Trip Report - June 2014
Eight of us went on today's field meeting, where the venue was changed from Tealham / Tadham Moors to Ham Wall / Shapwick Heath. Just as well we made the change, for we saw far more than we would have done at the originally planned venue.
We went first to Ham Wall and passed a lot of movement around small trees and bushes, but at speeds which made identification virtually impossible, and by the time the bird made it into the bush it was invisible amongst the foliage. We assumed that some of the elusive birds were families of Wrens, because the Wren was the dominant song we could hear.
While we were thus occupied someone noticed a Bittern fly across the path about 200 yards in front of us - and that had the effect of transferring our attention to the water and the reedbeds! When we arrived at the First viewing Platform we could see the Bittern intermittently in reeds about 100 yards in front of us. We also saw two families of Coot - devoted parents of what must be the ugliest chicks in the bird world! And a Cetti's Warbler (NOT JUST HEARD - SEEN AS WELL). We then went on across the reedbed by walkway to a new hide. En route we had good views of a Reed Warbler atop the reeds, and the hide itself yielded Grey heron, Marsh Harrier and a Cuckoo, which was very well camouflaged in a tree about 150 yards in front of us.
We then went to Shapwick Heath Reserve and saw a very showy and rather unusual looking Goldfinch on the way. The Shapwick Reserve itself gave us several Little Egret, two more Marsh Harriers, a Common Whitethroat and a singing Garden Warbler. Our final destination was the Noahs Lake Hide, where we saw over 60 Mute Swan, various Gulls and Grebes and a pair of Reed Bunting. Sadly no Great White Egret and no Hobby. Nevertheless it had been a better morning's birding than many of us had expected. The species count of 43 was smallish because of the hot weather and the foliage on the trees!