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 goings on here so I hope you enjoy reading it just as much.

Here are my usual view of West Sedgemoor photos.

  

They were taken from right in the middle of the reserve, looking west, on Wednesday, which was extremely warm and sunny. I’ve been very warm this week, until Friday morning, when I ended up soaked to the skin and having to change all my clothes. Welcome rain for the ground, and the waders that rely on it being wet to feed, but not so welcome for me as I returned home feeling rather soggy.

I’ll begin with an update on the nesting activity round the farm. The swallows continue zooming in and out over our heads. The nest is looking much more complete and indeed I saw one bird actually sitting on it a couple of days ago, although I’m sure they haven’t laid any eggs yet. They’re both still off the nest the majority of the time. It probably won’t be long until they lay though as I opened my curtains on Tuesday morning to find them mating on the wire just outside. I quickly averted my eyes!

The wrens in the workshop have given up building. I suspect they realised that the couple of centimetres of beam sticking out was unlikely to support their nest, plus we had to go in and out quite a few times in the day which would have disturbed them. I’ve seen them singing and collecting nest material though, so they’re still around. I think they may be building in one of the other barns but I’ll try to find out.

The bullfinches were back on our garden feeder on Thursday, which was great to see. I’ll try to get a picture of them, but they don’t come often so it might be difficult. Another bird I’ve been struggling to photograph is the pheasant that comes most afternoons to the feeder. As soon as he sees any hint of movement, he’s off like a shot. But on Thursday, I finally managed to snap a couple of quick photos. He’s also had a couple of hen-pheasants with him sometimes but I haven’t managed to catch them on camera. Pheasants may be irritating when they seem to be trying to get run over, but the males are quite magnificent looking birds really.

    

The garden generally has been looking spectacular, full of flowers and insects. I took this picture at lunch on Thursday which doesn't really do it justice but gives you an idea.

The bittern has been booming quite a lot over the past week. We’ve heard him when out on the reserve doing our essential gate repairs but I’ve also heard him several times late at night or just before dawn, while I’m in bed. I have no chance of a picture there, but I may try to make a sound recording of the booming next week.

I did manage to get a few good photos from the reserve this week though. I took some exercise with my scope to a vantage point and used the scope to take the photos. It works, but it does have a slight affect on the quality of the pictures, so bear with me. I don’t have a fancy camera, just my phone, so I have to make do.

The first picture I took was of this egret fishing. I improved quite a lot after that.

There were a pair of curlew out feeding in one of the fields. We would be expecting the curlew to start nesting very soon, so fingers crossed this pair will.

As I was watching the curlew, a crane head popped up in the background. It’s hard to see in this photo but the crane is towards the top left, amongst the reeds. There's also a crow next to the curlew, so three birds for the price of one!

There was another adult crane with it and they remained in the area for quite some time so it’s likely they have a hatched chick(s) with them, which is great news. I’ll be keeping an eye out to see if they start to move around more.

I’ve also been watching this swan nest. They’ve been incubating for a week or so now, so I’m hoping it won’t be too long before some cygnets emerge.

This week also saw the return of sedge warblers to the reserve. We were serenaded frequently as we went about our essential infrastructure work. They have quite a pleasant song but they were very secretive, hiding in the brambles, so I couldn’t get a photo. I’ll keep trying though.

That’s all for this week. Will I find 3 D's to write about next week? Probably not, it was only a coincidence that I found 3 C's this week. I hadn't planned on it and the crow was a bit of a stretch anyway. Take care.

 

Kathryn

 

P.S. All photos taken by me.

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