19/07/2018

Typical isn't it




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It's been bleedin' ages init! What wiv one fing an anuvver the EFRS have been rather lax this summer. The call had been given a few times but to no avail on either side until today. It was decided that we would make the annual trip to Westhey. This is the perfect spot for snapping Hobbies and Swifts. Up on the raised hide the air, in passed years, has been black with the wonderful creatures. Swifts screaming and Hobbies swooping. The insects stand little chance

As you can see from these initial pictures things didn't quite work out as planned.






Yes thats right not one solitary, singular, solo, on it's own swift, swallow, house martin, sand martin, red footed falcon, hobby. You name it it wasn't there.

So instead here are a few interesting 'other' stuff.






However as in true Jacque Cousteau fashion just as we were giving up and walking back up London Drove what did we see? A very happy couple. A Grey Heron sitting in the path. It wasn't until when editing the pictures did either I or James notice the Grey Squirrel sitting next to it. I wonder whet they were looking at? Certainly not any jewels of the sky!



Ironically of course when I got home the sky was full of the little buggers! Typical isn't it





01/04/2018

The heat is on




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Yes it was indeed. The sun, a bit like this blog, hasn't been seen like for ever. So being the fair weather birders we are it was out with the old bikes, dust off the cobwebs and pump up those tires. We were out with vengeance. Nothing was going to stop us doing a full perimeter scan of out patch. Sunday was the day of choice. It's a well known fact that come the weekend it is horrid, all week we can have wonderful fine weather while most of us are stuck in an office or confined by some description or other. You have to take your chances when they happen and Sunday was it.

Meeting at 10 in Glastonbury James was suitably dressed in short sleeves and tank top. I admire his optemisum so much. I was expecting flip flops as this is not unknown for him to get frostbite after cycling out in them. Keep it up James!

We were off and down the enchanted wood in no time. Now this shows how long its been. The path has a new addition. Sadly it is a memorial but we very much appreciated how thoughtful it is.






An excellent idea and very well thought about. Thank you. You can read about Amy HERE and give to a fund for Amy HERE 

RIP Amy


The Kingfisher bridge (Aqueduct Crossing) was looking resplendent without any kingfishers and just waiting for a few House Martins to whizz under the it.

Entering Hamwall it got off to a good start, three Great White Egrets and three Tufted Ducks welcomed us to the fray.




With the warm breeze in our hair we cycled on to VP2 which is always a grand spot for anything. Today was no exception with a beautiful pair of Marsh Harriers dancing on the far side of the reeds.



You can't beat a good Mallard (Northern) flyby

The booms were heard all around. We even had a fly-by of a few Bitterns. The sun was out, the birds were lively and singing away here and there. The EFRS were a happy bunch so what could possibly happen to spoil this idle.

It was at that moment we saw a familiar sight. Our old adversaries the terrible twosome of Paul and Dave wandering along with a grin each. We gave cordial greetings and passed the time of day. They told tales of the Peregrine grand opening in Taunton. It was also decided that we should bury our various hatchets as it was a new year, well 3/4 of a year anyway. So they left in good cheer.



The Great Crested Grebes were 'at it'



A fine Male Marsh Harrier


A Greylag wasn't bothered as it flew over rather close!


Yet another terrible twosome turned up. Or should that be a threesome as there is a dog included. The ever welcome Mike (The bird man) and his better half plus pooch. Another excellent chat was had and mention was made of a Garganey on the way to the Avalon Hide. We popped down to the bridge on the path for a closer inspection. I tried getting a little closer where upon Mike whispered in clear earshot to James "Does he know what one looks like?" Oh the indignity of it all. How dare he suggest I don't know what a Garganey looks like! I mean I've been birding for over five years. I think I know what one looks like thank you very much.*
After Mike had described what one looked like I still couldn't for the life of me spot it. Mike showed me it in his scope. How the hell your supposed to see these thing I have no idea. It was all tucked up asleep with just the white streak showing which is apparently how you can tell it's a Garganey which I knew of course.


It was decided to go over to the Avalon Hide anyway and on the way we stopped at a very nice little temporary screen erected looking over the small pool of water looking back at VP2. We got a better view of the Garganey and I managed to spot it all by myself. A very handsome Male Pintail was showing off his pin as well as a Grey Wagtail which I always think look rather incongruous in a wild setting as your so used to seeing them in carparks!



Shouldn't you be in a carpark?



Beedin' obvious init



The Avalon Hide produced a very varied selection which kept us amused for some time. I particular a handsome Gey Heron fishing close to the hide.











Bittern wandering along without a care in the world

Now here's something you don't see too often today, a Moorhen

Did someone say tufted?





Still there

James managed to get this Marsh Harrier apparently on a nest right in front of the hide. Should be good for the coming weeks.



Displaying Marsh Harriers


Time was ticking and we couldn't waste any more time before what has to be done at the end of an EFRS day. Mike had told us of a Pink Footed Goose which was the perfect opportunity to get on our way. We rushed through VP1, nipped down to see if Lee Dutton was there, nipped back up over the road when he wasn't, rushed passed the scrape as there was sod all there, stopped to see if there was an Osprey or a couple of thousand Sand Martins on Noahs, swung right after Shapwick, shed a tear at the forlorn and empty Ecobites cabin and pressed on to Westhay. I stopped at the entrance for James top catch up. This took some time! There are only two reasons why James would disappear. Either he has spotted something of a bit of his bike had fallen off. I was betting on the bike. As I stood there contemplating which bit who should drive up but Mike in his red van. He had spotted the Pink Footed Goose a bit further down and described it for me. Oh like I don't know what a bloody Pink Footed Goose looks like! Oh the indignity of it all etc etc etc. James came round the corner  with bike intact. He had spotted a Marsh Harrier but failed to snap it.

OK Mike pick the bones out of this lot!!......................





Not Pink Footed Geese

Neither is this


We pressed on and on and on until we finally reached the most important destination of the mission for the debrief............... The Sheppey at Godney



How one should conduct ones birding



While there we spied what seemed to be a rather large Heron like creature displaying near a farm yard. OK so we had had a few but still the mind can be easily deceived don't you think?


*As well as my 'birding Tourettes' I also have a short term memory issue which lasts about 12 months. Every year I remember what various ducks look like but when the next batch come through the following year I have completely forgotten which were which with the exception of Tufted and Pintails.