Friday, 14 April 2017

Shapwick & Ham Wall

Travelling across the Levels towards Shapwick we were very fortunate to spot a beautiful Brown Hare in one of the fields near Mark.  We have seen Hares in these fields a few times and always take a slow drive in the hope of seeing one.  This morning didn't disappoint and we had a great view of one chewing away at the grass.  Pretty certain that it was the same Hare we saw several hours later as we drove home, this time with the afternoon sun on its fur.
Shapwick side first this time and the new Tower Hide which was already busy with birding folk.  The scrape had now drained sufficiently to form small islands and here we saw Redshank, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover and a large group of Black tailed Godwits but no sign of the Black Winged Stilt that had been seen the previous day.  We left Tower Hide and walked onto Mere Hide where we had fantastic views of a Marsh Harrier pair displaying and gathering nesting material. The woodland seemed full of birds in song including Blackcaps, Willow Warblers, Ciffchaffs and a Treecreeper.  Not a lot going on at Noah's hide with most duck species now departed.  Plenty of noise from the Reed Warblers but this time we didn't see one.
On to Ham Wall and the Avalon hide.  Good views of a restless flock of Bearded Reedlings as well as Marsh Harriers.  The pair of Glossy Ibis had a flyby and seemed to land in the second platform area. The highlight for the Avalon hide had to be the nesting Great crested Grebe pair.
Walking round to the first willow screen from the Avalon hide a Glossy Ibis was feeding right in front of us.  With the sun on its feathers you could really see the multitude of rainbow colours of its plumage.  The 2nd Ibis was seen in the distance.  Our walk took us past the 2nd platform and around Loxtons back to the Tor view hide.  Booming Bitterns could be heard as we walked but no Cuckoo as yet.  From one of the screens at the Tor View  group a single Common Sandpiper was sharing a raft with a group of Pochard, the Sandpiper looked tiny.
A few butterflies out in the afternoon sun Speckled Wood and plenty of Orange Tips.
Another today on the levels with 56 birds seen including Blackcap, Cettis Warbler, Bullfinch, Bittern, Little Ringed Plover, Redshank, Ringed Plover, Gadwall, Common Sandpiper, Glossy Ibis, Marsh Harrier, Black tailed Godwits, Swallow, Bearded Reedling, Jay, Kingfisher etc

   Beautiful Brown Hare


   Look at those ears!




   Well worth the early start to catch sighting of a Hare on the Levels

                  Ringed Plover at the 'scrape' Shapwick

    Little Ringed Plover - note the golden eye ring

                   Blackcap - always deep in the undergrowth!

   Singing out his melody

                   Cettis Warbler

   Female Marsh Harrier

                   Marsh Harrier landing for nesting material

   Off to the nest, fantastic to know that they are nesting


   Keeping a tight grip


   The Harrier kept coming back for more nesting material





   Big stick time! Must be some nest.

                  A Great Egret flew into the new improved lagoon at Mere Hide


                  Only to be chased off by another Great Egret

    Little Egret from Noah's Hide the only thing of interest here

   Plenty of small fish for the Egret to stare at, a massive Pike jumped a couple of times

                  Common Sandpiper and Pochard from the screen at Ham Wall


   From the Avalon hide great to see the Grebe pair have a nest plus egg


                 Careful with those feet

                Tending the nest

   Proud parents to be


                 Glossy Ibis from one of the screens on the way to the 2nd platform

                    Wow! Stunning colours revealed with a feather shake

                   Showing the glossy in the Glossy Ibis

                  Another great songster

   Orange Tip - plenty in the afternoon sun at Ham Wall


                   Female Orange Tip

   Another nesting Grebe


   Brown Hare in the afternoon sun. Was this the same one as this morning? Seen in the same location.


                   So honoured to see the beautiful Hare in Somerset.

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