A day off that finally coincided with a decent forecast...

… so I made the decision to go to Shapwick Heath NNR, amid the Avalon Marshes of the Somerset Levels

Didn't go mad, so had a lie in, and left home to avoid most of the rush hour. It was an hour and a little bits drive, except with my SatNav, that has a vendetta against me and was getting her own back for all the times she had to say "Route recalculation"!! An hour and a half later I arrived!!

First to meet me were a plethora of ducks, coots and swans and a particularly lovely female mallard

I walked along the path, towards Noah's Hide, and met an unusually marked fella

I climbed the steps to the hide, and looking across the expanse of water were more ducks, coots, gulls, cormorants and swans. Suddenly a vast quantity of them exploded into the air in a cacophony of noise.... I'm assuming Marsh Harrier, as it was at the marshes and harrying the wildfowl

I'll apologise now, but I got a bit excited to see him, and he appeared 4 more times through my visit, and there are pictures each time!!

On leaving the hide heading back to the main pathway, there were a dozen or more Long Tail Tits being Lollipoppy!

And a little way away was Mr Heron, enjoying the sunshine

Across the other side of the stream/canal/ Drain was a stonechat looking very smart

Then Marshy H came back into view

And some more Long Tails

I didn't make it to either Decoy Hide or the hide the other side of the road but had a good (r)amble about

Then Marshy came back out for a looksee

Lovely bit of silhouetting here (If I do say so myself!!)

And then my 1st sighting of a Great White Shark Egret

It wasn't to be my ;last...but patience is a virtue, dear reader

Mr Cormorant, less silhouetty

But he'd soon had enough!

Marshy came back around again

But he was too far distant to worry Mr and Mrs Wigeon

As I had a bit of a drive home, I called it a day around 2pm  and headed back to the car..... it was nearly BE-headed back to the car, as I was treated to a low fly-by

And so I tootled off home a very happy bunny!!

  • Quite a long journey, PB, but well worth it for all the nice birds you saw.
    Great vies of the Marsh Harrier so I can understand why you were so chuffed. Congratulations on your first GWE even if it did dive bomb you.
    Not sure about the gaudy duck. It could be a so called Magpie Duck - another manky mallard - or it could be a Muscovy Duck with all the pink around the face.

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    Regards,Tony

    My Flickr Photostream 

  • No wonder you were a happy bunny with those lovely species PB, looks like you had a great albeit long trip with beautiful weather and clear blue sky. Nice to see the M.Harrier and Great Egret with that amazing wingspan.

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    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again" 

  • Love the Marsh Harrier shots PB and very jealous of your GWE a bird I've not seen.

    My Flickr photos

  • An excellent day out, with lots of great stuff. Always nice to get a Harrier and GWE, although I hadn't realised they were careful to beat the traffic, too!
    By the way, Marshy is a she.

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    Nige   Flickr

  • In reply to Nigel O:

    Nigel O said:
    By the way, Marshy is a she

    Marsha then!

    Great pics PB

     

     2013 photos & vids here

    eff37 on Flickr

  • Great set and glad you got the weather.

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    Cheers,

    Bob

    My Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bobs_retired_now/

  • Thanks all, it was a properly good day out :o)
    Are female Marsh Harriers significantly bigger than males, because I wasn't sure Marsha was one, as she seemed much bigger than others I've seen? (She may also have been a fair bit closer too which didn't help judging things!)
    Nige, the GWE's don't like travelling by night at all, it wasn't even close to sunset when that one came in to roost :o)
    I think I'll definitely be heading back there if another decent forecast occurs on a day off, as there are other parts I haven't been to.
  • In reply to PimperneBloke:

    PimperneBloke said:
    Are female Marsh Harriers significantly bigger than males,

    They are bigger, but I can't tell the difference normally, probably because I tend to see them in the air when judging size is difficult. While females and juveniles can easily be confused, adult males are obviously different (they have large grey bands on their wings) so you'll know when you've got a male.

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    Nige   Flickr