I think we may have had the best of the weather this week. Today is cloudy and there are showers forecast.
A lazy start to the day and then we took our usual path over the droves of the Somerset Levels – this time in search of Greylake, a fairly new RSPB reserve on the other side of the Polden Hills, just eight miles from the campsite.
On the way we spotted another Heron – this time in close proximity to a cow!
And then, further along the road, I spotted these geese. At first I thought some were Greylags but looking at the photos later, I realised that they were a little more interesting. As far as we can tell, they are Swan Geese – a large male, a female and possibly some youngsters.
We knew already that they had been doing a certain amount of reed cutting and repairing some of the boardwalks at Greylake, but unfortunately work was still ongoing and there was nothing to see from the one hide. We did spot a bird of prey – possibly a Marsh Harrier – on a tree quite some way away but that was it. On the way back to Bessie, however, we spotted another Heron and a large group of Starlings.
We decided to back-track and return to Westhay to visit the hides we had missed two days ago. Because of the rainfall we had had overnight we knew the track would be too wet to walk along without getting filthy so thought we would try to take Bessie down the public bridleway to make it easier to reach the hides.
Poor old Bessie’s top got a bit of a rough ride from a few overhanging branches but we got a certain way down the track and even managed to turn her round and park.
We popped into the Lake Hide just around the corner. There was not a lot around but this group of Canada Geese and some Mallards swum across the lake at some distance.
It was quite a long walk down to the other hides. On the way we passed this pair of Chaffinches on the path.
The first of the two hides was at the end of a boardwalk through the reedbeds. Nothing much there – just this family of Mute Swans.
Eventually we arrived at the second of the hides we hadn’t been into before. Peter was ahead of me and turned round to me slowly, beckoning me finger to lips. I got my camera ready and was amazed to see, about three yards away and partially hidden by reeds, this beautiful Great White Egret.
Not the easiest thing to photograph as the reeds were waving wildly in the wind but I got two decent images out of about twenty before, with a flap of those enormous wings, the Egret took off majestically and disappeared over the reed beds.
So, a great end to an otherwise fairly quiet day amongst the birdlife of Somerset. It was worth that long walk!
We decided to treat ourselves to a pub meal and drove to the Sexeys Arms in nearby Blackford. The pub was quiet but soon filled up – it was Skittles Night apparently (a Somerset tradition) and teams of men (no women oddly) gradually started wandering through to the skittle alley out the back. It was a good meal, if somewhat filling – brocolli and stilton soup, followed by steak in Guiness pie and chocolate ice cream. We’re not used to such large meals!
The Heron strikes such a majestic pose.
I wondered when food would make a re-appearance into the blog!