Sunday, 28 March 2010

Spendid Somerset

What a day....

Today was a visit to the wonderful wetlands of the Somerset Levels in the UK - this is my key birding area as its local to me and its rather special.

Glastonbury Tor looking over the Somerset Levels

It is a large area of low land supporting peat, some of which has been dug out making lots of lakes fringed by reedbeds, so loved by birds. Waders, ducks, raptors, herons and warblers are plentiful. Summer sees the arrival of lots of dragonflies and damselflies, but also mozzies (yuck).

If you know where to go there are otters too, that can be seen during the day. In additon there are many interesting plants in a wonderful landscape of small fields, bounded by ditches ("rhynes") plus thick hedgerows with old willows and oaks...I LOVE IT!

My Visit to the "Levels"

Saturday proved to be a lovely Spring day: not only sunshine, but reptiles, amphibians, mammals, butterflies and birds.

The "Levels" provide lots of sites worth visiting, but amongst the best at the moment that are easily accessible are Catcott Lows, Ham Wall and Shapwick Heath.

Birds seen and heard: Booming bittern, great white egret, little egrets, singing chiff-chaffs in flowering pussy willow, singing Cetti's warbler, possible marsh harrier, black-tailed godwits in summer plumage, redshank, sand-martins, tawny owl calling, winter ducks (teal, wigeon & shoveller) and dancing grebes:


The great crested grebes were very active with their courting dance - they face one another bobbing heads for a while then both dive for weed. They then surface, swim together, then rise majestically out of the water, treading water for some distance - just spectular. What romantics.

The introduced Marsh frogs (I think) were calling and clinging together in a less than romantic embrace:

Marsh Frog

Massively exciting were the corrugated iron sheets lying around - and its impossible not to peak. There were grass snakes, slow worms and adders, virtually intertwined, sucking up the warmth - just mind blowing!


...but best of all, whilst sitting in the sun resting lazily on a lakeside, there was a commotion amongst the fish and a few yards away AN OTTER!!!! Very Happy (see image at the top of the blog)

It swam straight towards me and quite close before it noticed me. I only have a 10x magnification SDLR camera so the picture is quite poor, but who cares!

As I said...what a day!.


  1. Hello there Peter!

    I thought I recognised your name on my followers list. I hope you are well. Looking forward to hearing all about your local area. My interest has grown in watching wildlife since we first e-met. I’d love to see the Grebes do their dance. As for an otter… seriously jealous there :-D

    For any visitors passing by and reading this... please do visit Peter's website. There is a wealth of info there if you enjoy watching wildlife. Peter clearly has a passion for wildlife and enjoys sharing it :-D

    All the very best with your blog, Peter! Enjoy the blogging world. There is a wealth of interesting people out there. Perhaps I could send a few by to see you :-D

  2. Hi Peter
    Nice to meet you - I'm stopping by via Shirl's blog.

    You lucky devil!! All that wildlife and Glastonbury Tor too!! Looking forward to reading more.

    best wishes


  3. And another couple of blogs you might enjoy

  4. Thanks for the nice comments Dan & Shirl - I do feel a bit cheeky though for inviting you to visit!

  5. Welcome to blogging, Peter. I came over from Shirl's blog. I live in the Southeastern part of the US and love to see pictures of plants and animals from all parts of the world. I am looking forward to seeing what you have on your blog. I enjoyed your pictures today. They were great. I have an otter who visits my pond sometimes. They sure are fun to watch. Glad you were able to get that picture. Carla


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