Going for a Grebe

I had noticed on Birdguides that a Pied-billed Grebe had been found at Ham Walls on the Somerset Levels. I don’t have a wish list of birds as such, but if I did this one would be right up near the top. I wasn’t able to go yesterday and had a walk at the Water Park scheduled in for this morning with family time this afternoon. I mentioned the possibility of an early morning dash to a couple of friends but had no takers. Decision made, CWP in the morning. We went out for a meal last night and afterwards dropped my son at his mates as they were going out for a few drinks. I had offered to pick him up in the early hours. However at half eleven he called to say he was staying at a friends. I then started thinking about going for the Grebe again. When I went to bed I decided to set the alarm for half-five and if I felt okay to head off to Somerset. So six a.m. saw headed out of the house and onto the M4. This really is the first time I have decided on the spur of the moment to go twitching. Just before my exit on the m% I ran into fog which wasn’t what was needed. Fortunately though I soon ran back out of it as I headed inland on the A39. I arrived at the Ashcott Corner car park, which was almost full, at just gone half seven, sorted all my gear out and headed off along the old railway line path to the viewing point. There were around twenty birders already there and the news was that it had been seen briefly at seven and not since. It eventually showed briefly at around half-eight and then disappeared back into the reeds. There were plenty of other birds to watch including Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Bittern and Little Egret. There were plenty of wildfowl moving around and Water Rail and Cetti’s Warblers calling. After another thirty minutes or so the Grebe reappeared and finally came out into open water, giving excellent views. It was diving frequently and was seen to catch a couple of fish. Although it was a fair distance out the vertical band on the bill and the white eye ring could easily be picked out. After watching it for a few minutes more I headed off back to the car. Great views were had of a hunting Marsh Harrier and also four Little Egrets as they flew over the reeds. Arriving back at the car park there were cars parked for a couple of hundred yards along the roadside making me glad I had arrived early. Having driven down on the motorway I decided on the cross-country route home via Glastonbury, Frome and Devizes. As I approached Beckhampton I could see three Buzzards soaring over the gallops and a large flock of birds wheeling around. Pulling off the road I watched a flock of at least two hundred and fifty Golden Plover flying, they were then joined by a similar amount of Lapwing that flew up from the flooded field by the road. They flew around for a few minutes before landing back in the field. Also here, in and around the water were a good number of  four species of Gull. Unfortunately nothing unusual  but good to see. Final sighting here were two Red kites in the distance. On arriving home there were two Red Kites over the village.

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2 responses to “Going for a Grebe

  1. Pied-billed Grebe still there 02/03/13

    • The way it works is if I go straight away the bird stays and if I wait a few days it goes the day before i do!

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