birding, birdwatching, Bittern, Black-tailed godwits, Blackcap, British birds, Glossy ibis, Great Crested Grebe, Great white egret, Little egret, Marsh harrier, Mute swan, RSPB Ham Wall, Shapwick Heath
Yesterday was an absolutely fabulous birding day, an outing with my friends from the Glamorgan Bird Club to the RSPB’s Ham Wall Nature Reserve near Glastonbury in Somerset. We also ventured briefly into the neighbouring National Nature Reserve of Shapwick Heath but I reckon you’d need a week at least to explore both places thoroughly and at all times of the day.
Most of the birds were rather distant so you’ll have to excuse my poor photos but I was able to see the birds clearly as many of the bird club members have good ’scopes and were happy to share. Some birding highlights were:
* three species of Egret: Cattle, Little and lots of Great whites.
* my first sightings of a Glossy ibis (seen here with a Little egret) and a Red-footed falcon
* more Bitterns than you could point a lens at and several beautiful Marsh harriers, gliding seemingly effortlessly over the reed beds. These two birds came into conflict at one point (fuzzy photo above right), with the Bittern presumably trying to defend its young against harrier predation.
* lots of babies, including those of Great crested and Little grebes, Mute swan, Tufted duck, Coot and Blackcap.
* the Black-tailed godwits flying over the waters at Shapwick Heath.
On the way home, with the help of my car mates, I came up with an as-yet-unconfirmed list of 57 species seen on the day, and that was only the birds – more on the other creatures in tomorrow’s blog.