Somerset Ornithological Society - Bird News
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Steart Marshes - 18 October 2015

Steart Marshes - 18 October 2015 (mid-morning to late afternoon)

1 Merlin - adult(?) female located perched on the hedge at the edge of Wall Common. After 15 minutes she flew off low and fast before rising up and intercepting a Meadow Pipit. She made two attacks but failed to catch and flew off across the marshes and perched on the hedge adjacent to the River Parrett. She remained their for at least 20 minutes.

2 Peregrine - adult female roosting on pylons and later a juvenile (gender undetermined) perched on the ground out on the marshes for at least 90 minutes. Three Carrion Crows gathered and the falcon was seen to fly up and chase after them on three separate occasions before returning to rest.

4 Kestrel - perched and hover-hunting. An adult male chased after a Sparrowhawk carrying a kill but failed to catch up with it.

5 Sparrowhawk - the leucistic hawk spent over two hours roosting and hunting out on the marshes and then moved off towards Marsh Farm. An adult male took a small passerine and carried it away to thick bushes at Steart Gate, pursued by a Kestrel. Two other immature individuals were seen hunting different areas of the marshes at the same time and later a probable female was seen flying high off towards Otterhampton.

6 Common Buzzard - a pair thermalling high and a single bird soaring separately. The other three loafing about on low perches.


1 Great White Egret - in front of the Viewing Screen.
25+ Little Egret
200+ Avocet - flocking low over the River Parrett around high tide.
180+ Black-tailed Godwit
500+ Dunlin
10+ Curlew
120+ Lapwing
3 Grey Plover
1 Spotted Redshank - roosting and feeding in front of the Viewing Screen.
25+ Redshank
4 Greenshank - bathing together in front of the Viewing Screen.
2 Ruff
150+ Fieldfare - around Wall Common, including 70 moving high ENE in two flocks.
150+ Starling - insecting in sunshine above fields adjacent to Marsh Farm.
150+ Jackdaw - moving ENE quite high in about 12-15 separate flocks.
70+ Skylark
40+ Meadow Pipit
29 Long-tailed Tit - they gathered and remained for c30 minutes in a hedge near the Viewing Screen and suddenly all took off in a loose noisy flock. They circled around and gradually gained height until out of sight. Viewed with binoculars they rose to c100m up and moved off ENE out over the marshes into the stiff breeze. Migrants?
150+ Goldfinch
1 Wheatear - on flood bank near Polden Hide.


Re: Steart Marshes - 18 October 2015

Andrew Asher grabbed a pic of the 'white' Sparrowhawk along with a Merlin. Sadly I missed all the action. Photos on the site.