The foggy foggy dew

Finally I sorted myself out and headed down to Ham Wall at 7:30am. I've been meaning to do this for a while, spurred on by Lee Duttons clarion call to see the Starlings rising. I missed it. They were just heading off for the day. Oh well. To rub it in it was a complete pea souper. Couldn't see a thing. It got worse as I sat at VP2.

As Beautiful as it was with vignettes of trees and mist.......

For bird watching its not so good!

So I sat it out and just savoured the peace and calm of the day. The sun was trying its best to burn through. Then this magnificent beast appeared out the gloom.

Grey Heron

Grey Heron

I'm amazed at how well they came out with a bit of lightroom magic. Only the balances. No touching up is done at all in any of these or other pics. Just looking at the pics on the camera told me the light was good despite the mist. Things were looking up.

Canada Geese Demistified

Three Marsh Harriers (Quite romantic)

A Bittern was popping up now and again. A little restless until it found its spot

Mmmmm I was liking this light even more.............

Marsh Harrier

Monsters in the mist!

So the sun burnt through and all was clear for a the remainder of the day but it still had a magical light. I popped along to VP1 and the Tor Hide. The Tor Hide did produce a Bittern and a few Shovellers but little else.

Buzzard sitting oddly in a bush at VP1

Widgeon at the Tor Hide

Nicely textured young Mute Swan at Tor Hide

Shapwick produced little so it was off to Catcott lows. There I met an old EFRS friend who we hadn't seen for a while. Cliff. Nice to meet up again.

On the way I stopped and took this pic of a Buzzard. On closer inspection its beak looks very odd. It looks like it has lost the tip of its lower part.

Close up 

There was a surprise for me looking out over the rather sparsely inhabited waters. Four Bewick Swans had taken residence. Never seen these this way at all. Great find.

Bewick Swans and Great White Egret

Bewick Swan

On the way back I popped into the Avalon Visitors Centre to hear a very inspiring speech and mingle with the Somerset Birding and Wildlife Elite on the launch of the 'Somerset Birds 2013' book.

On the way back I again bumped into Cliff and spent the last few moments of the sun at VP2

Bit different to the morning

Love it!


Gardeners world

I woke up last night, casually swinging myself out of bed I then collapsed in a heap.  My left foot was unable to take any sort of weight.  This is still the situation as i write this.  just bizzarre. Anyway it has confined me to the house which is very annoying because its a weekend and its sunny.

Not to be out done I decided to sit in the garden and try to get some pictures of anything.

One thing of note was a Cabbage White butterfly flapping around.  Its nearly December!!!!

Anyway here are some pictures from my seat in the garden.

Sadly not that common round here...

Lots of these though.  But tricky to get pictures of!


I have set some bread out on the wall.  In the hope I can get a flight shot of an incoming Jackdaw, Crow, Magpie.  It hasn't happened yet...

Anyway, off to the walk in center at Shepton (if i can push the bloody clutch down on the car).


A forceful Wren?

I was out and about a bit earlier than normal.  So I headed to Steart Greylake.  I had one of those strange Star Wars, feel, don't think moments which compelled me to go to the latter.

Upon arrival I had another strange "feel the force" moment and decided to take the parcel shelf out and stick it on the back seat just in case anyone thought I had anything of value in the car...

Clumping along the boardwalk I spied a single Grey heron who took flight almost immediately.  At the hide a opened the door and noticed a little brown bird fluttering about the place and banging into the windows.  I left the door open for the little Wren who was clearly unhappy about being inside this strange wooden building.  After a bit of encouragement I got him out the door.

After that bit of excitement I settled down.  It was good to see a larger number of ducks than previously.  Mallard, Widgeon, Teal and Shovellers were all in attendance.

Mallard ready for touchdown


A few Little Egrets were flying about along with Lapwings and a posing swan.

My solitude was broken when a huge pile of birders entered the hide.  The extra eyes did prove useful though.  

A Partridge Peregrine in a Pear Oak tree.  Actually there are 3(!) 
and I don't know what the tree is...

After having a chat with a very nice chap who let me use his very nice scope, I spied a single male Stonechat along with a Kestrel.

Then something bad happened.  A man came in who alerted everyone to the fact that cars in the car park had been broken into.  Indeed the car next to mine (same kind of car as well!) had been badly damaged and people had lost handbags and house keys.  What a horrible thing to happen.  I hope the perpetrators get caught.  I am so greatful that my car was untouched... I guess they couldt see anything of value inside.  Thank goodness I took out the parcel shelf.
I carried on to Catcott, hopefully to see a marsh harrier or maybe a Merlin.
Again, the duck numbers are increasing.  Also lots of Greylags and Canadas.  A massive commotion ensued with lapwing, Duck Sarlings all over the place.  In a fit of uselessness I missed the Merlin that had caused the ruckess.  Damn!

Some compensation came from a green tagged Marsh Harrier (thats not a species, it just had a green tag on it).

You cant see the tag because the picture is a bit rubbish.

The Starlings were very active and i manged to get this one.

Quite pleased with that one :-)

Although there was nothing exceptional at the reserve it was really calm and warm (is it really November!?).

Just before I left this swan swam by in a rather serine manner.  Very nice.

I didn't sense any more disturbances in the force.


Photo Snipe(r)

Although its winter it doesn't feel much like it. By the time we had got to Morrison’s to collect lunch I was sweating under my coat.  On the way down to Ham Wall Andrew let out a cry of dismay.  He had forgotten his “stock” for the PhotoSniper -just one of his MANY items of camera paraphernalia.  

He simply couldn't function without it.  So whilst he peddled back to get it I continued on.  Whilst going through the enchanted wood I encountered Andrew’s nemesis.  The Woodpecker let out an alarm call and was gone, hotly pursued by a second!

At VP1 I settled in. In the distance a dark shape was flying about.  A female Marsh Harrier was doing a bit of “soaring like a Buzzard”. Luckily she came a bit lower and a positive ID was obtained.
Moments later Andrew arrived, feeling better with all his equipment by his side.  I say all of it...
The increase in equipment meant that we couldn't carry a scope.  Something had to give I suppose...
The sun was shining and a few of the commoner birds were flying about including this swan which flew straight at us.  I managed to get to the camera before it crashed into the lens.

Aside from that a few mallards and a large flock of lapwings were flying about.

We went onto VP2 but didn't see a huge amount.  After a hot chocolate we headed back to VP1.  Discussing various camera lenses and cameras.  A Marsh harrier threatened to head closer to us but it didn't really happen in the end.

There were plenty of Snipe shooting about the place and we managed a few shots of them.

As the sun began to set the Starlings flew in.  They are not really up to full strength yet and it wasn't massively spectacular but still good to see.  A taster of things to come...

My Photosniper is almost fully adapted for use with a DSLR. Trigger working and a new quick release put in place so I can use either the Tair or Canon with it however I think I'll put it back to just for the Tair and get another camera body. But thats in the future. The trigger need a bit of fine tuning to.

But on with my contribution to the day.

Managed something a little better than a Mallard - a Widgeon

Back at VP1 we finally got some good stuff. The Snipe and Greylags being the best of the offerings




3 Greylags landing





We saw a Marsh harrier over the other side from VP1 and hurriedly got in position to intercept it just up the track. It never appeared but I did get this little chap sitting over head.

Long Tailed Tit

Greater Spotted Woodpecker

As the light faded and the birds subsided for the evening I swapped the big stuff to a nifty fifty Super Takumar from the 70's.

Opposite VP1
(Actually taken with the Photosniper and Tair 3)

Woods by VP1
(Actually taken with the Photosniper and Tair 3)

View from VP1



Starlings over Ham Wall

Sunset over Ham Wall

Like so many days that the EFRS have particularly at Ham Wall it starts out with little but when you look back there was plenty to be pleased about and never leave disappointed. It was fun using a 50mm instead of a 400mm particularly with manual focusing. Im a fan.