TEALHAM MOOR - CHEDDAR RESERVOIR - CHEW VALLEY LAKE - BLAGDON LAKE - BARROW GURNEY TANKS - HAM WALL STARLING ROOST
WEATHER: rain - on and off all day with some heavy showers, light winds, sunshine late afternoon. Colder.
It was raining when we got up, it was raining when we set off at 8am, Guy Campbell came over for the day to join us and wished he hadn't!!
the rain prevented us from getting out of the bus at Tealham Moor! We saw almost zilch on the Moor because it was flooded, a few Cnanada Geese and a flock of Black-headed Gulls was all.
It was pouring down at Cheddar reservoir but we all got out of the bus and walked up the ramp to view the water. It was quite unpleasant but we found two male Goosanders, that was nice. Most of the other birds were sitting at the far side of the water about a mile away. We logged Cormorant, Coot, Great-crested Grebe, Tufted Duck and a few more Black-headed Gulls. The rain intensified so we left!
It took 30 minutes to drive through Cheddar Gorge and across to Chew Valley Lake, it rained all the way! But, by the time we got to Woodford Lodge the sky was brighter and the rain had eased off. We searched the area for WAXWINGS! Three had been seen for the last few days around the Lodge and in an Orchard on the approach road, we never saw them!! We found Blackcap, Bullfinch, Redwing, Song Thrush, Robin, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Goldfinch, Goldcrest, Chaffinch, Blackbird...but not a single Waxwing.
A Marsh Harrier flying up to join a Great Egret and some Cormorants on the dead tree
the Harrier landing in the dead tree
Next stop was the viewing area at Herons Green where we did find our target bird the Greater Scaup, along with our first Goldeneye of the trip, also Lesser-black-backed Gull, Fieldfare and all the common duck species. A Great Egret sat in a dead tree with a few Cormorants and a Marsh Harrier flew up and joined them, quite an usual sight is a Marsh harrier at the top of a dead tree!!
the rain stopped for a while at Herons Green
Blagdon Lake was virtually bursting its banks we drove through some serious puddles along the way and along side the reservoir. After a few attempts we finally located our target bird, the male RING-NECKED DUCK. It sat with a bunch of Tufties and showed well.
After stopping at the Pastie shop to buy lunch in West Harptree, we sat and ate at Herriots Bridge which was flooded and pretty devoid of birds!! The worst I have ever seen it, just a few Mallards, Teal, Mute Swans, Black-headed and Herring Gulls. The Channel from the main lake was a torrent of brown, dirty water!
a poor record shot of the Ring-necked Duck
We made a quick stop at Sutton Wick view Point to look for the LESSER SCAUP, but with a strong wind in our faces and the ligt being so bad (we were looking into the sun), we never Had much of a chance of finding the bird. We saw hundreds of Tufties, Common Pochard, some Goldeneye and Guy fell over into the mud, our best sighting of the day, dipstick!!
At the Barrow Tanks it was relatively calm, we had distant, but good views of the LONG-TAILED DUCK ! It is wintering there for its second or third year. A large flock of Common Pochard was also nice to see.
Long-tailed Duck at Barrow Tanks
Long-tailed Duck and a Tufted Duck
It was after 3pm so we decided to drive back to Ham Wall to visit the Starling roost. A second stop at Woodford Lodge to search for the missing WAXWINGS proved fruitless, but we added Great Spotted Woodpecker to our list.
We arrived at Ham Wall at 4pm and walked to VP1, a small crowd had gathered. The Starlings came in relatively small numbers, 2-3 hundred thousand and they didn't perform very much, they dispappeared over the distant trees and never came. Shapwick heath was their roost site for tonight. Several Marsh Harriers were heading off to roost at we walked away.
a better picture of the Long-tailed Duck taken by Graham Stuart today.
Never mind, as they say! We saw Great Egrets going to roost and many more common ducks, we heard Water Rail and a Cetti's Warbler. The forecast for tomorrow is better!!