I looked out the window and saw sun.  So I donned on a t shirt and a flimsy gillet (just in case it was a bit cold) and headed over to Ham Wall.  On the way I noted a very cheap Citreon C2 (opposite Sense hair salon if you are interested).  Only £995, bargain if you ask me.  Its probably been ranted to oblivion at that price, but  I digress.

I met Andrew at VP2.  He was chilling and just enjoying the surroundings. On the way in he saw a Woodpecker and Swifts aplenty.  He was quite excited that he may have photographed a Lesser woodpecker (he really wants to see one), sadly after some discussion it was clear that it was the bigger version. .



We went on to VP1 where Mike was watching a Whitethroat.  I managed a half decent pic before it flitted off into the undergrowth.

Whitethroat singing his heart out

Mike then talked about a pair of Spotted Redshank at VP2, which we had missed.  I quickly formulated a plan.  We could let Mike go down there, find them and then we could look as well (its called lazy birding).  As I hurried Mike along we ditched the bikes and strolled about a bit at Waltons.

Pochard, Tufties and a GWE Egret were in attendance along with a murderous Coot who killed one of it young. Nice.
Motherly love...

After leaving the murder scene we peddled back to VP2 where Mike let us see the Redshanks, very nice.  On the way I got a picture of what I think is a Hobby

 Best picture ever

We headed through Shapwick.  A chap was photographing something in the verge, probably a butterfly or something...

Not to be out done, we stopped at a little patch where there are regularly reptiles out basking.  Sure enough we were rewarded with plenty of Slow Worms and even a dinky Grass snake.

Slow Worms

We decided to head back to the spot where the bloke was photographing  after Steve Balcombe told us of snake activity.  We took a look about, after a few minutes I spotted a scaly body.  She was a big one, well over a foot long.  Sadly she wouldn't come out of the hedge.  But luckily Andrew had his macro.

Nice work!

 Fangtastic! A head shot.

Eventually she slid away, leaving us to consider our next move.  A quick trip to Westhay.  We stopped on the way and met these two fellows...  I think we owe an apology regarding facial hair.

Then, on to Westhay.  Where there was bugger all really.  Save for some rustling reeds and the odd Cetti's and a few Buzzards.

Wish it was a Kite

The sun was getting a little lower in the sky, we had grand plans of going to Catcott but in the end we sat down at The Railway instead.  No Guinea-fowl, but plenty of reptile photos.  A pretty fangtastic day all in all.


A swift suprise


So I stopped out side the car park and waited for James. I had a quick look over my shoulder to see if he was on his way, nope not a sign. I bent down to check my tyres and AHHH! he was there on my shoulder! The bugger frit the life out of me. Sod. I turned round after recovering ready to move off and a bloody woman was walking straight towards me AHHHH! Sod(ess)

We were of in a jiff to Morrisons for refreshments. The place was buzzing with police and fire crews everywhere. Open day apparently. I instantly pondered hanging around to do a bit of photography. I was soon shocked out of it as a fuzz walked past and his walky talky went off AHHHH! Sod(Officer).

Finally we ended up at VP1 Hamwall. It was going to be a classic run with a little surprise for James but more of that later. The plan was to bag a Swift. One had been reported so I was keen to see my first of the year.

Two buzzards and a Crow having a spat

We did actually see a rarity. I'm sure you've all seen it a million times already and we appolagies for being a little late to the party however here is the Glossy Ibis

Glossy Ibis

Glossy Ibis and Tor (Just)

It was a nice surprise. I was actually sort of hoping not to ever see it, you know, just to be different. Bit like the Hudsonian Godwit which I'm proud to say I never saw. Anyway we moved on to the Avalon Hide. Fairly quiet save for horny Grebes.

To the Tor hide and a brief Bittern

I had a bit of a surprise when I saw this!! WTF!! Erm a scary ghost cat sort of thing!! Answers on a postcard please

From the Tor hide we saw the other resident rarity. The Ring Necked Duck. Bit like a dirty Tufty with a flash bill. Still nice to see and we had great fun pointing it out to all and sundry who entered, mostly with a midlands accent. Must have been a coach trip.

Three Garganey and the Ring Necked in the back ground plus Tuftys

Moving on to Shapwick where there was a Cormorant, yes that was it, one Cormorant, we came across the semi completed new Hide by the Scrape. You know I don't like hides with notable exceptions including the new Hamwall Avalon Hide and I'm willing to give them a try however first impressions don't hold well I'm afraid. I'll refrain until I've put a few muddy boot prints on the floor.

We came across a few basking Slow Worms on the path. A very nice surprise indeed. James couldn't get them with his auto focus thingy so had to rely on me with my 100mm Macro Takumar Manual.

And now for the surprise. I was given a bit of inside info, nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more gov'nor. Had it all planned and led the way to here

Actually this is Heath Rhyne we really went to Heath Rhyne at the back of Hamwall.

And what a nice place it is to. Plans didn't go well as we intended to cycle along there but after 100 feet we were stumped by a large style and very narrow plank bridge. Anyway we wandered along and snapped a few thing in a very tranquil environ.

We stopped directly opposite the Avalon Hide

Funny how the Marsh Harriers were exactly equidistant between us and the Hide.

James making a leap of faith

On the Sunday I had another tranquil wander this time along the South Drain towards Huntspill. Absolutely nothing to see bar a few Shelducks. The best thing was a Sparrow Hawk being mobbed by two Swallows. I've sent his before. Raptors a wimps when they are in the air

A tranquil stop at Tealham had a nice surprise in the form of a Marsh Harrier

James cpouldn't be arsed to put his pics in the right order or even in the right place and I can't be arsed to do it for him so here they are. They might look a little familiar as we were in the same place at the same time with one exception.

 The darker blob is an Ibis.  The worst picture of an Ibis ever taken

Here's that exception. He got a blood Swift didn't he. 

G G G Garganey having a swim at Tor Hide