• Autumn at West Sedgemoor, Greylake and Swell Wood

    A warmish (weather wise) welcome from the West Sedgemoor, Greylake and Swell Wood reserves.

    As we start the autumn season the tractors are in full use on a daily basis. September and October are probably our most busy times, ironically as it is the quietest time for birds, where we need to manage up a hundred fields across West Sedgemoor and Greylake. Fields are either topped or weed wiped, with some receiving both treatments…

    • 10 Sep 2019
  • RSPB West Sedgemoor ‘Sponsor a Survey’

    Do you want to come on an evening adventure with us at RSPB West Sedgemoor, a reserve that is normally closed to the public, and discover the secrets of the moor at night? Then why not sponsor one of our quail surveys for this unique opportunity t...
    • 2 Apr 2019
  • Herons Above at Swell Wood - 13 & 14 April

    Don't miss this years Heron's Above at RSPB Swell Wood - April 13th and 14th 11 am - 3 pm! 

    Discover the herons at RSPB Swell Wood as they are building their nests and feeding their young. Staff and volunteers will be on hand to show you this amazing spectacle. As before we will have a scope and binoculars available to help give visitors close up views of the herons on their nests. Heron's are early nesters …

    • 27 Mar 2019
  • Greetings from the West Sedgemoor, Swell Wood and Greylake reserves.

    Greetings from the West Sedgemoor, Swell Wood and Greylake reserves.

    Hope you’ve all being basking in the glorious sunshine. Some may say that these examples of unseasonal weather are evidence of a coming climate apocalypse, but let’s enjoy it anyway!

    The site team, with help from their dedicated volunteers, have been busy making good progress on the maintenance of a number of hedges in the west section of…

    • 28 Feb 2019
  • Hide Closure at Swell Wood

    Hi All, 

    As we did last year we will be closing the hide at Swell Wood to allow the herons some space to establish territories and build nests without disturbance. Hopefully like last year this will encourage many of the herons to set up close to the hide providing everyone who visits with a great spectacle. The hide will be closed from the 6th February and will be open by mid March at the latest. So keep an eye out for…

    • 5 Feb 2019
  • Over 50,000 Lapwing counted at Greylake and West Sedgemoor - a quick update from Site Manager Harry

    On the nationally coordinated monthly wetland bird survey this month, staff and volunteers recorded an amazing 50,000 lapwing using our Greylake and West Sedgemoor reserves.

    Lapwing over West Sedgemoor.

    The reserves provide a vital refuge for lapwing which have moved here during the winter from Northern Europe. The numbers are particularly high at the moment as snow and ice in other parts of England and Western Europe force birds to move around…

    • 25 Jan 2019
  • An Update from Residential Volunteer James

    Greetings from West Sedgemoor, which includes Swell Wood and Greylake.

    As ever the end of 2018 was a busy one, although it became increasingly difficult to achieve maximum work efficiency while also eating as much cake and mince pies as possible. Despite this some major work was completed at the Fivehead end of the moor, and we were lucky enough to welcome residential volunteers from Aylesbeare and Arne who came over…

    • 23 Jan 2019
  • An update from Warden Steve

    An Update from Warden Steve 

    Our fantastic team of staff, volunteers and grazers have worked extremely hard to complete essential management work in key areas at Greylake ready for the wintering season.  This involved getting the fields in good condition by a combination of grazing and then mowing unpalatable vegetation.  We’ve also been coppicing willows around the hides - this we do on rotation so as to continually provide…

    • 18 Dec 2018
  • Greylake, Swell wood and West Sedgemoor season update

    An update from residential volunteer Helen Williams


    Working on nature reserves is always exciting, every day is different and no two days are the same. At West Sedgemoor we have been doing lots of estate work repairing fences, willow coppicing, chainsaw and tractor work before the winter months makes some places on the reserve inaccessible. We are currently coming the end of the summer season and into out winter work…

    • 8 Oct 2018
  • RSPB West Sedgemoor 'Sponsor a Survey'

    RSPB West Sedgemoor ‘Sponsor a Survey’

    This year on the 28th of November RSPB West Sedgemoor turns 40! To make the occasion we wanted to give people the chance to discover more about the work we do there and the chance to visit the moor at night. So do you want to come on an evening adventure with us at RSPB West Sedgemoor, a reserve that is normally closed to the public, and discover the secrets of the…

    • 4 Jun 2018
  • Greylake and Swell Wood in mid May

    It seems like mid Summer rather than Spring with all this glorious weather. The birds are just getting on with things regardless of course. Lapwing and redshank are the main waders about. Lapwing chicks have been seen from the hide. A pair of little grebe are often seen down in front of the hide. Yellow wagtails are about but are difficult to see. Our wonderful volunteers Rob, Jo and Mark have all seen red kite over the…

    • 21 May 2018
  • Greylake and Swell Wood in late April

    At Greylake the birds still seem to be settling down after the earlier late burst of winter. Lapwing and redshank are the most visible waders from the hide. A greenshank dropped in last Saturday (21st). It is a good year for bittern with 2 boomers in the reed beds. On the 20th I watched 2 bitterns in the air, one chasing the other, regularly 'barking', for about 8 1/2 minutes. Seeing bitterns in the air (over my head…

    • 29 Apr 2018
  • Greylake and Swell Wood in late March

    At Greylake we have had some lovely sightings of hares, water rails, redshank and a pair of cranes flying over the hide and landing just out of sight. Lapwing, snipe and various ducks can be seen within close proximity to the hide. Listen out for redshank calling and watch bearded tit feeding in the reed beds. There have been at least 5 great white egrets on the reserve. This last week or two has seen the reserve getting…

    • 6 Apr 2018
  • Greylake and Swell Wood Snowblog

    I did get down to Greylake on Sunday to do the WeBs count with Helen. We managed to see a bittern which was great. I also took some photos in the snow before it disappeared, both here and at Swell Wood. I hope you like them.

    West Sedgemoor from Swell Wood (DM)

    The herons are nesting now - good luck to them! (DM)

    The Beavers (like Scouts, not the animal!) built a bughouse in the wood recently - great isn't…

    • 22 Mar 2018
  • Greylake and Swell Wood in March

    Greylake is very wet now but we're approaching the breeding season and so hopefully the weather will be dry enough for us to start dropping water levels soon. However last week-end we were thinking more of snow, although we didn't get out to photograph it. We've still got our winter range of birds but with a few changes. A ruff was present on the 9th and curlew and redshank are back. Hearing their calls again is wonderful…

    • 17 Mar 2018
  • Greylake and Swell Wood 19th February 2018

    We've had some much better weather this last week and Greylake has been busy with people who have had great views of our regular range of birds. A lot of the birds have been close to the hides so hopefully photographers have been able to get some really good photographs of teal, wigeon, snipe and water rail. Our 'white' buzzard has been around again as have peregrines, marsh harriers and a sparrowhawk. Great white egrets…

    • 19 Feb 2018
  • Latest update from the levels

    Wildfowl numbers have been up to their thousands this week on West Sedgemoor, 6500 ducks, 18,000 lapwing and 9000 golden plover, occasionally all being disturbed by the Marsh harriers, Peregrines and Kestrels. Last Monday, the elusive male hen harrier was spotted by myself and Paul, assistant warden, along the south drove followed by a group of eight cranes.

    Hedge work continued this week but with a few more days on…

    • 13 Feb 2018
  • Greylake and Swell Wood update 040218

    The grey herons and little egrets in Swell wood are returning to pair up and repair their nests for the forthcoming breeding season. To reduce disturbance during this important time, the hide in Swell Wood is currently closed until the 1st March. If you want to learn more about the largest heronry in South West England and the wider reserves from the RSPB warden come along to Somerton Parish rooms on Tuesday 13th March…

    • 5 Feb 2018
  • Temporary car park and reserve closure at Greylake and hide closure at Swell Wood

    Hi Everyone, 

    Just a quick update about the reserve closure coming up next week at Greylake. There will be no access to the Greylake car park or the reserve itself from 5 pm on Sunday 28 January until 9 am on Tuesday 30 January. 

    On Monday 29th January the reserve team and a contractor will be pollarding the willows around the picnic area and the entrance gateway. The contractor will be bringing in a 360 slew to crop…

    • 23 Jan 2018
  • January sightings

    Second post of the year and what a start to the year it’s been! The warden team have been getting back into the swing of things and are back outside managing the hedge on Red Hill situated behind the farm at West Sedgemoor and the hedge along the south drove has been started on, clearing the bramble and the rose so there is plenty of area for laying the bigger trees in the coming weeks. Last week we were joined by the…

    • 23 Jan 2018
  • The New Year at Greylake and Swell Wood

    Lapwing numbers have increased greatly at Greylake and there are a lot more teal, and to a lesser extent shoveler about now.

    A male teal from the hide (David Miller)

    Rob and Jo saw thousands and thousands of lapwing with golden plover in between and described the back drop of the dark skies towards Weston Zoyland and the turning of these birds with the sunlight catching them which was fantastic. Various birds of prey…

    • 9 Jan 2018
  • Christmas at Greylake and West Sedgemoor

    So it’s been a busy couple of weeks coming up to Christmas for the team at West Sedgemoor but we’ve enjoyed every bit of it. Earlier on last week the warden team began restoring the next section of hedge on Red Hill, West Sedgemoor, clearing the bramble and blackthorn and laying the trees left. Whilst hacking away at the trees, one of our weekly volunteers, Vicky, came across a really interesting find hidden on the branches…

    • 21 Dec 2017
  • Incidents at Greylake

    I hope everyone is enjoying Greylake now that it is wetting up and the winter birds are starting to increase. Unfortunately it was discovered just over a week ago that someone had tampered with the electric fence adjacent to the hides (attached to the predator exclusion fence) and removed the signs warning that the fence was electrified. The predator exclusion fence is in place to protect the breeding lapwing population…

    • 13 Dec 2017
  • Greylake and Swell Wood 8th December 2017

    We've upped the water levels on Greylake to near their maximum and are now waiting for some rain before we can get them to their ideal level for the winter. The lapwing and golden plover are usually further down the reserve or on the fields by the roadside approaching the reserve and there have been over 100 dunlin around and a few black-tailed godwits. There are at least three marsh harriers and with buzzards and the…

    • 9 Dec 2017
  • Greylake and Swell Wood in early December

    This week the wardening team and its day volunteers have been making excellent progress hedge laying at Fivehead (near Swell Wood). We look forward to watching its progress and are hoping for vigorous regrowth in the spring - perhaps the Brown Hairstreaks will find it to their liking.


    Annie and Dave hedge laying (Helen Williams)

    Whilst dragging the brash to the fire, I came across the slimy and vividly blue Verdigris…

    • 5 Dec 2017