Saturday, 21 January 2017
We arrived at Ham Wall to a stunning frosty dawn and sunrise. The sun had not quite come up over the horizon but there was still a colour to the sky and the jaw dropping spectacle of 1000's of Starlings taking to the sky and heading to the fields for the day. Wow! What a moment of magic, one that will live with us forever. The sight, sound and colours of Starlings at dawn - ain't nature grand!
The day transformed into a beautiful sunny cold and frosty one which produced many sightings for us.
Our first stop was the Avalon Hide from where we watched a Marsh Harrier hunting over the reeds, a group of Bearded Tits seen and heard 'pinging' plus a quick view of a Bittern and Wigeon, Shoveler etc on the water. On towards the 2nd platform and then Loxtons and we noticed large numbers of Reed Buntings all over the reserve. Around Loxtons were both Great and Little Egrets, Grey Herons and a Bittern came into join them. Must be some rich pickings in one of the channels! As we walked around Loxtons in with some Reed Buntings we spotted a male and female Bearded Reedling which we were able to watch for about 5 minutes. Superb to get such a great view of them.
Our walk then led on to Waltons and a good walk around the track returning to the Tor View Hide and screens. From this area we saw Teal, Shoveler, Tufted, Snipe, a Bittern, Marsh Harrier, Great Crested Grebes and a Kingfisher.
48 species for the day and well worth the early start. Can't wait to do it all again.
Starling dawn, 1000's rising up from the reeds to start the day
Nature at her finest a sky full of colours
Spot the Reedling - quite a large group from the Avalon hide
Marsh Harrier - brilliant to watch at work!
Reed Bunting - good numbers seen all over the reserve today
What a stunning little bird!
Monday, 16 January 2017
Cloudy but bright with a very strong wind for our visit to Cheddar Reservoir. The car park was packed I guess because it was a Sunday a lot of folk were out for their pre dinner walk plus their dogs!
Part of the reservoir was taken up by a Pike fishing competition and the sailing club had boats out on the water so our visit was not a quiet one.
On arrival we quickly spotted the beautiful female Mandarin in with some Mallards. Didn't realise how small the Mandarin is compared to a Mallard. Not too far away a Red Crested Pochard came into view and then we spotted a lone female Goldeneye. Not bad for the first 10 minutes!
We eventually walked twice around the reservoir taking in the stunning views along the way and looking out for wildlife. Really good to see large numbers of Pochard here along with Tufted Ducks, Great Crested Grebes and huge numbers of Coot. Really love watching the way Coots seem to run across water often to give chase to a rival. Great to notice a Peregrine fly high over the reservoir and on to distant fields.
21 species of birds seen on an enjoyable walk - you just don't know what you may find on the reservoir!
Beautiful female Mandarin Duck
A Peregrine flew over the reservoir