Sunday, 30 September 2018

Somerset Levels day tour

Today saw us on the Somerset Levels.

We headed into the RSPB’s Ham Wall reserve on a fine morning, stopping at the rail bridge we scanned around and found a couple of Chiffchaff and heard Cetti's Warblers calling, we headed on down the path to the first viewing platform (VP1) where we had a brief view of a Kingfisher sat on a post, next we saw a Marsh Harrier and a Buzzard also Great White Egrets. Little Grebes and Water Rails were calling. Next we heard the pinging calls of Bearded tits coming from deep within the reedbed, so a bit of patience was required which some paid off with a flock of 25 birds seen moving around the reedbeds some giving good scope views albeit brief ones.

We moved onto the next area and found several species of duck out on the water giving very close views, Gadwall, Mallard, Shoverler, Teal and a few Wigeon and Pochard also a couple of Marsh harriers were flying around in the distance. A Bittern was seen moving around in front of the reedbed but soon disappeared into cover typical behaviour!!

Moving to a wetter muddy area we found a flock of waders that consisted of Black tailed godwit and 25 Knot also Lawping and Snipe could be seen. 

Another few Bearded tit were seen along with another Kingfisher before returning to the car for lunch.

We headed out to Shapwick reserve in the afternoon with a light cool breeze starting to get up definitely cooler than this morning. En route we saw Linnets, Swallows and House Martins, and in the car park we glimpsed a female Blackcap and a very confiding Buzzard sat on the main gate post, while along the path Chiffchaff, Blackbird and Dunnock were all feeding on berries.
On the first reedbed pool there were a few Teal, Gadwall and a Little Grebe. Birdsong is almost over by now, but we heard a few snatches of a Cetti’s Warblers from time to time.

From Noah’s Hide we heard Water Rail calling, and saw over 100 Mute Swans, along with Little and Great White Egrets, Canada and Greylag Geese, and Great Crested Grebes, we also saw a Bittern fly in and land in the nearby reedbed all good sightings.

Later in the day we headed to Catcott lows to see if we could find any Cattle Egrets and was rewarded with around 15 birds feeding around the cattle. A good end to another wonderful wildlife experience on the Somerset levels.DT

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Cotswold Waterpark half day

Today we visited the Cotswold Waterpark on a fine September morning.

First sighting of the day was the blue flash of a Kingfisher as it flew away up the Thames a good start.

On our first lake we found Tufted duck, Great Crested Grebe and a couple of Red Crested Pochard along with a single Cormorant.

Moving on several small birds could be heard it the bushes which turned out to be Blue. Great and Long tailed tits, also a single Chiffchaff.

Walking on we saw a Hobby fly over along with a Buzzard and several black headed gulls.

The bird of the day today was definitely the Robins singing from every area we visited.

Another Kingfisher was seen flying around the lake which had a few Wigeon and teal on a sign that winter is on the way.

Both Grey heron and Little Egret seen feeding around the edge of the lake along with several Gadwall and Mallard.

Latter in the day a Cattle Egret was found amongst the local cattle picking off the many flies that landed on the cattles faces.

With winter on its way we should start to see lots more wildfowl returning to the park.

A pleasant morning in the autumn sunshine.DT