Saturday, 2 April 2011

Somerset Levels - a spring day

ON the Levels today there were two things out in force - mosquitoes and sand martins - thousands of them.  

 Lots and lots of mozzies

The bitterns were also booming strongly - the call starts with a stuttering burpy noise, then goes fully into the resonant bottle top blowing - very strange.  However hard I looked I did not see the bird. I did manage to great a great view of a sky wheeling marsh harrier and my first hobby of the year.

Thanks to the couple that I met today who pointed out a fantastic male adder curled up by the track.  It was also accompanied by a beautiful gold and black female - I think that we may have been gooseberries!

Adder (male)

Willow warblers, chiffchaffs and blackcaps were singing in the sunshine.  This blackcap was particularly tame:



The great crested grebes have all paired up and at this time of year can be seen dancing their exotic courting ritual...this was was just fishing:

 Great crested grebe

Fortunately the mozzies were not the only insects around.  A few butterfly species that overwinter as adults can be seen now; for instance peacocks, comma and brimstones.  I tried very hard to photograph the beautiful yellow brimstones in flight, as they shot up and down the woodland rides.  They are speedy little blighters!  This was my best effort:

Brimstone in flight

Spring also gives rise to seaonal fungi that only appear now.  This yellow one I think is Coprinus micaceus (the Glistening Ink cap) and was found in a woodland.  It appears from spring to autumn:



  1. Lovely photos... I photographed some great crested grebes at Himley Hall recently. I missed the mating ritual unfortunately as that had happened earlier in March.

  2. Louise - did you don your snorkel or were you lucky enuf to see 'em thru the water surface? :-)

  3. the brimstones are flying once again in the back field. I love the acid yellowy green of the male.
    Great post. Thankyou.


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