• Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 24.05.2024

    Still getting a few firsts for the season - keeps life interesting anyway. Finally, the first Whitethroat of the season has appeared at the first viewing platform (VP1). This is a top spot annually for these birds but this individual has taken its time arriving this year. Hopefully, a mate is around somewhere. Look out for it perched up on top of vegetation or see its parachuting flight. 

    Lots of other warblers singing…

  • Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 17.05.2023

    What a glorious morning it was this morning as I undertook a couple of small jobs out on the reserve. Cuckoos greeted me at the car park. There were at least 2 calling although I didn't catch site of them. 

    Warblers were in full voice with Blackcaps particularly notable along with Garden Warbler, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff. 

    Plenty of other birds are singing loudly or zipping about with beaks full of food for hungry…

  • Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 10.05.2024

    The sightings blog is back this week - sorry I was unable to post last week. I had a very early start last Friday (5.30am) and other things to do before my time ran out. I will endeavour to use as many of the photos people have sent me over the past couple of weeks. What a lovely time to be up and about though. I was leading a dawn chorus walk and we were able to see and hear a whole host of different species. 

    Surprisingly…

  • May the Fun Begin! Spotting Hawking Hobbies and Calling Cuckoos at RSPB Ham Wall

    It is said that “The world's favourite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May[1]". We think that May might be the best month for a visit to RSPB Ham Wall (though it’s hard to choose the best month as there is always so...
  • Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 26.04.2024

    Apologies for the late posting - there was a power outage at the office yesterday afternoon (26th) and I lost a fair bit of the blog. Hence I'm finishing it off on Saturday morning at home. So if it feels a bit rushed in places that's why.  Plus will explain why a few of the tenses don't make sense. Anyway here it is. Better late than never!

    I was out early this morning undertaking a breeding bird survey on…

  • Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 19.04.2024

    Well, as always I have not left myself much time to write this but this time I'm not going to say it may be shorter than normal as it never seems to work out that way. Anyway - I will do my best with the time available to bring you up to date with the past week at Ham Wall. 

    I have to say, it's been another amazing week. The sun has also been shining for a couple of days, which really helps. Lots of happy visitors…

  • Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 12.04.2024

    The fantastic sightings have kept coming at Ham Wall this week, with a few firsts of the year for me too. The last couple of days have truly felt like spring and it seems we are in for a couple of drier weeks ahead. A good chance to get out and witness all the spring arrivals, joining our wonderful resident wildlife on the reserve.

    I've had my first Sedge Warbler & Swallow of the season this morning (although a couple…

  • Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 05.04.2024

    It's been another fantastic week at RSPB Ham Wall - despite some pretty unfavourable conditions at times. Having reopened the Avalon Hide last Thursday, we were worried about water levels coming back up again after the deluges of rain we have experienced once again. Thankfully, the hide remains open but we recommend wellingtons. It has been passable in walking boots, but be prepared for them to get muddy. 

    The stars…

  • Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 29.04.2024

    I know I've said it before but this will be a shorter blog than normal. I wasn't going to write one at all as I am off for the Easter break but I have some good news to share. 

    We have managed to get the Avalon Hide back open for the first time after what must be over 3 months. Thanks to all the volunteers, who worked so hard in difficult conditions over the last coupe of days. We've manged to clear all the muck…

  • Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 22.03.2024

    It's been another interesting week at Ham Wall this week with plenty of exciting sightings reported to us. I've only really been on site for about half my usual time this week (I was in Devon all day yesterday at RSPB Aylesbeare) but I have still been lucky enough see and hear some amazing wildlife. 

    My best sighting came on Monday when I saw 2 Cranes come off some adjacent fields and fly over the reserve. In fact…

  • Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 15.03.2024

    Firstly, apologies for the missing blog last Friday. I was attending a course to learn about Adders to help with the surveying effort across the Avalon Marshes. In the end I just didn't get back to the office in time. 

    The course was very interesting though and the plight of Adders in the marshes is a little precarious, so anything we can do to help these creatures will be beneficial. Populations are small and isolated…

  • Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 01.03.2024

    It's been more of the same this week, with the rain not letting up, so we will start with a bit of housekeeping. The Avalon Hide remains closed - the path is well under water and will most likely remain so for a while yet. 

    Tor View Hide and the Waltons screens are accessible but the perimeter walk around the outside is very wet in places and impassable without wellies, so not advisable.  The Loxtons Loop is now in…

  • Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 23.02.2024

    Had quite a pleasant walk around parts of the reserve this morning doing some checks etc before being office bound. It was a little chilly but at least it stopped raining. 

    With the continued rain, it will come as no surprise to you to hear the the Avalon Hide remains closed. It's back in waders territory (the type you wear - not the flying variety unfortunately), and many of the paths around site are open but a little…

  • Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 16.02.2024

    With Valentines Day this week, we shouldn't be surprised to see lots of love birds around the reserve. The milder than usual weather has probably helped although the extra rain (particularly yesterday) has not been very welcome.  

    We were close to getting levels back to normal at the Avalon Hide early in the week but the water is now back over the path, meaning it remains closed for the time being - think the water…

  • Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 09.02.2024

    Thanks to Joe for filling in last week. I'm sure there will be plenty more chances for you to do it again. I always enjoy reading other people's blogs when they write instead of me - good to experience different writing styles and ideas. 

    This one may be shorter than most as I'm well behind time (I know I've said this before and it's been just as long - let's see how we go).

    We spent the morning…

  • Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 02.02.2024

    It’s a guest blog this week!  My name is Joe and I am, like Steve Couch, an Assistant Warden here at Ham Wall.  However, I also work across Somerset on different reserves.  This is my first blog for Ham Wall, and I will attempt to fill Steve’s huge blogging shoes!

    Spring feels on the way and the race has begun for every individual animal on Ham Wall to get in condition to breed.  No more so than our Bitterns. 

  • Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 26.01.2024

    Some good news to kick off the blog with this week. We have managed to get the Tor View Hide open again. Thanks to all the volunteers who worked hard in all the muck, lifting up the heavy matting and laying down more stone to try and firm up the path, as well as replacing some of the damaged kickboards along the path. Thankfully there was no structural damage to the hide due the the very high water levels we have been…

  • Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 19.01.2024

    A dry week has been very welcome for us here at Ham Wall. The pumps have been on for a further week and we are finally beginning to see it making a difference in the north of the site. By this time next week, it should really be noticeable but it could be a further week before we start thinking about getting the Avalon Hide path open again. 

    We were out this morning removing a potentially dangerous tree from around the…

  • Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 12.01.2024

    The cold weather has actually been a bit of a blessing this week - it's meant no rain and a chance for our pumps to get some water moving off the reserve. We got them back on, late on Sunday and they have been going 24/7 ever since. 

    It's going to take a while for us to see any change on the north of the reserve, so the path to the Avalon Hide remains well under water and is still currently closed. 

    The main path…

  • Recent Sightings & News from RSPB Ham Wall - 05.01.2024

    It's the first blog of 2024 so I firstly want to wish you a Happy New Year. 

    It's always exciting to think about what may occur on the reserve this year and thoughts are tentatively moving towards a new breeding season too.

    There are a few distractions currently though and the theme from the last blog of 2023 have very much carried forward into the new year. The rain has continued to fall for much of the Christmas…

  • Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 21.12.2023

    Well, what a couple of weeks we've had at Ham Wall. I thought things were bad enough before my week off last week but with more rain, it's been a battle to get water levels down and we are still largely underwater. 

    We are at the mercy of the weather of course but also the levels in the surrounding drains to allow us to pump or use gravity to rid ourselves of some water. 

    The good news is that the levels around…

  • Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 08.12.2023

    Well I don't usually like to bang on about the weather but the theme of the week is most definitely about the rain. After the last deluge we had about 3 weeks ago it took us 2 weeks of pumping 24/7 to get back to normal levels on the pathways. Then Sunday into Monday came and we are now right back where we started and a whole lot worse. 

    Water has been pouring into the reserve from every side and in some areas to levels…

  • Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 01.12.2023

    Having felt like it took forever for Autumn to arrive, it seems as though it has now passed right by and winter is here. Much colder temperatures and several frosty mornings have made the reserve a very different place this week and thank goodness it has stopped raining. 

    Frosty reeds: Bryn Evans

    More frosty pics from Sandie Andrews:

    The drier week has been a blessing as the pumps have finally caught up with the excess…

  • Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 24.11.2023

    Water, water everywhere! That's seems to be the theme at Ham Wall at the moment. The reserve was pretty full to the brim (and overflowing in some places) a couple of weeks ago. After a pretty soggy week off, I returned to pretty much the same. I managed to get the pumps back on, on Saturday as the level in the surrounding drains had fallen sufficiently and they have been on 24/7 all week.

    It finally feels like we…

  • Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 10.11.2023

    This might have to be a slightly shorter blog than normal - although I have said this many times before and failed. Running low on time as always.

    Spent quite a bit of time walking around parts of the reserve this morning trying to hold back water from certain places and move it though others. Hopefully the levels will gradually begin to fall (although more heavy rain showers falling on already saturated ground is not…