We woke this morning to bright sunshine – something we hadn’t expected! We are surrounded by wonderful country on all sides and in the distance is the fabled Glastonbury Tor – a wonderful sight in the morning mist.




And three alpacas are our neighbours…




Albert, Jeffrey & Percy

(not sure at the moment of the correct order though!)


As the weather has taken a change for the better, we decided to drive to Westhay Moor, an area of natural beauty and part of the mystical Avalon Marshes.  It is looked after by Somerset Wildlife Trust and according to their literature, “visitors can experience the local landscape as it was when the first settlers, Neolithic farmers, made the marshes home – a mosaic of wetlands, lakes and reed beds with hidden wildfowl and fish.”

I have to admit that we did find that “hidden” was the significant word today but nevertheless found it to be a wonderful area.  We drove over “droves” – causeways raised above the level of the land with drainage ditches either side.  If you look very closely you will see a heron flying along to the left of the road (don’t forget you can click to see a bigger image and then click again to make images even larger):

There are water channels running at right angles to the causeway:

We arrived at the nature reserve and parked outside the carpark (it had a height barrier which excluded poor old Bessie).  There are several hides there and we followed the map from the website that I had downloaded to my phone.

Birdlife was few and far between sadly but we saw the odd Mallard and Coot, along with this rather proud Gadwall and his mate:



Overhead we spotted a kestrel – a handsome profile in the bright sky if ever I saw one.




There were some pretty muddy stretches of grassy paths after the torrential rain of the night before but there were some lovely plays of light on the water to be seen through the trees:

There weren’t many other people about but in one of the hides was a very pleasant man who we chatted to for a while.  It turned out that he lived very close to where we were camping and often visited the nature reserve to take photographs.  He was also an expert on insects.  While we were talking a swan hove into view and a rainbow magically appeared before us.

We should have heeded the warning – suddenly there was a torrential downpour as the rain caught up with us.  How fortunate we were in the hide!  It didn’t last long, however, and we said goodbye and started to walk back to Bessie.  It was only just after 3pm but we were aware that the afternoons were now going to be considerably shorter!

The sun came out again and the colours all around us were heightened:

We came across this interesting wooden sculpture of starlings:

This area is famous for the starling “murmurations” when huge flocks of them go to roost in the late afternoon.  We are hoping to see this phenomenon at the RSPB reserve close by at Ham Hill tomorrow – if we’re lucky.

These decorative tree stumps helped when Peter wanted to take some long distance photos.




He photographed these swans in dramatically dark water.





The light started to go and I just captured the incredible lichen growing up this water-logged tree before we headed back to Bessie.



Tomorrow is another day in this wonderful part of the country.