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22nd November 2022 – Stoke Park Estate, Bristol

It was very wet underfoot but there was good light and it was still quite mild on my walk through our local park this morning.

Stoke Park Estate with the Dower House in the background and the annex to Duchess pond in the foreground

Duchess Pond

A pair of stonechats brightened my day which might have been even better if I had managed to find the firecrests which other local birders have been reporting regularly in the last few days. Another challenge for another day.

Female stonechat

Male stonechat

Grey heron

Moorhen

Coot
Mute swans

Slideshow of my photos from this morning:

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8th November 2022 – Catcott Lows, Somerset Levels

I stopped off at Cheddar Reservoir on my way to the Avalon Marshes in Somerset but a heavy shower sent me scurrying back to my car; and so my only photo of my brief walk was of a pied wagtail.

Pied wagtail

I made another stop by the roadside after Wedmore when I saw a flock of 22 cattle egret. I even managed some shots of a pair of buzzards in the same area.

It’s quite clear why they are called cattle egret
Cattle egret

Buzzard

When I arrived at Catcott everyone in the hide was in a state of excitement having seen a hen harrier, marsh harriers and red kites in the last few minutes. Before too long the hen harrier flashed right in front of the hide. I had wonderful views of it but, even though I have a photographic record of it, my photos were rather disappointing.

Hen harrier

Hen harrier

It was great to see much more water on the levels and the number of shoveler, wigeon and lapwings is beginning to increase.

The water is building up

Wigeon

Shoveler

A female marsh harrier also appeared. I could see distant great white egrets and my full collection of egrets was soon completed with the arrival of a little egret.

Marsh harrier flying with Glastonbury Tor as a backdrop

Little egret

On my way back I had another look for the cattle egrets and found that the flock was more than twice as big as I had seen earlier.

Cattle egret

Slideshow of today’s photos:

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4th November 2022 – RSPB Ham Wall, Somerset Levels

A glorious day on the Somerset Levels. We had a brief visit to RSPB Greylake. However, it was very quiet there other than a flock of lapwing which, along with a bittern, were spooked by a marsh harrier.

We moved on to RSPB Ham Wall and spent a good deal of our time watching a pair of marsh harriers hunting. Quite spectacular.

Glastonbury Tor dominates the Somerset Levels here

Marsh harrier with the Tor as a backdrop

Marsh harrier

Great crested grebe with lunch

Marsh harrier

The shoveler spent much of their time on the wing avoiding the marsh harriers

Gadwall

Marsh harrier hovering over its prey