Monday, 20 March 2017

Westhay 9/3/17 - G C Grebes, Marsh Harrier, Peregrine

Arrived at Westay at around 07.30 am to very grey skies and misty drizzle. The forecast was for the skies to clear quickly but it took its time to clear. Driving across Tealham Moor to get to Westhay we discovered a new Heronry with at least 6 nests plus at least 30 Little Egrets together in a field.
Our full walk around Westhay started at the Lake Hide then on to the end of London Drove visiting the other hides and screens on the way.  At the end of London Drove we turned right onto the road and then took a right onto Daggs Lane which brought us back onto the reserve.  We paid a visit to Island and Virador Hides but there was nothing to be seen.  The same with the Tower Hide not even a Bittern or Marsh Harrier.  The best part of the day was around lunchtime when we had walked back to the new North hide. We were informed that we had just missed a Grebe Dance, we didn't see the dance but we had some great views of the Great Crested Grebes displaying and nest building.  Two pairs of Marsh Harriers were also seen as well as a Peregrine in hot pursuit of a Snipe, which it failed to catch.
Brilliant to see a Great Egret come in close as well noticing it's lovely breeding plumage and colours.
30 Species seen today with some close encounters and a lovely 6 mile walk around the reserve.

   Marsh Harrier on its usual tree


  Little Grebe

                    Walking in the air - Little Grebe whizzing across the water 

Canada Goose

                    Celandine- herald of Spring

   Violets - always a welcome sight

                   One of last years young Mute Swan

   Taking a bath
                   Head flicking Grebes

                    Nest building 

   Wow! That's some stick

                   Marsh Harrier 

                   Brilliant to watch the Marsh Harrier in flight over the reeds



   Peregrine heading off after its miss of a Snipe

                   Gadwall, good numbers at Westhay

   Grebe nest, one of two being 'chosen' by this pair of Grebes

                   Reaching that itch

   Attending the nest



   It's going to be some nest! 
                   Showing off - Grebe display style


                   That sinking feeling

    Amazing how the Grebes almost lift out of the water


   Showing the wing bars

                   Great Egret flying in

   The Egret is landing


    Green lores, blackening beak it must be breeding time


   Egret disturbing a Snipe almost looks like it's eating it!


    More wing bar display from the Great Crested Grebe



   Coltsfoot another early Spring flower

                   Black Swan in with some Mute Swans as we were driving home across Tealham        

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