Having a bit of a Gander

To continue the trend of a seemingly random picture to start I give you Eagle Pilot Alan Carter from that 1970's Sci Fi series Space 1999

Eagle Pilot Alan Carter (Played by Nick Tate)

Why you ask? Well he is holding what I've just bought! Heres another pic of a random actor from Space 1999 holding the same thing plus a close up

What we have here is a Kaiser Tekniks Schulterstativ 6005. Its attached to a toy gun if your wondering. Its actually just the handle and shoulder similar to my Photosniper but for universal use Heres a pic of Boba Fett from The Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back. Why is that I hear you ask.

Boba Fett (Pre production)
James: Soooo cool (I'm a bit of a Star Wars fan)

Because he is using a Kaiser Tekniks Schulterstativ 6004 which means I've got a better one than him since mine is a 6005!!
This thing works. Not as comfortable as the Photosniper but it still makes for a stable platform. Plus its fully adjustable. I recommend.

But enough about my new toys and on with the birding.......................

Today was a classic EFRS day with a variety of places and birds, fun banter and a de-brief down the pub. What more could you want.

It all started of down London Drove near Westhay. Somewhere I've never been but often passed. Its interesting to think that this leafy and muddy little track could have turned into the A39 if things had been a bit different. Things haven't changed down here for probably hundreds of years and the A39 probably looked a bit like it at one point.
The aim of this trip was to see somewhere new and possibly take in a Firecrest or two since they have been reported here. We didn't see any but quit a few people were trying.

A39 London Drove

As we started we snapped at a couple of little things flitting around. Being big brash Raptor type birders these little devils were a bit of a challenge. It wasn't until we were supping our pints did we realise they were GoldCrests!




Goldcrest upside down and backwards!

James: Here are some of mine to add to the pile

Looks like a sweet wrapper crossed with a Great Tit - It is the Goldcrest. Honest.

The Long Tailed Tits were showing well as well.

Long Tailed Tit

Long Tailed Tit

James: and another one

So we wandered through the leafy lane down to the hide between the two ponds. All was quiet until James realised we were looking at over twenty Goosanders. They were in full plumage with both the males and females showing well.

Just a couple of the Goosanders

Then there was a kerfuffle. The ducks had spotted a Female Marsh Harrier sailing through. If that wasnt enough a Peregrine decided to have a look see and to top that a Male Marsh Harrier popped in.

Fleeing ducks (including a one and a half Goosander)

Some more fleeing ducks

Female Marsh Harrier

Female Marsh Harrier

Female Marsh Harrier

Female Marsh Harrier


Peregrine sitting in a tree

Male Marsh Harrier

Peregrine sitting in a field

Not to be out done Cormorants in full plumage showed up



Never seen so many Coots together before (Plus a Tufted Duck)

Couple of Greylag Geese

And a couple of Great White Egrets

Not a bad haul for the first couple of hours. Next stop Catcott. The sun was bright but boy was it cold. Not as cold as we were going to get though. No Peregrines this time just lots of the usual ducks.


Mostly Widgeon

Shovelers coming in

Mute Swan landing

James: Andrew had scared off all the birds and humans with his Terminator style weaponery

"I'll be back"
(Schulterstativ 6005 on the left and Photosniper on the right - My weapons of choice!)

This Godwit was off as soon as it saw Andrews truckload of photographic weaponry

That was enough of that so we thought we'd take a chance and swing by Shapwick Hawk and Owl reserve. We haven't been there for some time so we had high expectations. Our hopes of a rarity were boosted when we could only just get into the car park. It was crawling with outdoor types. Was it a Hen Harrier we thought? But we soon realised it wasn't going to happen. All these people had sticks rather than tripods. It was the local Ramblers out for a walk. Oh well. Our hops dropped even more when we found absolutely nothing other than a few Lapwings and a pair of Stonechats. We didn't stay long.

Female Stonechat

Male Stonechat

So the day was drawing on and decisions had to be made as to where our final visit would be. Why not good old Greylake. We might bump into our old chum Mike from the RSPB and our new chum Carl Bovis.

Neither was there and the wind was biting. Fantastic views though across the flooded levels. There were a few Peregrines far out to the back but they never made an appearance. Shovelers were the order of the day.


Shoveler Pair

Widgeon Pair

Shoveler Landing

Shoveler showing off

Shoveler being angry

and just a Shoveler

We did take a detour over to Tealham Moor but all was quiet bar a single Great White Egret.

So what a day. The debrief in the George and Pilgrim at Glastonbury was well earned we think. A classic day with new toys thrown in. This is what the EFRS enjoy the most. Its worth a gander don't you think!

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