• 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…

  • Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 03.11.2023

    The storm of Wednesday into Thursday has caused a few problems out on the reserve today. We were office bound yesterday as the storm passed through. We got off lightly compared to other parts of Southern England. 

    A large willow feel by the second of the Waltons screens - thankfully missing the screen, the blinds, rails and the sign, so jus a clear up job this morning. Apart from that it has been minor tree damage. Our…

  • Top Tips for Visiting the Avalon Marshes Starling Roost

    Ham Wall Car Park full of cars

    We are asking visitors to help us make visiting the Avalon Marshes Starling roost a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone, so please follow our top tips to do just that:

    • Our car park has limited spaces available for visitors – please do not be surprised if we have to turn you away due to reaching our site capacity.
    • Please do not park on the road– be considerate of our neighbours and the need for emergency…
  • Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 27.10.2023

    I've been sent an abundance of photos this week, so prepare for a feast of the eyes, with a vast array of species, all photographed in the last week or so at Ham Wall. 

    With Autumn trying it's very best to establish itself, we are really beginning to notice a shift in the behaviour of some of our wildlife. I'm definitely hearing more Wigeon, with their whistling call and Teal numbers are building slowly. There were…

  • Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 20.10.2023

    This might be a slightly shorter blog than normal as jobs took a little longer than expected out on the reserve this morning - I know I've said this in the past and it's still been pretty long but I don't have much time at all today but here goes anyway.

    The good news is that we have finished the cutting in front of the first viewing platform (VP1) and we are slowly letting water back into this area to create…

  • Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 13.10.2023

    Could it be that Autumn has finally arrived? There's definitely more of an autumnal feel about the reserve this week. This change in weather may well be the final trigger for many birds to move off to warmer regions or indeed feel it's time to pop over to the Somerset Levels to spend the winter. Many plants are turning much browner and leaves are beginning to fall. Sandie Andrews took these shots this week, which definitely…

  • Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 06.10.2023

    It's been another very busy week for us at the reserve this week. As I mentioned in the last blog the bridge beyond the second viewing platform (VP2) was being installed this week. Thankfully, it all went without a hitch and they were done and dusted in less than 3 days.

    After such a long time closed, it is great to have something back open and the old "Ham Wall Loop" open to the public again. It's the red marked…

  • Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 29.09.2023

    For the second Friday morning running I was lucky enough to be out and about in the reserve in the lovely sunshine. This time I was leading the Walk with Wardens guided walk. The walk was named Bearded Tit Bonanza. There's always a little bit of anxiety involved in a walk specialising in a particular species - especially this fair weather type of bird. Thankfully it was still and sunny as we gathered at the car park …

  • Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 22.09.2023

    What a beautiful morning it was today out on the reserve. I've been so busy recently, I've hardly had time to stop and stare. I had a couple of little jobs to do this morning before my usual Friday stint in the office. As I walked along the main path there was plenty of insect life buzzing around in the sunshine.

    Keep an eye on the ivy in flower here. As the main path faces south and is quite sheltered, it's a…

  • Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 15.09.2023

    Well it's been a very busy couple of weeks for me. I've been working with the reed cutting machine (Softrak) at Westhay Heath (Somerset Wildlife Trust) for 2 days last week, then 2 days with it at Ham Wall cutting in front of the first viewing platform (VP1) before having Friday off (after working 10 days straight) - hence no blog. 

    This week I have been working at RSPB Greylake for 3 days cutting in their reedbeds…

  • Brilliant Bearded Tits at RSPB Ham Wall

    This blog was written by Tim Smith, Visitor Experience Officer - Ham Wall

    Bearded Tits, Bearded Reedlings, or affectionately just ‘Beardies’. Whatever you call them, it’s always a treat to catch a glimpse of these distinctive little birds marauding through the reedbed. Although resident at Ham Wall throughout the year, autumn is typically your best chance to see them. Read on to find out all about this unique species…

  • Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 01.09.2023

    It always feels strange being away from the reserve for a couple of weeks (I've been on annual leave). You can get "out of the loop" very quickly, so it takes a couple of days to get back into the swing of things. 

    That being said the reserve is still pretty quiet in terms of birdlife - we are in the death throws of summer still I suppose, but there are signs that Autumn is on the way. A lot less birdsong…

  • Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 11.08.2023

    I've got rather a lot to get through this week. I've been sent a plethora of photographs from a number of people - thank you to all have sent some in. I will have to save some as I simply cannot use them all (about 80+).

    I'm also away for 2 weeks - I mentioned it in last week's blog, so I'm going to have to try and entice you to visit whilst I'm away too. The blog will return in 3 weeks therefore.…

  • Recent Sightings at RSPB Ham Wall - 04.08.2023

    July and in particular August are often considered the quietest times on reserves like Ham Wall. Breeding season is all but over so many birds are quite worn out from frantic feeding of their broods (some busy parents still remain), a number of birds are in moult and perhaps a little less mobile and often it's quite hot - although I'm not quite sure what's happened in that regard this year. Another problem can be the…