A Good Weekend for Birds

Yesterday myself and my wife took the dog for a long walk from Severn Beach. e had intended walking all the way to Old Passage but in the end only made it as far as the Cake Pill Sluice which is about a mile before Old Passage. After stopping for lunch here which had been purchased from the highly recommended Downs Bakery we set off on the walk back to the car. Birds seen on the walk included my first House Martins and Ringed Plover of the year, Dunlin, Turnstone, Whimbrel, and Wheatear with at least six of the latter. Most of our walk was accompanied by the song of Skylarks and many Linnets and Meadow Pipits were also seen.

Just before we got back to Severn Beach we were passed by an interestingly dressed group of joggers. My wife realised that one of them was Sean Conway who is on a jog / run from John O’Groats to Lands End. #RunWithSean , http://www.seanconway.com/. We caught up with the group back at Downs Bakery and were able to have a chat with Sean and also get a couple of pictures.

Today (Sunday) four of us had arranged to go to the Somerset Levels hoping that the Hudsonian Godwit would have stayed into a second day. We left Swindon at just before six and arrived at Ashcott Corner at about half-seven. Parking in the spacious new RSPB car park we headed off along the path to Meare Heath. Before we got there we had ascertained that the bird hadn’t been seen. Slowing our pace Matt found a Bittern sat in full view in the reeds, a great find.

A Cuckoo was calling but couldn’t be seen. We soon arrived at the viewing spot and joined a good crowd of birders to scan the lake. A good few Blackwits were here along with a few Dunlin. A Wood Sandpiper was found, a great consolation bird. More Godwits arrived raising hopes, but to no avail. The first of several Marsh harriers was seen and Bitterns were heard Booming. Some saw a Water Rail as it dashed along the front of the reeds. We then decided to walk along to Ham Wall. A showy Garden Warbler was my fourth year-tick of the morning and from Ham Wall the first of several Great White Egrets became the fifth. At one stage at least fifteen Little and Great Egrets could be seen. A Cetti’s was found out in the open (again by Matt) giving us all good views. Back at Meare Heath not much was seen from the Hides. A Heron was very close to the path.

A single Common Tern and a mass of hirundines were over the water. On the water the Godwit had still not appeared but Yellow Wagtail and Knot made it eight year-ticks for the trip. A great result. At just gone eleven we called it a day and headed homewards and after a good journey arrived back in Swindon at just before one. Disappointing that the star bird had gone we nevertheless had a great mornings birding with around fifty species seen.

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