Saturday, 7 May 2016

Bunking off work...

A rare day off and I took advantage of the nice weather by going to the Somerset Levels (no surprises there then!).  I was really hoping to see otters but no luck this time.

The summer warblers were on full song although I'm yet to hear a grasshopper warbler.  There were a number of hobbies chasing the newly emerged dragonflies.  The bitterns were generally spending the day stuck to one spot with the exception of one individual who flew so close it felt like it was coming into the hide; no one was prepared with their camera so we all just have to remember the moment.


An incredible noise from the reeds suggested a waterrail, but I noticed this nest with two red headed chicks and realised that it was just a moorhen mother trying to distract me...

This jay was up to no good!  I saw two cuckoos from the same spot and later had a reasonable view of a calling male in the distance.  One of the first pair made that strange bubbling call.

There were a few common butterflies around - this I suspect is a small white.

The levels would not be complete without regular sightings of marsh harriers, such as this one below which gave us quite good views.

Another target species for this trip was a white-throat - I've still not managed to get the shot that I want however but I'll keep trying...

Just taken off...

The grebes and herons were very active, with a couple of heron nests easily viewed from one of the hides.  The heron chick was huge and extremely persistent.

Reed bunting male
As mentioned the bitterns were elusive, although booming regularly; this is the only shot I managed to get - well at least it proves that they are there.

Isn't spring great!

Monday, 2 May 2016

Ancient woodland wonders

WE paid a visit to our favorite wood today, Lower Woods in South Gloucestershire, and following a huge downpour we walked for a few hours to see the wonderful wild flowers.

This large woodland supports a host of ancient woodland plant species, as well as nightingales and dormice:

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False oxslip
Wood spurge
Wild strawberry and violet
Early purple orchid