• Reserve team update plus great white egret project and recent sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 15.11.19

    It’s been rather chilly this week at Ham Wall and we even had some sleet here yesterday, while some dedicated volunteers actually drove through snow to get here for their work party.  Steve C has been busy working for our colleagues at RSPB Greylake with the Softrak machine this week so I’m taking over the blog again and in fact it’s a double takeover! 

    If you’re a regular reader and/or if you’ve ever…

    • 15 Nov 2019
  • Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 08.11.2019

    Autumn and winter are busy times for staff and volunteers on the reserve. It seems as the years go by and the reserve has grown and evolved so much that we get busier still with extra visitor facilities that have appeared in recent years including the car park and toilet block and the surrounding paths and pools, plus the Tor View Hide and Avalon Hide and the paths leading to them. On top of this of course we have all…

    • 8 Nov 2019
  • Recent sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 01.11.2019

    The colder/damper weather is becoming the norm at the moment as we move into November. Colder nights have brought a frost to some parts. Some hardy dragonflies are still holding on though with common darter (pictured - thanks to Giles Morris), ruddy darter and migrant hawker all seen this week. Worth looking out for red admiral butterflies too feeding on the late nectar sources on the reserve such as ivy. 

    This time of…

    • 1 Nov 2019
  • Top Tips for visiting the Avalon Marshes Starling Roost

    Here are some of our top tips for getting the best out of your visit to watch the Avalon Marshes starling roost. Starling murmurations are a true wonder of the natural world and the Avalon Marshes are one of the best places in the UK to come and wit...
    • 31 Oct 2019
  • Recent sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 25.10.2019

    It seems that we have perhaps seen the last of the hirundines for this year. I haven't seen any over the reserve this week. It definitely seems to have turned colder too, although there have been some lovely sunny spells once the early morning mists have dissipated. The misty early mornings make the reserve a much more mysterious and ancient looking place. It's times like this when knowledge of bird songs and calls helps…

    • 25 Oct 2019
  • Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 18.10.2019

    It can be quite an interesting time on the reserve during October. You can still see the tail end of the summer visitors as they migrate south but you begin to get that build up of winter birds too.

    Swallows and martins can still be seen over the reserve but not in any great numbers now and several skylarks (13 yesterday) can be seen heading south. On the flip side we are seeing a slow build up of teal and wigeon and…

    • 18 Oct 2019
  • Recent sightings from RSPB Ham Wall - 11.10.2019

    Finally! I'm back at my desk on a Friday to bring you the blog after a 3 week break. Apologies for my absence - other work matters have taken a priority as we try to catch up with some of our reed cutting work after mechanical issues with our Softrak machine caused us some delays. 

    Thanks to Ali and Abbie who have filled in for a couple of weeks with news and a few sightings from the reserve. The spoonbills have moved…

    • 11 Oct 2019
  • News from RSPB Ham Wall

    Steve unfortunately hasn't had time to write a blog today as he has had to lave early. This means that I am taking up the reigns today to give you a quick update on the visitor side of things happening at the reserve (Steve will hopefully be back at the reigns next week). 

    Weekend Work Party Location

    The work party will be out this weekend on Sunday 6 October and will be working in Waltons between 9:30 am and 3:30…

    • 4 Oct 2019
  • Reserve team update and recent sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 27.09.2019

    As always it’s a busy time here at Ham Wall, so busy that Steve is out in the Softrak today cutting reed rather than blog writing (we’re a bit behind due to mechanical issues early on and bad weather not helping!)  I’m therefore taking the blog reins for today to provide a brief reserve team update, exciting bearded tit news and some sightings highlights from the week.

    Habitat management

    Reed cutting work…

    • 27 Sep 2019
  • Recent sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 13.09.2019

    Still a lot of birds moving through the reserve this week. A few hirundines are being seen each day with around 30+ swallows on Wednesday over the car park. Also seen was a hobby - one was also seen today over on Shapwick Heath diving low onto the water. Presumably this was picking up egg laying dragonflies but must of been fascinating to watch.

    Also, willow warblers can still be seen and heard, with one singing in the…

    • 13 Sep 2019
  • Recent sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 06.09.2019

    September is here and has brought an almost immediate autumnal feel about it (It's raining steadily as I write this). Autumn of course brings with it an increase of activity with bird life in particular as species move away from their breeding grounds to either migrate back or to find good feeding, wintering grounds. 

    Waders are always a good sign of this and we have had a nice variety visiting the reserve, particularly…

    • 6 Sep 2019
  • Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 23.08.2019

    Plenty to report this week after a week off last week. Migrants are just beginning to get on the move a bit more after the post breeding season lull. An osprey was seen from the old rail bridge last Sunday and has been spending much of its time over on neighbouring Shapwick Heath in the Noah's hide area. 

    Waders are on the increase too and using the area in front of the second viewing platform regularly as there are…

    • 23 Aug 2019
  • Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 09.08.2019

    Normal summer weather appears to have returned this week. It's made things a little cooler and more manageable work wise. We've managed to get started on cutting the islands in front of the first viewing platform (VP1) despite some mechanical issues delaying our start. We'll crack on with this as best we can over the next few weeks and get water levels back up again to create some nice open splashy areas for waders and…

    • 9 Aug 2019
  • Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 02.08.2019

    July gone, in the blink of an eye it seems, and August is upon us already. Some welcome rain this week but very hot days too. There have been some quiet days in terms of visitors with the heat keeping some people away. It was great however to see so many children and parents enjoying our bug hunt event yesterday - a reminder that Ham Wall is crammed full of insects - as always the more you look, the more you see but often…

    • 2 Aug 2019
  • Recent sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 26.07.2019

    Phew! What a scorcher of a week. We had some blistering temperatures at Ham Wall this week. Many thanks to the hardy volunteers who came out to help in the high temperatures. Not surprisingly we were all soon flagging so an early finish was well in order.

    The wildlife has to cope with these temperatures as well so again, not surprisingly, activity has been much reduced - particularly in the middle of the day. Some birds…

    • 26 Jul 2019
  • Recent sightings from RSPB Ham Wall - 19.07.2019

    Late July and August are often considered quieter times on nature reserves (particularly where birds are concerned). The majority of breeding is coming to a close and many tired parent birds are recovering from the rush of activity over the last few weeks. Birds are also gathering together in large groups. An example of this is the large group of gadwall and to a lesser extent mallard in Loxtons with around 180 together…

    • 19 Jul 2019
  • Recent sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 12.07.2019

    "Anything special about?" ....It's a question we, as staff and volunteers, often hear from visitors. Yes of course! is the answer: Great white egret, marsh harrier, bitterns, .......No I've seen all those....anything special? 

    It's amazing to think that these species are not considered special at Ham Wall anymore. Sometimes it's good just to sit and enjoy these "ordinary" Ham Wall birds and think about…

    • 12 Jul 2019
  • Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 05.07.2019

    Wow! July already - time is flying by at the moment. Another breeding season is drawing to a close and it wont be long before we are thinking about starting another season of reed cutting. In one or two places the growth is getting a little high and beginning to obscure views a little. We will of course deal with this issue as soon as we are confident that there are no breeding birds that will be put at risk by our actions…

    • 5 Jul 2019
  • Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 21.06.2019

    Welcome to another blog from a very wet week at Ham Wall (although today looks lovely). It's meant fewer visitors to the reserve and fewer reports relayed back to us but this by no means indicates there's less to write about. There are still plenty of hungry mouths out there that need feeding from busy parent birds. 

    The car park is your first stop generally and actually you can make quite a list before you even…

    • 21 Jun 2019
  • Recent sightings at rspb Ham Wall - 14.06.2019

    I haven't spent much time out on the main parts of the reserve this week as we have continued with work on the path in the mini marshes area at the car park. Thankfully we have finished the loop after much hard work from staff and volunteers. Thanks to you all for your hard work on a back-breaking job. 

    Spending time in the car park however has its advantages. It's surprising what you can see and hear there throughout…

    • 14 Jun 2019
  • Recent sightings at rspb Ham Wall - 07.06.2019

    A bit of a miserable morning today with consistent rain showers but of course it's breeding season and there are still hungry mouths to feed so there was still a fair amount of activity this morning. I dropped in at the car park earlier and volunteer Steve Jennings was saying how birds were a bit braver and were showing well around the car park itself - most likely taking advantage of the quieter times. Ham Wall has a…

    • 7 Jun 2019
  • Recent sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 31/05/2019

    The Avalon Marshes are teeming with wildlife at the moment and Ham Wall is a massive part of that. Some wonderful sightings reported this week across the reserves with cattle egrets, cranes, great white egrets galore, bittern, garganey & even 2 black winged stilts which spent a couple of days at Catcott Lows. 

    The 2 stilts were first seen on the raft in front of the Loxtons screen on Sunday (26th) where they landed…

    • 31 May 2019
  • Recent sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 24.05.2019

    Another superb week at Ham Wall with lots of activity to report. Breeding season is in full swing and the evidence is everywhere with many young birds being spotted all over the reserve both in and around the water and up in the trees. One of the most popular spots this week has been in Central Wood (the wood near the Avalon Hide) where the great spotted woodpeckers are putting on a good show. You'll hear them before…

    • 24 May 2019
  • Recent sightings at rspb Ham Wall - 17.05.2019

    Another lovely week at Ham Wall has passed by and we've had lots of happy visitors enjoying the many sights and variety of wildlife on offer. 

    You don't even have to wander too far from the car park to see great things either. Great white egrets regularly fly over but we've also had sightings of bittern, marsh harrier and good numbers of hobby. Plenty of birdsong to enjoy also including song thrush, the call of the…

    • 17 May 2019
  • Recent sightings at rspb Ham Wall - 10.05.2019

    The weeks seem to be flying by at the moment as I find myself sat at my desk to write another blog. Luckily, at a place like this there's always something to report - particularly at this time of year. 

    May is the peak time for the arrival of swifts and hobbies and so it has proved this week with as many as 45 hobbies seen over the reserve on Sunday and swifts numbering in the hundreds over the weekend. The pace has…

    • 10 May 2019