The pump was started on the Meare Heath lagoon (Scrape)! this weekend. May take a week to get the level down to wader depth, so watch this space
There was certainly a lot of water yesterday afternoon, with tufties, pochard and a drake scaup all feeding.
According to Twitter info. the 'scaup' is a hybrid of pochard x tuftie?!
Thanks, Sandra. I've looked up a few pictures of hybrids, and would agree. The bird was feeding actively, so only ever on surface for a few seconds, but the 'fingernail' was quite big, like pochard, which I thnk is the main clue. It was the lack of any tuft which made me think it wasn't a hybrid,, but it turns out not all hybrids have these (or they are invisible from certain angles).
Some mud showing today at Meare Heath. quite a lot of dabbling ducks there notably Teal and Shoveler but no Garganey or waders that I could see. The only minor surprise were 2 Shelduck that flew into Noah's briefly before moving to the scrape. A Curlew flew high over the Shapwick bridge end of the reserve later.
Single Little Ringed Plover on the newly emerged muddy island in the now partially drained Meare Heath scape at 1500hrs this afternoon
Sat eve 1830-1930 ; A drake Garganey on the drained lagoon later moved to the reeded lagoon to the east of the scrape. There were two Redshank and one Blk Tld. G'Wit among a number of Teal, Gadwall,Shoveller and a couple of Tufties and Pochard present at dusk; with half a dozen flyover Little Egrets heading to roost.
3 Drake Garganey;4 Redshank; 1 Black Wit on the scrape late morning plus as pointed out to me by Sandra Padfield a male White Wagtail, I had a look at my Kieth Vinnicombe book and I'm sure that it was with three flyover Bitterns in the bright warm sunshine! Plus two passing Bearded Tits on 70 Acres
7pm 32 blackwits, 4 redshank, 1 drake garganey, plus gadwall, tufted, shoveler, teal, mallard. 2 bitterns booming. Blackwits very vocal.
3 drake Garganey on Meare Heath this afternoon, up to 16:30 when I left there, but they were on the open water of the first reedy pool just before you reach the scrape.
Re My reference to "Kieth Vinnicombe" book on yesterdays posting. This is a 1989 Macmillan Field Guide to Bird Identification ( old like me!) deals with subtle differences between similar species and sub species; ideal for sorting out problem birds. There are still copies out there, well worth having if you can find one!
55 Blk Tld. G'Wits ;2 Redshank;1 Garganey an occasional couple of G. W. Egrets plus a couple of dozen Teal with a few Gadwall and Mallard were the scrape birds today livened up by a Peregrine that lifted the G'Wits on two occasions they returned but the Redshank hadn't by 1430! At one stage two Peregrines were visible. A flyover Red Kite at 1315hrs followed by 2 Cranes heard calling then seen toward Walton, circled then headed back towards the S.West. Swallows in ones and twos passed during the day.
One Little Ringed Plover; 5 Ruff and 1 Green S'piper were new additions today but Blk Wits were down to 11 and Redshank down to two! Three Garganey males now and then but only one at times.
Further to Alan's reference to Keith Vinnicombe's ID Guide - Great book with secondhand copies available for less than a fiver. Recommended!
Click on website link at the bottom or 'cut and paste' this into your browser:
A visit this evening 6.15 to 7.15 saw all waders present as Alan's last post with all 3 Garganey together plus fly over Osprey going north at 6.45 and Red Kite to the south being mobbed and flying west at 7.10.
Also large grass snake in river swimming across then hunting down the edge.
Evening ended with Little Owl on telegraph pole in Westhay village.
This morning on the scrape..........
3 GW Egrets
Little Ringed Plover
1 Green Sandpiper
3 Marsh Harriers
The usual array of ducks
Plus Reed Warbler calling by the car park
Plus Dunlin on the way back
This morning 4 male Gargany 3 marsh harriers 1 ruff 4 Black T godwitts 2 redshank
There was a Mute Swan with a Yellow Darvic colour ring with the black letters BVO it was on the scrape on thursday last 9th April just received this information on it:-
published just in caase any one sees it again
"YBVO (BTO ZY6239) was ringed as a 6 (= ringed before 2012) male at the
Abbotsbury roundup on 22/07/2013."
Mid morning 50 Black T Godwits & 2 Garganey showing well on the scrape, plus several people reported 3 Cranes over.
In the afternoon of the 12th there were 3 Garganey, 2 Redshanks and a Ringed Plover on the scrape per Philip Delve
A Common Sandpiper was the only new arrival on the scrape this morning. 4 Redshank were very active and one was performing display flight. A Grasshopper Warbler was reported by visitors already there when I arrived at around 8.20 but I didn't hear it.
I am now the proud owner of the 'Keith Vinnicombe' ID Guide, bargain at £4.00 and delivered to the door! Thanks for the info just need some tricky birds to test it out on.
Only real change on the scrape today were 2 additional Common Sands making 3 total. Blk Wits, I counted 41 this morning. 3 Redshank present with 3 Drake Garganey max. 2 Shelduck came and went as they did yesterday as apparently did a single Egyptian Goose again but I've failed to see it two days in a row!
Also a White Wagtail, and an adult Peregrine (male on size) flushed all the birds after you had left Alan.
Bird of the day from the double seat A Cuckoo flew east west across the back of the scrape at 1140 stopped on the edge of the wood just long enough for a distant photo, it flew 15mins later from within the wood across the South Drain bridge toward the 70 Acres tree line. On the scrape just 70 Blk Wits;2 Redshanks; the three Garganey and a passing G.W. Egret occasionally and a Bittern. No S'Pipers!
This morning on the scrape3 Greenshank; and 1 Ruff in near summer plumage! 120 Blk Wits; 3 Redshank; 2 ringed plover sp. the plovers were cleared off by a Sparrow Hawk before a positive I.D. could be made! with unusually 1 Wheatear, plus 3 Garganey and at mid day a single Little Ringed Plover appeared. 2 Cuckoos were calling at 0530 this morning and one flew to Meare Heath Wood mid morning.
Early pm visit . Just 3 Greenshank; 102 Blk Wits; 5 Redshank ; 1 Common S'Piper and 2 Garganey both males, plus a few Gadwall, Mallard and Teal.
3 Little Ringed Plover; 4 Greenshank; 2 Redshank;150 Blk Tld G'Wits and just one male Garganey between 1030 ad 1530. A passing couple of Bitters and G.W. Egrets, a few Swallows, plus 2 Hobbies in the air together feeding on I know not what! ( first of the year for me )!
4 Greenshank; 4+ Redshank; 150 Blk. Tld. G'Wits and one Garganey, in fact no change from yesterday. Single Common Tern on Noah's this morning still present at 1430. One Hobby at 1520 plus a passing Bittern and a distant Sparrowhawk. Plenty of Buzzards and the odd passing Marsh Harrier in what has been a fairly strong Eaasterly wind all day.
A Wood Sandpiper was on the nearer mud island on Meare Heath at 8.30 this morning along with the same mix of species as listed by Alan yesterday. The Common tern was resting in the middle of Noahs Lake.
The Wood Sandpiper was still present when I left at 1600 hrs. 3 Little Ringed Plovers came in mid morning but left westward around mid day. 4 greenshank; 120 Blk Wits and 2 Redshank and the one Garganey as yesterday. Small no of Swifts (6) over scrape midday and another larger group early afternoon. A single Peregine appeared twice high overhead. Again there were Bittern, Harriers and Buzzards thermalling. And Hobbies were seen occasionally (max 2 together)! Plus my first singles of Dragonfly and Damselfly.
5 Common Terns and a single Whimbrel were reported from Noah's early afternoon!
P.m.visit 1230 1600: 1 Woodsand still here; 3 Common Sands;2 Redshank; 4 Greenshank and one Dulin that appeared around 1530; Black Wits 120; A visit to Noah's Lake showed 3 Hobbies together and a single Tern probably a Common!
Afternoon visit on Saturday, thanks to Tom R's tweet produced the much viewed Hudsonii Godwit; the Woodsand ;7 Dunlin a couple of Greenshank , Redshank and more birders than I've seen since the first Little Bittern gathering several years ago!
This late afternoon, on the scrape: at least 155 Blk-t Godwits, 6 Knot, 15 Dunlin, 2 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 1 Wood Sandpiper and 2 Whimbrel.
2 Common Terns on Noah's Lake, keeping in close company (pair?), and also a Kingfisher.
2 Garden Warblers, in song and chasing each other, just 50 mtrs along track from Ashcott Cnr car park.
Yesterday (25th), a Wood Warbler at Ashcott Corner was new for me on this local patch.
171 Blk Wits today; 3 Redshank; 1 Greenshank.; 21 Whimbrel came and stayed for 90mins the headed off towards Ham Wall followed by a group of 5 30 mins later leaving just one still on the scrape when I departed around 3 o'clock.
Watched a Bittern at length on the cut reed edge opposite the first bench yesterday and a mate watched one booming at length here last week - good bet late afternoon or evening if you are after mega Bittern views...
two bitterns showed well from that area late this afternoon/evening, one in particular sat there for well over an hour, openly booming.
Also, red kite drifting west along the back of noah's lake this evening (common terns there also, two - not arctic as someone said), wood sand was flying calling over the track and lagoon but we didnt get it on the deck.
2 Common Sands; 1 Dunlin; 160 Blk Wits were the only waders this afternoon. a single Garganey plus 2 Shelduck that came and went in 30 mins when a Peregine (male) tried its luck with the Godwits unsuccessfully but it drove them off S.Westward, the Godwits and the Dunlin returned after 45mins but not the Common Sands!
I forgot to add the two Whimbrel on the scrape on Tues. afternoon ( there were none at Catcott in the late evening! nor were any other waders seen.)
This afternoon's tally, not forgetting the Hudsonian, included 145+ Blk-t Godwits, 2 Ruff, 2 Redshank, 2 Whimbrel, a few (5?) Dunlin, 3 Bittern flights, 3 Hobbies, 2+ Marsh Harriers, and 3 Whinchats on 70 Acres (the reeded area behind the seats) viewed from the viewing platform at its western end.