Friday 22 November 2019

Somerset Levels Starlings.

Starlings galore today!!

An early start to see the Starlings lift off which did not disappoint, getting on for 100,000 birds coming out in quick succession is a wonderful sight and sound and all to myself too.

The main path itself can provide lots of interest. 3 bullfinch, treecreeper, 7 goldcrest, 10 chiffchaff, 50+ goldfinch and 6 reed buntings (from the old rail bridge) all recorded. Stop off at the 1st viewing platform (VP1) to see the lovely groups of black tailed godwits and Lapwings using the area. 

A Bittern dropped into the reeds in front of VP1 Also in Loxtons,kingfishers spotted from the screen, plenty of little grebes both here and around the reserve, a great crested grebe also seen from the screen and the usual group of cormorants sitting on the raft.
Great white egrets are usually fairly easy to spot around the Avalon Marshes. we found several fishing in front of the Avalon hide giving close views. You may also see the odd little egret. Bizarrely, unlike most sites, these are harder to come by at Ham Wall than great white or cattle egret and perhaps even bittern these days.
Wildfowl numbers are building slowly but as many as 270 teal were counted in front of VP1 and VP2. Look out also for wigeon, shoveler, mallard, gadwall, tufted duck, pochard and shoveler. 
Other winter visitors include the Redwing and Fieldfare. As many as 100 redwing were seen in the car park trees and we had numerous sightings of both redwing and fieldfare throughout the reserve. 
We found Stonechats in front of VP1, Grey wagtail, Sparrowhawk seen from the car park and the Avalon Hide, kestrel seen hovering beyond the bottom of the car park.
Marsh harriers have been really easy to spot today up to 5 have been seen using all parts of the reserve. They are particularly evident after the starling roost has left. They quarter over the roost site looking for any dead starlings for a nice easy meal.
On Shapwick Heath 2 Whopper swans on Noah's lake along with a group on 20 Pintail and several water rail calling, duck numbers are starting to build up also.
We finished off watching the Starlings coming back into roost for the evening, this is a great way to end a goods days Birdwatching on the Somerset levels. No doubt we will be back a few more times before the winter ends.DT.f

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