Thursday, 16 June 2016

Somerset- Day 2 - Swell Wood, Greylake & Shapwick Heath

Day 2, Wednesday, saw a very dull and damp start. We started by going to RSPB Swell Wood, little knowing that Springwatch had done a feature on the Herons there, earlier in the spring. Swell Wood is a cracking little place with the woodland hide only 60m or so from the car park. We settled in for a coffee and watched the Heron and Little Egret activity up on the nests.
Last time we visited there was plenty of woodland bird activity on a small pond in front of the hide, sadly this was quite over grown and with the dull cold wet weather there was little about, we did manage a brief glimpse of Goldcrest and Spotted Flycatcher.
A nice moment was had when a family came in and we let them use our scope and binoculars to get good views of the nesting birds, lets hope it fires their interest.

The car park is also productive as there are quite a few feeders dotted around, the main visitors were Chaffinch, Blue & Great Tits, but with appearances by Nuthatch and two Great Spotted Woodpeckers, always nice to see close up.

After Swell Woods we drove on up to RSPB Greylake and spent some time there, again there were feeders and feeding tables next to the car park, immediatley giving us Reed Bunting and Goldfinch.

As happens a lot of times, you sit down in a hide and think there's nothing there, but when you give it time (and a coffee) things begin to reveal themselves.
 Marsh Harrier,
Kingfisher, there were no perches for this chap, so he took to being a Kestrel and hovering, just wish it had come closer and that it hadn't been so dull, so I could have got a better photo.
 Grey Heron with obstinate Eel lunch,
 After much wriggling and trying he finally gets it down.

Now on to Shapwick Heath NNR, this took us much longer to get to that the 10 mins or so the sat nav said as one of the roads was closed just south of the reserves so we had to go a long way around.

Once there we wanted to check out the new tower hide at Shapwick, we were really impressed, with curved sides it gave excellent views across the water and the reed beds, I have to say though it was freezing! The wind blew straight through with all the windows open and it wasn't warm to start with that day. But we put up with it.

We had some great Marsh Harrier sightings here again without banging on too much just wish the light had been better, but I did get some photos,
Some distant Black-tailed Godwit,
 Marsh Harriers, we watched the male hunting for ages and come back, call, then the female would come off the nest in the reeds for a food pass.... brilliant..!!

We heard Bittern booming all over the place, but in the few hours we were there, none showed. All in all a great day, would recommend all three reserves.

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