Trip reports

Somerset Levels

Hobby chasing dragonflies
RSPB Image

Thursday, 10 May 2018

A brief shower just before we started was the only rain on a sunny but breezy trip to the Somerset Levels by 14 group members. In the morning we visited Shapwick Heath NNR and soon caught sight of our first Hobby overhead and heard the first of many Blackcaps and Garden Warblers encountered during the day. On first glance the scrape on Meare Heath looked fairly empty apart from 11 Black-tailed Godwits and some Mallard, but a lone Little Ringed Plover was pointed out which was a nice surprise. We saw more Hobbies and plenty of Swifts but just a single Swallow was noted during the day. Cetti's, Common and Lesser Whitethroat and Reed Warblers were singing away as we made our way towards Noah's Lake where the new hide was much appreciated, especially its splendid door! Bitterns were booming occasionally but we didn't see them. A Marsh Harrier flew over the reedbed and, interestingly, Great White Egrets outnumbered Little Egrets.

After lunch we visited Ham Wall RSPB reserve and soon spotted a singing Willow Warbler along the path and later, after some searching, Garden and Reed Warblers were watched by those who missed seeing them in the morning

Near the Avalon Hide we saw two Long-tailed Tits carrying nesting material, another Marsh Harrier was over the reedbeds and Rob found the reported male Garganey in the far distance. Graylag Geese, Coot, Mallard and Great Crested Grebe all were seen with young. From the Tor View Hide we saw a grebe carrying one juvenile on its back.

Surprisingly no Sedge Warblers were heard, let alone seen, nor any Cuckoo and very few hirundines, but the good numbers of Hobby, Swift and various warblers made it a worthwhile outing. Approximately 49 species were seen or at least heard during the day.

Malcolm