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18th April 2017 – Somerset Levels

What an amazing day out! I met up with fellow Eastville Park birder Steve Poulsom at RSPB Ham Wall on the Somerset Levels just as the sun was burning off the mist and, although it was rather chilly in the hides, we spent the day absorbed in all the best action that the Somerset Levels can provide.

Before we had our cameras adjusted we saw a Bittern fly across the reeds. A Little Egret then flew in on the other side of the pathway and demonstrated its fishing skills. Great Crested Grebe looked their best and already on their nests.

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Butterflies were appearing everywhere. Peacocks on the way to the Avalon hide and Orange tips never stopping to have their photos taken. The din of Cetti’s Warblers was every where but they were invisible. Several Blackcaps were more obliging.

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Speckled Wood 

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Orange-tip butterfly taking a break from searching for the plainer, grey and white female by resting on its favourite mustard garlic plant (or is it its other favourite Lady’s Smock – otherwise known as cuckoo flower ?)

Orange-tip butterfly 

 

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Bitterns were booming at the Avalon hide and then Marsh Harriers provided a fabulous display only to be enhanced with the arrival of a Peregrine.

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We were like children let free in a sweet shop grabbing shots here and there.

In the afternoon we went across to Shapwick Heath. A Chiffchaff posed for us and then the first damsel fly of the season.

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(Impressive website for identification of damselflies: http://www.british-dragonflies.org.uk/content/largely-blue-and-black )

At the new hide we had good views of Black-tailed Godwits with a single Ruff amongst them. A Great White Egret (not in breeding plumage) flew in. A Sparrow Hawk displayed at amazing speed (much too fast for me to grab a shot) and before we left more Marsh Harriers appeared.

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It was so hard to drag ourselves away, always believing that we were going to get the ultimate shot.

A grand day out.

Click on gallery for more photos

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