Saturday 31 October 2015

Autumn tour on The Somerset Levels

An early morning start on the somerset levels to watch the starlings leaving their roost site.

The birds left the roost site in five different waves each containing about twenty thousand birds, total estimated birds in excess of one hundred thousand. With winter drawing in this number can expand ten fold to well over one million birds making a fantastic winter spectacle.

The morning exodus can be better than watching them come back into the reedbeds for the evening roost.
After the starlings leave a couple of Marsh harrier's normally patrol the area looking for any dead or injured birds that make an easy meal.

Also perched in a nearby tree a lone Peregrine falcon always a good bird to catch up with.

Heading back along the track a couple of Bittern flew over the reedbeds on their way to feed in the nearby pools these turned out to be the only sightings of the day.

After a quick break we ventured out along the main track back into the main reserve area checking the top of the reeds as we went, after a little time we could see a couple of small birds perched at the top of the reeds which turned out to be two Bearded tits a superb male and a female always good to see these lovely little birds. Further along the track overlooking one of the pools a Kingfisher was found which soon flew out and hoovered above the water looking for small fish, no luck on this occasion.

Three species of owl seen and heard on the day included a Barn owl sat sunning its self outside a nest box, a Short eared owl passing through high being chased by a couple of crows and a Tawny owl calling from inside the wooded area.

With autumn well underway a few flocks of Redwing and Fieldfare could be seen flying over head.

After lunch we spent more time looking for Marsh harrier's so sat at a good viewpoint and waited for the birds to pass, it was not long before two birds could be seen quartering the reed beds just to our left giving fantastic views in the afternoon sunlight, a total of five different birds were seen throughout the day.

Other birds seen included Little and Great white egret, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Little grebe, Reed bunting, various duck species.

With the days shorter now we stayed on to watch the Starlings come back into the roost a truly wonderful end to another glorious day in Somerset. DT

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