Mid-summer Murders

Today the EFRS lived up to its name...

My bike was all patched up and we were all geared up and ready to roll.  What a day to choose!
The weather was perfect, filled with optimism we were off.  However the creatures of the moor were in an entirely different mood...

We sallied forth from Glastonbury and down to the enchanted wood where Andrew hoped to finally defeat his Nemesis (see previous entry).  Silence ensued as Andrew drew is camera.  Not much actually happened.  The Nemesis had long gone.  Despite this, it was good to spend some time in the enchanted wood.  There is an air of mystery and intrigue surrounding this place.  The tall trees are bound to hold the odd rare Warbler.  The EFRS will have to check this place out more thoroughly in the future.

Onwards to Ham Wall and we were serenaded by low flying Swallows slicing through the air looking resplendent in the sunshine.

Stopping at VP2 Andrew grabbed a shot of a female Blackcap.  I am a big fan of these birds.  Not really sure why!

Female Black Cap

A Great White Egret was fishing in the distance and a female Marsh Harrier was swooping low over the reeds (I am still waiting to see a Marsh harrier actually catch something).

Then there was some loud screeching from behind (always a disturbing experience).  Looking up we watched a Buzzard getting beaten up by a pair of over zealous Common Terns.  Buzzards are disappointing birds.  They are big and mean looking but they eat worms and get knocked about by Crows (and Terns evidently).  I bet this one had already been bullied half a dozen times and it was only 10.30...

Tern Pair Harrying a Buzzard

After discussing the Buzzard’s misfortune we headed down to VP1 and saw precisely nothing.  So we headed over to the viewing blinds where a number of baby Moorhens were milling around. Cute (but a bit manky looking up close!).

I was in a bit of a pickle with my camera (the seller had packed the wrong charger) meaning that I only had limited opportunity.  So I wasted it with some landscape shots.

Onto the big hide in the reeds.  Here Andrew flexed his photographic muscle with these absolute corkers.

Common Tern

Common Tern

Grey Heron

Mallard Chicks having a race

Mallard Chicks having a race

Great Crested Grebe Chick

After advertising the virtues of an SLR (I might get him a Canon T shirt).  Andrew and myself headed over to Shapwick.  The scrape had one bird on it.  A single Great White Egret (which can be affectionately abbreviated to GWE) and a hot crow who was wandering along the river bank.

He looks like he needs arms :-)

We tried Noah’s as we hadn't been there in ages.  It always looks a bit prehistoric with the old, dead trees sticking out of the water and Cormorants hanging out to dry.  A Kingfisher flashed by and a Reed warbler was skulking about nearby.

Reed Warbler

Reed Warbler

Blue Tit

Then a brutal scene unfurled.  A rather angry swan took great dislike to its younger kin.  A vicious assault ensued with the larger swan repeatedly dunking the young un.  Holding it down in an attempt to drown it.  The youngster weakened quite quickly and things looked grim.  This was going to be a CSI crime scene.  However just when all seemed lost the victim dived into some reeds, hopefully to safety...

Mute Swan attempted drowning

Mute Swan attempted drowning

A little shaken up by these events we went over to Eco Bites to gather our nerves. After a rest and some food.  We tried the Canada lake hide.  Except Andrew couldn't lift his bike over the gate because it was heavy and there was also considerable risk of damage to his (vast) array of equipment...
So we went to Westhay.  Then we saw this fella

Exmoor Pony

Exmoor Pony

You can take a horse to water...
It was a strange place to see a pony.

At the raised platform, Marsh Harriers were flying about albeit rather distantly.  We took the opportunity to try out the variety of optical and camera equipment that we have accrued of late.  All good, honest fun.

Little Egret

Little Egret

Female Marsh Harrier

Cycling back I stopped to see the second crime scene of the day.  A large (Emperor?) dragonfly was feasting on a smaller victim.  There was lots of angry buzzing.  These are serious beasts.  Unfortunately he was able to drag his victim into the sky and away from my equally hungry camera lens!

The day rounded off with a few relaxing pints at The Sheppey.  Except the EFRS is never off duty.  Andrew noted a Buzzard in the field as we were drinking our pints.  He disappeared and re appeared again brandishing his lens!  It did draw some attention from nearby punters.
“Its the paparazzi “ was whispered from a nearby table along with other things which are not suitable for a premium blog such as this.  Anyway here are some shots taken from the pub.


Buzzard / Magpie Face-off
The final murder happened.  The local cat caught and ate an unfortunate victim.  It was summer time but the animals had murder on their minds.

Cat and (dead) Mouse

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