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James of a weekend
Erm it was erm I think two weeks ago when I popped out on the bike for the first time in what seems like ages. James was all quiet, left his charger at work and all that, so I popped out on my own. I decided on a classic run which these days includes a stint at the lovely new and shinny Avalon Hide near VP1 Ham Wall. It really is a gem, pop down there and have a look and more to the point have a look out the windows.
If your a regular to either Ham Wall or Shapwick you will know there are two birds you are pretty much guaranteed to see hardly anywhere else in the country but are pretty much guaranteed to see one or both here. They are the Marsh Harrier and the Great White Egret. If you really want Marsh Harriers then go to the Avalon Hide.
One down, a Great White Egret
All day I saw what must have been six or seven Mink scurrying around the place. Not a good sign if they are out and about in such numbers in a short time. Mothers look after your eggs!
Mink that was mistaken for an Otter by many on more than one occasion
Cute pair of Tufties
A Great Crested Grebe that was gathering twigs
Male (Juvenile?) Marsh Harrier looking resplendent
Who she was displaying to
I quite like this one with the pale colours high lighting the Harrier
To be expected if you have a Marsh Harrier chasing you
He followed the Egret for quit some time. I assume escorting it away but he did seem to be looking down most of the time.
Showing how close they get to the hide
A few Buzzards got in on the act but didn't hang around with about four Marsh Harriers in the air.
So where was James in all this I hear you ask. Well I had been texting him all week to organise a trip but with no reply. I gave up and went out. Half way through the day I happen to see a twitter message saying he was going down Westhey for a couple of hours. I was in the Tor hide admiring these full bloom Shovelers and a particularly dandy Male Pochard worthy of the Pimpernel himself.
What a dandy!
So off I went to find the other half of the EFRS. I found the car but no James. London Drove is his favourite haunt. I wandered down but still no sign. Looking over onto the reeds and raised hide from the little hide. Nope nothing. A scan of the U shaped hide? Nope not there either. I went to the raised hide and met Steve the reptile man checking out some Grebes nesting. I inquired but he hadn't seen him.
I give up. I'm going home. Stopping for a few minutes by a gate looking out onto the Egret fields opposite Westhey and taking in the late afternoon sun what did I hear? Only James's car pulling up. We considered our options and met at the Sheppy. It was a brief de-brief but worth it for the beer and last few rays of sun.
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