• Mighty swallows and giant wasps

    Greetings from Greylake, West Sedgemoor and Swell Wood. Thanks for stopping by this week.

    I thought I'd start this blog with our amazing swallows. With two broods successfully fledged already (perhaps nine or ten chicks), they're back on eggs again. I hope that means that there's plenty of food out there for our flying invertebrate eaters as we know that this is becoming more of a problem for them in general. Levels of…

    • 6 Aug 2020
  • A trip to Aylesbeare and a bevy of butterflies

    Hello and welcome to another blog from Greylake, West Sedgemoor and Swell Wood, with a guest appearance from RSPB Aylesbeare in Devon.

    Yes, this week I spent three days down at Aylesbeare learning how to drive a tractor. That way I can contribute more to the essential work programme here, which involves quite a bit of tractor work in the late summer and early autumn. I'm pleased to say I passed the course but there will…

    • 31 Jul 2020
  • Fritillaries at Fivehead and hay in the meadows

    Welcome to another blog from Greylake, West Sedgemoor and Swell Wood after a week's break. I enjoyed my time off, being able to switch off my mind and body for a little while. I'm always surprised by how tired I feel the first week back after a holiday. You get used to relaxing very quickly! So I'm looking forward to the weekend (writing this on Friday) and I'm sure next week will be easier.

    They say make…

    • 24 Jul 2020
  • A flurry of fledglings

    Welcome to this week's blog from Greylake, West Sedgemoor and Swell Wood. It feels to me that our seasons have got all confused. Spring was more like summer, with soaring temperatures through April and May, and very little rain. Then June was very wet and July is grey and windy so far. There's a sense of Autumn in the air, even though we haven't even quite reached midsummer in meteorological terms. I wonder if summer…

    • 10 Jul 2020
  • Snakes, fungus and bugs. What more could you ask for?

    So we move into July and the weeks seem to be passing more and more quickly. It feels like I just post one blog and here I am writing the next. It's a good job I enjoy doing it. Yes, welcome to this weeks update from Greylake, West Sedgemoor and Swell Wood.

    At the end of each month, we collate the rainfall data and see how much we've had in total. In February (the wettest on record I might add), we had a total of…

    • 3 Jul 2020
  • A walk on West Sedgemoor at dawn and other news

    And the sunshine is back, and stronger than ever. Yes we've been sweltering this week here at Greylake, West Sedgemoor and Swell Wood, as I'm sure many of you have been.

    We had a couple of early morning surveys to do this week and even at seven o'clock on Wednesday and Thursday, it was extremely hot walking about out on the moor, not to mention the horse fly bites and soaking wet, thigh high grass to wade through…

    • 26 Jun 2020
  • Did I say we needed rain?

    Hello from a very, very wet Greylake, West Sedgemoor and Swell Wood.

    We've been suffering this week from what I like to call 'apocalyptic rain'. The sort of rain that can knock you off your feet, cause flash flooding and general destruction. I was driving on the A303 on Tuesday when it came down and had to pull over in a lay by for 10 minutes because I couldn't see the road and I wasn't the only one. I was luckier on…

    • 19 Jun 2020
  • Greylake reserve open, eggs on the farm and chicks on the moor

    Hello and welcome to this weeks blog from Greylake, West Sedgemoor and Swell Wood, where we’ve had yet another swing in the weather. We had a pretty wild and windy end to the week, with a bit of proper rain to help the plants grow.

    The big news is that Greylake reserve is now open. Thank you for your patience as we've taken a little while to get there. I finished late on Thursday and Friday to power through the…

    • 12 Jun 2020
  • A walk through a British meadow and some rain at last

    Hello from a suddenly chilly Greylake, West Sedgemoor and Swell Wood and welcome to the first blog of summer, even if it doesn’t feel like it right now. What a turnaround we have had. Our weatherstation recorded a temperature of 32 degrees on Tuesday, and then a mere 17 on Wednesday. That’s a 15 degree drop in 24 hours. We also had about 4.5 mm of rain on Wednesday, which was very welcome, although not enough to make…

    • 7 Jun 2020
  • Swell Wood open, baby birds everywhere and the sun just keeps shining

    Hello and a very warm welcome to this weeks blog from Greylake, West Sedgemoor and Swell Wood. I think we’ve been baking more than basking this week with the endless sunny skies and soaring temperatures. This was the moor on Friday afternoon, although you can’t really see the heat shimmer.

    We were very happy this week to be able to open Swell Wood to visitors on Friday afternoon. We’ve been working hard strimming…

    • 31 May 2020
  • Fledging, fledging, semi-fledging and not fledging

    Hello from Greylake, West Sedgemoor and Swell Wood, where we have been basking in the late spring sunshine this week, well mostly anyway. I managed to get stuck down here without any of my summer clothes when lockdown was imposed, so I did some emergency online shopping last week for some lightweight work trousers and I have been very grateful for them so far. Hopefully you all have sensible clothes with you and are therefore…

    • 24 May 2020
  • Here comes the summer

    Hello once again. I’m back with another update from Greylake, West Sedgemoor and Swell Wood.

    As we move towards summer, the moor gets more and more glorious. The grass is getting longer, many fields are carpets of yellow and white flowers, there is a constant serenade of birdsong, with skylarks, sedge warblers, reed buntings and many others all adding to the tune. There are colourful dragonflies and butterflies…

    • 17 May 2020
  • Swallow chicks make an appearance and other nest news

    Hi and welcome to this week’s update from Greylake, West Sedgemoor and Swell Wood.

    I’m pleased to say I can give you a roundup of activity on the farm. On Monday and Tuesday we were working here quite a bit, so I got a chance to look out for those nests I’ve been following.

    The swallow chicks have definitely hatched. I brought the memory card from the camera on Friday and it was packed with great videos…

    • 10 May 2020
  • Flowers changing colour and introducing...swallow cam

    A new month has arrived and this week has also seen a big change in the weather. The endless blue skies have disappeared, replaced with bubbling grey clouds and heavy rain showers. It might be good for the ground but it’s never much fun to work in. Still, the week has ended on a dry, if blustery note, so I can’t complain too much. I took some pictures on my Saturday walk and nothing says summer's on its way like happy…

    • 3 May 2020
  • 3 D's - dragonflies, damselflies and drumming snipe

    Ok, so I may have struggled a bit with the 3 D's, and you might say that having both dragon and damsel flies is cheating, but hopefully you'll still enjoy the blog.

    Yes, here we are again and it’s going to be quite a long one this week, I think. As spring really takes hold, there’s more and more going on out there for me to show you.

    Whenever you go outside at the moment, spring assaults your senses…

    • 24 Apr 2020
  • 3 C's - Curlews, cranes and crows

    Hello again. Another week we’ve all made it through. I hope everyone is well and still coping with lockdown. I’ve been feeling rather sheltered from it all in my little West Sedgemoor bubble. It’s only when I venture out to buy food that I really notice quite how different the world is, and when I remember that there is usually a lot more people in the office! I’m very much enjoying giving you my weekly update on the…

    • 17 Apr 2020
  • 3 B's - birds, butterflies and bats

    Hello and welcome to an Easter Sunday edition of my blog from Greylake, West Sedgemoor and Swell Wood. I’ve got my Easter egg tucked in the cupboard, ready for the weekend. I hope you’ve got some lockdown fun planned. You might not be able to do some of the usual things, but I’ve always found an Easter egg hunt in the garden, or even round the house, is lots of fun.

    I have another lovely picture of West…

    • 12 Apr 2020
  • Wildlife, warm weather, and back to work (sort of)

    Welcome to another update from Greylake, West Sedgemoor and Swell Wood reserves.

    I will begin with another photo overlooking West Sedgemoor, taken from a bit higher up the hill when I was out on my daily exercise last weekend. 

    Following the new restrictions that were put in place last week we have been given special permission to  carry out some essential work and repairs which support the farming operation here at West…

    • 3 Apr 2020
  • At least the sun has been shining

    Hi and welcome to a slightly different sort of blog from West Sedgemoor, Greylake and Swell Wood.

    Usually our blogs have updated you on what's been going on on our reserves. This week, nothing has been going on at all. On Tuesday we went out and shut up shop until the government can lift restrictions on our movements. All the staff have been working from home. Luckily, West Sedgemoor is my home. The reserve is essentially…

    • 27 Mar 2020
  • COVID-19: Closure of Somerset reserves

    Following the latest clear instructions from the Government for us all to remain at home apart from a limited number of allowed activities, we are closing our reserve to visitors until further notice.

    This means we will close our car park, toilets, hides and the Mini Marshes to the public at Ham Wall and the car parks and hides at Swell Wood and Greylake. These measures are on top of the existing closure of our Welcome…

    • 24 Mar 2020
  • Last resi-vol standing

    I'll start with an apology for the length of time without a blog from Greylake, West Sedgemoor and Swell Wood. At first it was just a busy time with work, and then coronavirus hit and everything went a bit mad.

    My second apology is that I will be mentioning coronavirus, but I'll try to keep it to a minimum because I know everyone's hearing a lot about it at the moment.

    Everything has been terribly quiet here…

    • 23 Mar 2020
  • Heronry hide open and other news

    Another week, another storm, another blog.

    Fiona would usually be writing this week but she's away at another reserve, getting some different experience, so I'm here instead. Although the weather never seems to change these days, the signs that spring is here are clear in Swell Wood, where a visit can now be highly recommended. There are flowers out on the woodland floor, including primroses, violets, and some other yellow…

    • 28 Feb 2020
  • The rain goes on, plus tracks in the mud

    Welcome to another blog from Greylake, West Sedgemoor and Swell Wood. The main question on everyone's lips at the moment is: will the rain ever stop?

    Although, being a wetland reserve, we quite like a decent bit of winter rain to keep our ducks and waders happy, even we are starting to pray for a few dry days. To illustrate how much rain has come down in the last week or so (if you needed reminding), here is a photo…

    • 20 Feb 2020
  • Fascinating fasciation

    I’ve rather lost track of the weather this month.  Two storms in two successive weekends and I am sent into a confusion.  I counted the first storm as fairly significant but, by the time the second one came along, it seems I’d u...
    • 17 Feb 2020
  • Peregrine vs. marsh harrier (and more hedging)

    Hello and welcome to a slightly late blog from Greylake, Swell Wood and West Sedgemoor. Last week was a bit hectic as Tom was away on a chainsaw course and another member of staff headed off for a new job at Insh Marshes in Scotland. I had a day off on Friday as well, so Fiona was left picking up the pieces, which didn't quite manage to include the blog. But as the remnants of Storm Ciara have us hiding in the office…

    • 10 Feb 2020