Visit to Huntspill Sea Wall - 26 February 2019

Seven members of the group decided to go to Huntspill for this morning only visit on what turned out to be a wonderfully warm and sunny morning, thus laying to rest all the dire warnings about possible adverse weather conditions circulated in advance by the leader!

We arrived at about 9.15 and after 45 minutes had progressed only about a quarter mile along the path, such was the density and interest of the bird population in the area! In this early period, during which the tide was rising from its mid-point, we saw Shelduck (several hundred), Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Common Redshank, Common Sandpiper and Curlew on the Parrett estuary, plus a very distant view of at least 100 Avocet. Sadly this was to be our only sighting of Avocet, because as the tide rose the birds moved further up-river out of our sight. We also saw several land birds, including Dunnock, Goldfinch, Skylark (singing, rather than in a winter flock) and Meadow Pipit.

Eventually we moved on and as the tide rose the bird life on the estuary became less obvious. We did, however, add Cormorant, Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Herring, Great Black-backed and Black-headed Gulls to our list. But best of all, a little distant from one of the sizeable flocks of Common Redshank we found a single Spotted Redshank - a distinctly scarce visitor to these shores.

By the time we had walked a couple of miles, bird life on the estuary was pretty sparse, so we decided to return along the top of a grassy bank, in the hope of seeing more in the way of landbirds. Actually the fields were a bit bereft of birds, but by keeping a weather eye on fence posts and distant trees, we managed to add Buzzard, Stonechat and Pied Wagtail to our list, plus, improbably, a single Grey Heron sitting by itself on the topmost branches of a distant tree. Sadly a flock of 19 Barnacle Geese, which had been reported in the area eluded us, though we did see plenty of Canada Geese
But it has to be said that everyone really enjoyed the morning - thank you birds and thank you weather.
Our next meeting is on Tuesday 26 March, when we shall be looking foe woodland birds (before the greenery appears on the tees and drives us all mad from hearing much and seeing little). More on this nearer the time.

Brian Roberts-Wray