27 March 2018

Rather to my surprise on a miserable weather morning, nine of us wanted to go to Shearwater. Possibly this was because the forecast suggested that the weather would improve form 9.00 am onwards. Unfortunately the forecast was wrong. As a result relatively few birds were showing themselves at the selected site on the Longleat Estate. There were several pairs of Great Crested Grebe on the lake, but none of them obliged us with a courtship display. Other than that it was just lots of Mallard (and some very odd-looking hybrids) which were visible, though we did see two Grey Heron and a few Cormorant later on at the far end of the like.

The woods were scarcely any better, and many of the paths were churned up by forestry operations and recent rain, so mobility was not easy. We heard Robin, Great Tit, Greater Spotted Woodpecker and Nuthatch during the first hour but saw virtually nothing other than Crows and Wood Pigeons. Returning to the road beside the lake we eventually saw both Nuthatch and Treecreeper, though Goldcrest continued to elude us. On the return journey to the car park we saw Grey Wagtail and Canada Goose, but the bird of the day was undoubtedly a Red Kite which drifted slowly above us soon after we started. The significant thing about this sighting was that I had seen the same species in the same location three weeks earlier, so local breeding cannot be ruled out.

Finally it is worth recording the fact that a Green Woodpecker showed itself to the occupants of one of the cars, shortly after leaving the car park on the way back to Wells!