Tuesday…Mainly sunny…20ºC.

Ham Wall RSPB-Somerset trip.

Spent most of the day at Ham Wall RSPB today. I made my mind up to go today, because Birdguides were putting out reports yesterday of a Collared Pratincole (a bird I have dipped on several times), and also 3 Little Bitterns. Both these birds being lifers for me. Add to that 2 Glossy Ibis, and a few Great White Egrets…It’s a trip I just had to make, especially with 2 Lifers for my Bird List…


On arrival at the car park, I was told the Little Bitterns were showing well, and the Collared Pratincole had not been seen. These early reports would turn out to be the total opposite to how I came across both birds. Walking up the very very long path, I was soon overtaken by 2 eager Birders. They told me that the Collared Pratincole had turned up on the 2nd Overlook. Not knowing where the 2nd Overlook was…I decided to keep up with these guys. On the way I was hoping for close views, but unfortunately it was very distant. I had great views through the scope. But even in flight it stayed distant. I was really happy to at last see this bird. But it was a little frustrating from a photographic perspective. So i’ll post these heavily cropped record photos…









Being really happy to at last see the Collared Praticole, and the bird landing out of sight, I decided to go see the showing well Little Bitterns. This area was massive, and most of it covered in Phragmites Reed. I instantly heard the Little Bitterns bark like call.  There were at least 50 birders all spread along the path. I listened in to what the RSPB  warden was saying. They had apparently showed well 5 times early in the morning, and had not been seen for a couple of hours. But he did say there was no pattern to their flying times. He also told us that one of them loved to fly in the corner to the right behind a dead tree to fish. So I decided to set up opposite this dead tree. Another 3 hours passed, with the Little Bittern calling at regular intervals in that time. To left of where I stood there was a small bush that hindered my panoramic view of the reedbeds. But with the Wardens words ringing in my ears about it fishing often behind this dead tree, I stopped in my position. All of a sudden the shout went up, that the Little Bittern was in flight. I dodged the little bush to the left, and had great views through my bins. I then got behind my camera. looking through the bush, I could see it flying in the direction of the dead tree, I panned my camera left.It just came from behind the bush, and I just got focused, when it dived into the reeds. It fell short of the dead tree by 200 metres. I was gutted that I did not even press my shutter. Frustrated, and now with the bird calling only 50 metres from my position. I waited another 3 hours. But it never came out again while I was there. I was still happy that I had good views through the Bins, and I also get to add another bird to my life list. That takes my total to 308 birds for Britain. Only another 92 to make the magical 400.

While waiting for the Little Bittern a family of Long-tailed Tits were drying off from a dip in the water. This youngster staying in this position to dry off ages…


Reed Warbler was catching flies nearby…


One of the Great White Egrets, which were also distant…


I also added a new Damselfly to my list. Not a great photo, mainly because it landed high up in this tree. It’s a Southern Damselfly. The Mercury abdominal mark on segment 2 is diagnostic to the species…


I would like to thank David Butcher for lending me his 1.4x converter, and being such good company. It does your heart good, meeting such nice people.

Really enjoyed my visit to Ham Wall, and seeing 2 lifers in one day is always very exciting. Shame the birds didn’t show well enough. Forgot to say, I also saw the Glossy Ibis, as they walked out of sight behind the reeds…Story of the day really.




4 thoughts on “12.7.16.

  1. dgeorge4 says:

    Did u now moorhen nest had been trashed in dog pool ? Done monday/ Tuesday.  Gutted 

    Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.


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