Monday 19 March 2018

Final Winter Duck Tour

Today we had our final Winter Duck tour of the season.

With the harsh weather still around it would be interesting to see what is still with us.

On our first lake we found a small group of Red Crested Pochard along with Tufted Ducks and a Great Crested Grebe.

Moving on down the path we found in total 6 Chiffchaff all busy looking for food on the ground and low in the bushes, in the treetops 2 Great spotted Woodpeckers chased each other around.

Scanning one of the larger lakes we found a large raft of gulls mostly Black headed along with Common and a few Lesser black backed mixed in, also 5 Sand martins flying low over the surface hawking for insects. A small group of duck on the far bank turned out to be Wigeon on closer inspection.

Two of the smaller lakes both had a pair of Great Crested Grebes on them which gave a little bit of their head shaking display as we moved on by.

A few Redwing and Fieldfare were flying around along with a small group of Goldfinch, also seen a tiny Goldcrest searching for insects within the Ivy and a couple of Song Thrush.

Next stop we found a few different duck with Common Pochard found along with Gadwall and Mallard, moving onto our next view point we found the highlight of the day a fine red head Smew along with 2 female Goosander great to catch up with the two species.

On our walk back we found a couple of male Goosander along with several pairs of Goldeneye also seen a Little Egret fishing along the river.

A good mix of both summer and winter birds around today making for a very enjoyable tour.DT

Saturday 17 March 2018

First Spring Tour

Our first spring tour and we are greated with snow flurries and cold wind!!!!

Leaving the car park the first bird we found was a fine Great spotted Woodpecker moving its way up the trunk of a large tree also a single Robin sat on a low branch.

Looking out over the lake a male Goosander was found along with several Red Crested Pochard and a few Tufted duck, further round a Great Crested Grebe sat on the water keeping out of the wind.

In the lower bushes several Long tailed Tits, Blue Tit and a couple of Great tits were seen.

Moving onto a larger lake we found both male and female Goldeneye along with two pairs of Wigeon    and several small groups of gulls on the water, both Black headed and Common Gull in them. Other birds seen around the lake were Grey Heron, Cormorant and a small group of Sand Martins feeding low over the water.

Looking over one of the smaller lakes we found a pair on Great Crested Grebes which put on a wonderful display for us showing their weed dance, great to see this and now is the time to be looking out for this on the smaller lakes around the park.

Smaller birds were a little hard to find today but we did find Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Bullfinch, Goldfinch,

Further on another chiffchaff this time singing from the tree tops and a Red Kite drifted overhead.

Other birds seen included Reed Bunting, Collard Dove, Rock, Crow, Jackdaw and a small group of Redwing.

Just goes to show that the birds are still around even when the weather is not as expected for this time of year.DT

Friday 2 March 2018

March walk cancelled


We have cancelled the walk on the 3rd March due to the weather conditions.

Thursday 1 March 2018

A chilly Somerset Levels

We started our walk on RSPB Ham Wall, heading to Shapwick Heath NNR in the afternoon.

One of the first things we saw was the pair of stonechat along the large drainage ditch.

Male stonechat

Many of the berries had long been eaten, but there were still a few blackbird and song thrush foraging around the bushes. Other species seen at the start included blue tit, great tit, robin, wren and dunnock.

At the first viewing point we picked up a nice selection of waterfowl: coot, great crested grebe, gadwall, teal, wigeon, tufted duck, pintail, shoveler, mallard, mute swan and cormorant.
We were lucky enough to catch some of the display of the grebes too – brilliant!

Other birds seen here included the first two of many marsh harrier, as well as a grey heron and a rather splendid glossy ibis

Great crested grebe not carrying a feather!

We had a brief detour to look for a kingfisher that proved elusive. But we did see little grebe, moorhen and pochard.

Just along the path and we bumped into a little egret next to a great white egret, perfect for comparisons!

As we carried on, we heard a few blasts of some well-hidden cetti’s warblers. As we worked our way along the scrub and bushes, we saw chaffinch and long-tailed tit as well as goldfinch feeding on the seeds and insects.

A brief check from the second viewing point provided more marsh harriers, then onto the return path from which we had great views of a male bullfinch feeding on buds.

We carried onto the Avalon hide where we had excellent views of waterfowl and more marsh harriers, some of which came very close to us.On our way back for lunch we picked up the slightly less elusive kingfisher in the same area as before.

The afternoon started with an even closer view of a male bullfinch. We heard more Cetti’s warblers and had brief views of a goldcrest moving through the vegetation. We headed for Noah’s Lake where we had very close views of a great crested grebe, grey heron and a common snipe. Out on the lakes there were 1000s of duck, included in their number was a male goldeneye.


A great day! (NA)