Somerset Ornithological Society - Bird News
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Steart Marshes - 17 October 2015

Steart Marshes - 17 October 2015 (morning)

1 Merlin (juvenile/female type) - flew through above the marshes, apparently hunting.

3 Peregrine - adult male feeding on a kill, adult female around all morning and a juvenile (gender undetermined) perched on a fence post for 30 minutes.

4 Kestrel - perched and hover-hunting.

3 Sparrowhawk - located the leucistic hawk perched on a hedgerow Hawthorn tree on Catsford Common. She(?) flew after ten minutes and perched nearby for a few minutes before flying again and attacking a juvenile Green Woodpecker which had flown up from the ground. She gave up after a single unsuccessful attack and brief chase. Shortly afterwards she took off, soared up and gradually drifted Southwards quite high. Six Carrion Crows joined her in the air but she readily dodged their clumsy attacks and eventually accelerated and dropped down behind trees near Stockland Bristol. An (adult?) female flew high over the marshes moving Westwards. Later an adult male was seen hunting finches at Steart Gate. He perched on a low prominent perch for ten minutes before moving off low over Wall Common beach.

1 Marsh Harrier - juvenile quartering the marshes.

4 Common Buzzard - one soaring and the others loafing about on low perches.


200+ Avocet
140+ Golden Plover
120+ Lapwing
1 Spotted Redshank
20+ Redshank
2 Greenshank
2 Ruff
800+ Dunlin
150+ Black-tailed Godwit
15+ Curlew
2 Raven
1 Green Woodpecker - chased by the leucistic Sparrowhawk.
250+ Goldfinch
50+ Linnet
4 Greenfinch
350+ Redwing - moving ENE in flocks of 10 - 50 birds.
15+ Fieldfare - moving ENE in singles, twos and threes.
80+ Skylark
8+ White Wagtail
40+ Meadow Pipit
5 Swallow - moving Eastwards in three groups (2, 2 and 1).
1 Stonechat
1 Wheatear


Re: Steart Marshes - 17 October 2015

I was also at Steart Marshes this morning and spent sometime with Nick. I wouldn't have seen the leucistic sparrowhawk had Nick not pointed it out. So many, many thanks. In fact, I would have missed a number of birds. Another long range poor image here

Re: Steart Marshes - 17 October 2015

Sorry.... but have to split in more that one posting as site keeps rejecting as Spam :-(

For me some of the highlights were the flocks of Dunlin, Avocet on the River Parrett, along with the flocks of Goldfinch on the marshes. A male sparrowhawk was spotted hunting this birds. Sadly I didn't see a Peregrine on this trip.

Re: Steart Marshes - 17 October 2015

However, what did catch my eye was a most unusual kingfisher. In a drainage channel to the west of the Polden Hide there was a kingfisher will very little blue. The chest was orange, legs were red, bill was black, but its back and wings were a mixture of black and brown plumage. A very strange looking bird and a first for me.

Re: Steart Marshes - 17 October 2015

Great to meet you for the first time today Robin. Keep shooting and sharing your excellent photographs. Best regards, Nick.