Like Buses

So one post yesterday and another today.  Just like Buses you wait for one and two come along.  The Cattle Egrets thought the same!  Indeed they saved the day.  I had been to Greylake and Catcott and neither of them seemed to have much by way of birds (Catcott in particular remains devoid of anything...)

The wind was absolutely belting through and brought with it a steel grey sky and a generally depressing atmosphere.  However amongst the grey came some much welcome whiteness!

 There are 3 of 'em.

 Like buses

A case of mistaken Identity


Well.  It has been ages since we did a proper EFRS blogpost.  Andrew has been focussing (excuse the pun) on his manual focus business meanwhile I have been doing a spot of fishing (sheppeyfishtales).  Sorry a shameless plug for an activity Andrew disagrees with.  Oh well - he isn't writing the blogpost :-)

Anyway it soon became apparent that the giddy excitement of being out and about clouded our better judgment with regards to identification.

First off it was Catcott which didn't actually have any ducks on it, either abducted by aliens or all at Greylake?  Very strange.

We looked out from the awkward viewing slits.  Obviously crafted by demented Dwarf engineers.  Too low and very awkward.

In a galaxy far, far away (well, at the back of the reserve) a Marsh harrier (or was it a Hen Harrier!? ) flew low over the trees.

One of the few Mute Swans 

And the ever present Black Headed Gulls

A few Cormorants sauntered about along with a swan or two and that was about it.

Then something good happened.  A flock of Starlings were making pretty shapes in the air.  Sadly i don't think they were releasing their creative side.  Instead they were fighting for their lives as a bird of prey dived around them.  Due to us both craving something really good we decided it was a Merlin and that was that (we had know idea, it was essentially lots of little dots being chased by a bigger dot).  It could have been a male Peregrine or perhaps a Sparrow hawk or just maybe a Merlin...

One of those Starlings

After some discussion regarding Andrew's latest Manual focus escapades we headed over to Westhay, London Drove.

Its always a nice walk here, especially as the sun was slowly trying to come out.

 This Egret went for a mid air poo, unfortunately my shot was blurry 
so you will have to make do with this.

I got quite excited seeing a male Bullfinch - top little birds

As I was farting about with the Bullfinch a larger bird swooped through the trees.  Both Andrew and myself were a bit taken aback.  Immediately unlikely species came to the for.  Rumblings of Goshawks, Peregrines and... ahem a Wryneck (I'm not sure why this came to mind if I'm honest).  Anyway it was most likely a female Sparrow hawk but we will say its a Wryneck.

After all this excitement we stopped off at the little hide overlooking some reeds (a description which could apply to any hide with 100 acres of here).

A large bird was floating over the reeds.  Immediately cameras were armed and fired.  It looked a bit different from the norm.  Rumblings of RingTail Hen Harrier came to the for (despite it not actually having a Ring...).

Anyway we were soon put right by the very knowledgeable chap who is often down at Westhay (drives a big truck and has a beard).  Sorry i am so bad with names...  It was a Marsh Harrier...

 Hen Marsh Harrier

 This Crocodile was responsible for the lack of ducks.

 Definitely Canada Geese.


So, in the end we had a Wryneck, Merlin and Hen Harrier :-)  Plus a Crocodile.

It was definitely a case of mistaken identity...

But theres more! James has neglected to mention our further trip over to Tealham Moore. We weren't expecting much and thats what we got. A beautiful place especially when the water levels are up. There were a few bits and bobs around though.

A nice close Little Egret

And finally......



Two Swifts and a packet of crisps please


A small ramekin of hand crafted wasabi nuts to be correct but it was The Sheppey. Before we get to that lets tell the tail of the day. It was a wonderfully sunny bank holiday Monday. The hottest since I was in shorts I believe. James was naturally early. Was this a good sign? It was defiantly above zero on the thermometer as he was sporting flip-flops and his Auntie Margarets sunglasses!

So we were off as usual. It's actually been quite a while what with holidays and weekends away and all that. Still it was good to be riding with the pack again. Aqueduct Crossing was looking resplendent in the late summer foliage. We entered Hamwall and what did I spot at VP2 but a Sparrow hawk in a tree. Nice start to the day don't you think?

These days are lazy for all concerned and that goes especially for the local wildlife. You don't really get your moneys Worth in these sunny days. Yes the sunshine is long but the activity is short. We stayed for a few hours with two Bitterns to keep us company

Plus a few more regular fellows.

VP1 is an odd sort of spot. We never seem to stay around there if at all. Very rarely see anything at all to be honest or is it just us? But today we did manage the Glossy Ibis. Aww poor thing. At one point there were three but don't know where his mates have gone. He's been flying solo for a while now. Maybe next year you'll find love fella. You had to stand on the benches at the front to see him but there he was all the same.

Now on to the Tor Hide. Lovely place when things move around. Today we had Coots and Little Grebes and that was about it.

Oh and a frog swimming along.

Another Little Grebe

Ah this takes me back to the old days of Twitter competition with @robinmmorrison of "thing and Tor"

Cycling on we went across the divide to the Scrape on Shapwick. Its a bit dry at the moment with mostly mud. I had read on Twitter that that jet setting Uber Twitcher Cliff (@01000011S) would be in town. Sure as eggs is scrambled for his hearty breakfast in the morning he was there hunched over his scope with those disgusting plastic shoes he has! He was taking it easy with the local fodder. He did point out a Greensand and a Greenshank feeding on the mud.

Spot the Green ones if you can!

We had a bit of a natter and left him to his business. We had to do the obligatory Osprey tick on Noahs. Unfortunately the Hide is being rebuilt at present so you were stuck on the path. That left you about half a mile from the thing on a stick.

It was literally a thing on a stick once you cropped in!

And then came the confession. If you are a follower of either myself (@EFRSblog) or James in particular (@Moorfeathers) you will be aware of the sad demise by drowning of James beloved Sony camera. Much sympathy was poured out by the twitter community. Benevolent funds were set up, charities were formed and wreathes of sympathy were sent. The black horses were ordered and a monumental mason offered his services for free. Ok there were a few "Oh dear thats very sad" tweets. However it transpired that yes he lost his camera in a ditch on the levels but the lens attached was mine! A lovely old Carl Zeiss 50mm f1.8 pancolar DDR. OK not the best of Zeiss's but still a lovely old manual metal beauty from the 70's. These things have character and style and solidity. My collection of Takumars are things of artistic beauty. It had survived all these years to be tossed into a ditch. Tragic to say the least. I am genuinely heart broken by it's loss.

I was however pleasantly rewarded with one of the last hobbies of the year. I did have to wait a bit for it to come back and James was a bit blasé about it as he had earlier in the week got one for himself.

After a rather delightful stop off at Eco friendly bites (@ecofriendlybite) which produced an excellent cup of Earl Grey for me and a huge mug of Hot Chocolate for James, HOT CHOCOLATE on the hottest August Bank holiday since dinosaurs wore knotted hankies on their heads!!!

Anyway we were fed and watered and off again down to the tranquil waters of Westhey. Not known for its exciting sightings on the whole we still fancied our chances. Down London Drove James didn't stand a chance with the logs over the mud. Bit of hurt pride and muddy knees later he was up and at 'em

Man Down!

First stop was that funny horse shoe hide I can never remember the name of. It was quiet, too quiet. While James kept watch I flicked over to the little side and clipped on the 100mm L macro lens. First time this year!

Bird crap for flash testing.

There wasn't a great deal of creepy crawlies around so I went for the arty death and decay we all know and love so much.

Three, two, one your back in the room. These Swans are the best your going to get from here.

Oh and this thing in the water that kept us scratching our heads for far too long.

Not a lot else to snap at.

This Hawker tested my (James) patience...

So what about those Swifts and packets of crisps? Well we did the only thing open to a couple of thirsty adventurers and stopped off at the Sheppy to debrief ourselves. While there two swifts flew passed as we crunched on our savoury snacks and ale. Perfect end don't you think?

The finale was the exquisite cycle from The Sheppy back to Glastonbury via Godney. In the evening sun it is possibly one of the most beautiful rides there is. Or is that just me? This chap was wandering up on high over me as well.

Meanwhile my (James) cycle home included a Buzzard doing a tightrope walk...