TRIP REPORT - FEBRUARY 2016
What a great morning we had, after sorting out all the problems attendant on having twice as many people turn up as we have ever had before.
Sadly, more than a month after road works were started, Mark Causeway is still closed just west of the village, so we had to take a diversion. Miraculously we didn't lose anyone - it just meant that the journey to Huntspill Sea Wall took longer than usual.
However the weather was unbelievably good, and whilst the wind was brisk there was less wind-chill than I had expected. So we were full of expectation at the start. Before we got to the banks of the River Parrett, we saw several Redshank, Teal and a couple of Grey Heron loafing round on the Huntspill River. Once we got to overlooking the Parrett, we saw a disappointingly distant group of Avocet, doing nothing in particular nearly a mile away. Apart from the ubiquitous Redshank, that was about it for several minutes. But then, as we got closer to the riverbank, other birds became apparent - and not just gulls! Cormorant, Shelduck and Curlew soon gave up their secrets, and shortly afterwards we happened across, Dunlin, Wigeon and Oystercatcher. Land birds were few and far between (it is difficult to get excited by Blackbirds and Jackdaws!) and the only interest came from a pair of Skylark (which were easier to hear than to see) as well as two Long-tailed Tits.
Shortly before turning round to return to the cars, we added Little Egret to our list. Our return journey was made swifter by the hope that the Avocet would have come a little closer. And we were not disappointed. Once they woke up, they discovered that food was more abundant on the east bank of the river, so they came closer and started to feed, where we got really good views. Grey Plover also put in an appearance, including an elaborate mating display by a pair of birds only 150 metres away.
Our next field trip is on Tuesday 22 March, to see woodland birds before they become obscured by foliage. Precisely where we shall go will be decided on the basis of a recce a few days before. More on this anon.