The forecast had been very good, all week, for today so we made the decision on Sausage Baps in Ham Wall car park for brekkie before a leisurely wander around the reserve. We arrived pretty early, just after 7 and were stunned to find about 40 cars already in the car park. Either an all night rave was going on, or something unusual had been sighted. We could hear no driving bass, so guessed it was the latter. Still, no time for dallying...there were sausage baps to consume!
As we sat in the car eating brekkie a bird was scuttling around the car park in an unusual manner, and I couldn't work out what it was.... until I had a sudden lightbulb moment...
A Greater Spotted Woodpecker, probably recently fledged, ground feeding in a stony carpark!
We finished the Sausage baps, and after asking someone else who was there, it turned out to be a River Warbler that had been sighted. Not one I'd heard of before and the chap I spoke to said hadn't been seen here since the 1940's.
Not being avid box tickers (if I see it, I see it, if I don't, the world won't end) we decided to wander as we'd planned to, and not follow the crowd. Literally 5 yards from the car park is a little picnic area, and there were a pair of those cheeky Son-Istle Thrushes
And beside the picnic area, is a little stream.... and a Reed Warbler
We continued into the reserve, and my first sighting (Wendy!!) was a drying Cormorant at the first viewpoint.
With all the lovely clean water about, I was curious why Mrs Mallard (and some youngsters) would want to be in the green gunk!
Food related I guess, unless a weed wrap is good for her complexion! A little further out a pair of Great Crested Grebes were swimming with 3 humbugs (just about visible)
There were 3 small birds (youngsters probably?) but the pic was into the sun and I can't make out what they are... any guesses?
It appeared a Lesser Black Backed Gull dive bombed a Coot, not sure why (unless one of the little three were Coots?)
After the gull flew off, the Coot became all artistic in the backlit water
At the 1st hide we could see a Swans nest, with 3 cygnets
And paddling furiously across the open water were a couple of Pochard
A Robin popped up, so close this pic is uncropped
I'd said to Mrs PB on the way, that we may be luck with Damsels, and also with fledgling/juvenile birds, and so it turned out, I'm never sure with Damsels (but I have a new book so am hopeful of learning) Blue Tailed
At the very top of a tree was a lovely song, from a lovely singer... Don't tell me... a River Warbler?
There a few colours more striking than the irridescing male Mallard in bright sunshine
A little further around the loop we were walking, juvenile Coot?
Mrs PB spotted a fried egg toadstool
And then she spotted another Reed Warbler, but one whose beak looks too long!
There were literally thousands of blue damsel's about, the 1st two I think is are Common Blue, on male, one female, the rest Blue Tailed
Looking beyond the nettles back to the water, a Great Crested Grebe was patrolling for snackettes
And another solo juvenile Coot mooched about
Another female Blue Tailed Damsel...in a different colour to the last female Blue Tailed Damsel (is it any wonder I get confused??)
Along with the damsels, there were hundreds of 4-spot Chasers...absolutely stunning gold in the sunshine
A pair of Common Blue were holding on for dear life!!
Not sure if we have any Spider afficianado's, but a couple were close together...and the 2nd looked like it's face had been chewed off!
I saw my first Banded Demoiselle of the year
And my first Coot chick in a nest (one of the parents brought another stick to the nest as we watched
A young looking Blackcap bent over backwards, for a snack!
And had been singing before making a getaway
I also saw my first red Admiral of the year, although it was a bit tatty
And ended with a couple of shots of recently fledged Great Tit, still being attended to by at least one parent
I hope you enjoyed some Somerset Sunshine, and as always, any ID corrections are gratefully received :o)
Stay Safe All
What a great way to start the birding day with a sausage bap and were lucky there were no gulls in the car park !
Your GSWoodpecker is adult male as juvie would have the red cap; a lovely selection of birds but I'm sending you back to get pics of the River Warbler as I've never heard of one let alone seen one ! Will leave the spider ID's to others but Blackcap is most likely adult male as juvies all look like their mum to begin with with chestnut head colouring. Love the banded Demoiselle and nice to see so many fledglings as not sure its been a very successful year so far with awful weather in May. Another interesting post and place to put on our to visit list ! thanks PB, glad you had such a great day out.
"Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again"
(Pardon the Scottish Accent)
You're setting a standard there PB, it looks a fabulous day, and brilliant photos.
The gulls and coots were most likely protecting their young, and coots can be quite vicious when they want to be. The toadstool looks like a golden waxcap.
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