Sunday 27 September 2015

Somerset Levels

On 25th September we had a trip to the Somerset Levels.

The weather was clear and still, giving near perfect conditions!

We started off with a walk around Shapwick Heath where we almost instantly started to near bearded tits pinging from the reedbeds. They were our constant companions for the next half an hour or so, we must have seen over 50 birds flying around and feeding on the reedheads. We even had a particularly inquisitive juvenile land on the track-side docks about 20 metres from us.

There were very decent muddy margins which hosted two ruff, a green sandpiper, four snipe and a black-tailed godwit.

black-tailed godwit

Well, I say four snipe, a carrion crow flew over the area where the snipe were and forty flew out!
We had a great opportunity to compare little egret with great white egret as well, the latter dwarfing the former. While all this was going on we had four sightings of bittern in flight, one of which flew right over us. Great stuff!

As we walked around we were able to do a lot of duck comparison between many species including mallard, teal, gadwall, shoveler, tufted duck and pochard. We also had excellent views of little and great crested grebe, as well as all too fleeting ones of marsh harrier, kingfisher, lesser redpoll and siskin.

In the afternoon, we spent  most time trying to get better views of marsh harrier and any views of cetti's warbler and water rail, we must have heard twenty each of the latter two but no decent views sadly.

We did however have fantastic views of an immature male marsh harrier quartering the reeds for about 15 minutes - brilliant!

immature male marsh harrier

All in all a very enjoyable day! (NA)

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