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