Thursday, 12 January 2017

Westhay, Somerset Levels 11/1/17 - Grebes, Marsh Harrier, Gadwall, etc

A dry, sunny but very windy and cold day at Westhay. First stop was the hide at South Lake where there wasn't a single bird on the water probably due to the wind making the water quite choppy! Lots of birds on the 'fishing' lake a Great Crested Grebe, Tufted and Gadwall.  On to the new North Hide where we spent some time watching a pair of G C Grebes do every part of their courtship ritual apart from dance. Plenty of head flicking and even some diving for weed but no dance. 
Walking towards the screen hide there were Reed Buntings and on the lake keeping out of the wind were Teal, Shovelers, Tufted, and a group of Goosanders. We also got a good view of a Kingfisher hunkering down in the reeds and a Sparrowhawk flying low over the water.  
Our walk took us around to join Dags Lane Drove and on the way round in the fields were a group of Little Egrets and a Stonechat.  Continuing up the drove we eventually reached the Island Hide for lunch. Not too much happening from here but we did have a surprising flypast of a Bittern struggling to fly in the strong wind. A quick visit to the Viridor hide where there wasn't a single bird then we retraced our steps back to London Drove.  Back in the North Hide the G C Grebes  were still displaying and now also on the lake were some Gadwall plus Snipe on the reedy Island. A Marsh Harrier suddenly appeared in view and it coped amazingly flying across the reeds in the very strong winds.
A great days birding and walking in beautiful Somerset Levels countryside with a total of 42 species seen.

  Great Crested Grebe
                   Running across water - Grebes have quite small wings

   Nearly lift off!

                 Grebe greeting

    Presentation of weed but only one grebe dived for weed

                   Plenty of head flicking going on


    Shoveler flypast

                   Goosanders and Coot

   Goosander female


   Distant Sparrowhawk - seen flying low over the water

                  Roe Deer


                    Gadwall - male



                  A year round resident at Westhay

  Great and little Egret

                   Little Egret

   Gadwall pair


    Male Gadwall 



   The chase - get off my lake! The Grebes very territorial on their lake


                   Amazing colours of a Gadwall in flight


   Marsh Harrier


   Despite the gale force winds the Harrier still managed to hunt across the reeds


No comments:

Post a Comment