

Stonechat family seen in the reeds

   Juvenile Stonechat

                 Plenty of Herons to be seen stalking their prey

   Intense concentration of the hunter



                Buzzard - a common sight on the Levels

Marsh Harrier - great views of this beautiful bird from the Avalon Hide

                   Looking for prey - Marsh Harrier

   The elusive one and only Bittern

                  Amazing talons on those feet

                   Beautiful subtle tones and shades in the sunlight

   Great White Egret


   We never tire of seeing this beautiful Egret on the Levels


   Red Admiral

                    Small Copper


                   Great Spotted Woodpecker


                 Little Grebe - quite often heard and not seen

    Glossy Ibis on the Scrape, Shapwick


   Still hard to believe that the Glossy pair are a fairly common sight at the moment

                 Can you see me?

   Coot raft Noah's Lake, Shapwick.  Amazing to see them form this giant 'raft' when          frightened by something.  

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Somerset Level magic 4/10/16 Beardies, Kingfishers, Ruff etc

An early start on the levels and a first call to Westhay hoping to try and get a shot of the Bearded Reedlings on reeds! Arrived to the Island hide boardwalk with 3 other birders / photographers present and already 'Beardies' on the boardwalk. We never tire of this striking bird but being a bit breezy the birds were not climbing to the tops of the reeds.
From Westhay we ventured on to Shapwick and the scrape. From the new hide we had some good views of Black tailed Godwits, a few Knot with the Godwits,  Ruff, Greenshank, Little Stint, Green Sandpiper, Great Egret, Marsh Harrier, Bittern etc. There are also increasing duck numbers here now. The two Glossy Ibis flew over the hide in the direction of Noah's lake.
From Noah's lake we watched for sometime at least 3 Kingfishers chase and hunt up and down the channels. Huge numbers of Coot on the lake the most We've ever seen here. 

   Boardwalk Bearded Reedling

                   Female Beardies

                   Stunning birds

   On the reeds

                   Master acrobats

                 Autumnal feel

   Taking flight

                 Ruff on the scrape

Green Sandpiper - flying south? 

                Knot with Godwits


         Increasing duck numbers

   Little Stint and Lapwing

                   Glossy Ibis fly over 




Fishing from up high. Fantastic watching the Kingfisher dive from here