Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Westhay & Greylake 15/11 Beardies to Merlin

The weather forecast wasn't good, dull and overcast with possible rain afternoon. So once again we left in the dark to travel across the Somerset Levels to arrive at Westhay at 07:30.  Our main aim was to try and see Otters so we set ourselves up at the Island Hide as we had heard that they had been seen in this area. Unfortunately after a couple of hours we saw no Otters however being based at the Island hide the area didn't disappoint. Bearded Reedlings once again appeared on the boardwalk for their grit, their 'pinging' alerting us to their arrival. From the hide itself we had great views of a Snipe, Water Rail, a couple of Grey Wagtails, Gadwall, Teal, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Reed Bunting.
We took a walk to both the Virador and Tower Hides and there was absolutely nothing to be seen. The reeds need to be cut back to form islands and we were surprised to see that they had not been cut.
Next stop Greylake and the cloud was even thicker! Good to see the area start to flood and bringing in more duck species. The highlights had to be spotting a Merlin and watching it 'zoom' across the reeds, a Peregrine hunt and eat its kill, not forgetting the female Marsh Harrier sat still on its post the whole time.
All in all not a bad mornings birding despite the heavy cloud, not too good for photography but the memory of a Merlin whizzing over the reed tops will live with us forever.

   Gadwall male

                  Gadwall - female

   Kestrel hovering over the Bearded Reedling area - all birds hid!

                 Agile Kestrel


                  Can you see me?

                 Water Rail - mean face

   Losing ones head

                    The stare!

   Mr & Mrs - Bearded Reedlings (aka Bearded Tits)

                   A fine looking moustache 

                   Subtle colours on the female


   My good side!


    Pied Wagtail


                  Merlin eyeing up lunch

    Merlin zooming by over the reeds - they are fast!

                   Like a bullet!



Peregrine on the hunt - later observed eating its kill on a post

                 Duck numbers increasing at Greylake

Snipe - one of three fairly close to the hide at Greylake

                   Duck numbers increasing at Greylake

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