Tuesday 10th October. A couple of hours spent in a cold breezy Noel`s Hide was rewarded by a Great-white- Egret making a slow pass in front of the hide then it returned a second time some fifteen minutes later, a great photo opportunity, A male juvenile Kingfisher was also perching in front of the hide but little else seen.Photos on website.
Hello Jim, I think you'll find its called Noah's Hide, which overlooks Noah's Lake. Jeff.
No less than 7 Great White Egrets moving around Noah's lake yesterday morning seen from the South Drain. Also a male Goldeneye moving from eclipse to "normal" plumage seen 100 metres west of Meare Heath bridge.
A fine morning at Shapwick Heath for the fishing folk, a very impressive list, Grey Heron close below the hide caught a good sized fish ,a Bittern flew in and vanished amongst the reeds to be seen an hour later , Great -white-Egret and a Little Egret arrived to join in the party ,Kingfishers,Cormorants, and Black-headed-Gulls all very active, a pair of Little Grebes,and Great-crested- Grebes, seen in the distance four other Great -white- Egrets perched in a dead tree,Marsh Harrier, and another Bittern made a flypast ,Cetti`s Warbler heard,Duck numbers seem to be increasing.Oddly I was the only spectator enjoying this show having the hide to myself.This mornings photos on website.
As I approached the hide two startled G w Egrets took flight no sooner in the hide a Bittern flew pass then turned around passed in front of the hide and flew off ,a rather scruffy juvenile Kingfisher in the reeds in front of the hide ,a Grey Heron and two juvenile Moorhens, Gadwall and Shovelers seen as well as group of Greylag Geese playing follow my leader, a quiet morning.
Friday 17/10/2014 A fine morning to visit the hide with good light, Gadwalls had vanished leaving just one pair in front of the hide. Two Kingfishers one fishing from the reeds close by, a Snipe passed by and a Female marsh Harrier was patrolling to the right of the hide, Bitterns were to be seen with four certain sightings + a possible making five, Great-white-Egrets also adding to the mornings list, flyby by the colour ringed bird and visits by a juvenile, two more seen at distance, Little Grebes missing but G c Grebe present ,two juvenile Moorhens,Coots and a juvenile Grey Heron in front of the hide.Some interesting photos on website.
Possible 3rd winter Yellow Legged Gull today at circa 13:00 sat on second line of stumps straight out in front.
19/10/2014 Early morning visit to Noal`s, four G-w-Egrets demonstrating their flying skills close in front of the hide, a splendid moment ,perhaps they were showing off to the two Little Egrets fishing nearby, adult and juvenile Grey Heron joined in the fishing to the right of the hide, a Bittern was briefly seen but quickly vanished amongst the reeds. A female Marsh Harrier gave good views as she flew across the lake but the prize of the day was a young Male Marsh Harrier that passed from right to left of the hide harassed by a flock of gulls. Six Bittern flights and Kingfisher passed by.
This morning 20/10/2014 a noticeable increase in Ducks with a mixed flock made up of Gadwall, Pochard, Wigeon, and Shoveler at the far end of the lake, some 30 Canada Geese flew in and a similar number of Greylag.Female Marsh Harrier made her usual appearance as well as the Little Egrets, G w E, Bittern, Grey Heron and Kingfisher.Photos on website.
Sunday 26/10 Lots of action right in front of the hide including:
Great white egret
Black headed gull
Mallard catching fish (I've never seen that before)
Bittern skulking in the reeds - just one clear-ish view
Water rail seen several times
Great crested grebe
That was just in front of the hide - further away, every bird mentioned in the previous posts.
I've put some GWE shots on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/stevebalcombe/
A visit to Noah`s this morning 27/10/014 was rewarded by excellent views of a Bittern, very interesting to watch its fishing technique beak held flat in the water, did it expect a fish to swim into it?, a little later with the camera focused on a gap in the reeds expecting the reappearance of a water rail who should come by but Bittern, after a moments hesitation it swam/walked across the gap, click click,thank you Bittern.I can confirm the previous post by
Steve Balcombe of a mallard with a fish but did not see the Mallard catch it.Photos of Bittern on website.
I didn't see the mallard's fishing technique, but what it had - on two occasions - was definitely a live fish. I saw the duck slapping it on the water, presumably trying to stun it.
There was a male goldeneye on noahs lake from the railway line on Sunday afternoon
Rather than an early migrant the Goldeneye might be the bird that summered here and seen by quite a few observers, although I haven't seen it for about a month.
Highlights and happenings at Noah`s today 28/10/2014. Insects were all a buzz with a Queen wasp in the hide ,three Dragonflies ,a Red Admiral, and Bumble Bee seen plus a late Peacock at my home. A small number of Bearded tits were in the reeds directly in front of the hide ,one Sparrow hawk and a pair of Wigeon flew by.The Bittern demonstrated it swimming skills crossing from reed bed to reed bed,the main point of interest was the Mallard Duck that was happily gathering up fish some quite large, most amusing, Gulls ,Cormorants, Little and Large Egrets,not forgetting the Juvenile Grey Heron and G-c-Grebe all made good size catches .Well fed birds . Photos of the Mallard et al on Website
Great collection of bird-eating-fish shots Jim! Is that normal for a Mallard?
Second the great morning at Noah's hide with some very interesting behavior observed from numerous species. The Bittern showed well with its fishing technique and its little swim and the Mallard eating fish.
Duck and Fish. I have put a short video of the Mallard Duck on my website,She is attempting to swallow a good size fish but despite her best attempts the fish some how managed to escape, the duck returned into frame looking bewildered,very amusing.Bittern Video to follow.
On a brief visit to Noah's this morning, I witnessed a juvenile Black-headed Gull catch and eventually swallow whole a fish that was at least 6 inches long. Amazing. I do wonder how many species are capable of catching fish and whether the fish population will diminish!
If Mallard and Black-Headed Gull are catching and eating fish at Noah's Lake, is there the possibility that the fish population there is unhealthy, in that they are able to catch them, where this is usually abnormal/rare behaviour for both species?? Might it be worth looking into?
A possible explanation for the ease the birds have in catching fish may have been the result of the recent very high wind that muddied the water in front of the hide resulting in a detrimental effect on the well being of the fish making them less able to escape the predators.
Maybe the Fish just had a really bumper breeding year and there's a lot of them around?
Two trips recently to the hide - mornings of Saturday 25 and Tuesday 28 October. I have only made one previous contribution to this excellent forum particularly because it takes me a long time to sort/process my photos while others are much more speedy, knowledgeable and skilled than I. However, interest in the hide and the queer goings on is spreading. Consequently I have added a gallery to my website in the hope that, despite the tardiness of its entry, the photos may still be of interest.
Noah`s hide today 31/10/2014 saw a steady number of visitors unfortunately a rather quiet day for birds apart from the more common species ,the water is now crystal clear allowing good views of the G-c-Grebes fishing technique , at one moment the bird showed an astonishing burst of speed presumable it was chasing a fish, on several occasion it surfaced with a good sized fish. As posted elsewhere on SOS several flocks of Wood Pigeons some 40/50 strong flew over as well as six Bearded Tits and three Goosanders the Bittern was in an uncooperative mood but did allow a few shots before flying away, another Bittern was seen flying in to the reeds on the far left of the hide.Kingfishers active and a Water Rail sat sunning itself on a log to the left allowing time for photos.Red Admirals where taking advantage of the warm sunshine with several seen.Today's photos on website.
Wednesday 5/11/2014 It appears that the Bittern in front of Noah`s hide has gone AWOL I have not seen it for the last four mornings, G-w-Egret has also gone elsewhere perhaps because of the constant harassment by the juvenile Grey Heron, the mornings entertainment was by one of the two Water Rails fun to watch their hop skip and jump movements thought the reeds ,flypast by a Bittern, Tufted Duck diving and bringing up water snails and swallowing them, seems hard on the stomach, Escargots a la Noah ?.A flock of woodland birds passed by comprising of Long-tailed-Tits several Goldcrests , Robin, Blue tits,a Treecreeper was climbing up a birch tree at the rear of the hide. Returning home via Tadham/Tealham three Kestrels and Two Buzzards seen.The best of the Bittern photos plus a short Video on Website
Four Marsh Harriers in the air together in front of Noah's Hide at 1300 today including one with a Green Wing tag (two digits LI ). I have forwarded this info to the coordinator for this species, hopefully the where and when of this birds origin will be known shortly.
I believe that Green tags are the result of tagging by North West Norfolk Ringing Group (NWNRG).
They even have an online form to record sightings!!
Brrrrrrrrrr, ice on the windscreen this morning 9/11/2014. A calm morning at Noah`s with moderate bird activity plenty of visitors to the hide, a good selection of ducks in front of the hide,Female Marsh Harrier made several passes flying out over the lake ,Juvenile Grey Heron at its usual spot, Great-w- Egrets seen from time to time with a fly pass by the ringed bird but as always a Bittern was the star attraction with a bird settling on the reed island in the lake, it stayed for some time offering distance views before departing, a second flight was seen to the right,then a third flight, a spectacular close pass in beautiful light, the bird then turned and returned in the same direction as it approached, I believe it to be the same bird.Returning home via Tealham one Buzzard one Kestrel. Photos on Website.
A visit to Noah`s this morning 14/11/2014 ,weather bright and reasonably mild,no surprises in the way of birds , good views of one of the resident Water Rails preening on a mossy log ,Bitterns were very active, I believe there were two different birds seen, flights were frequent, Great w Egret ,Female Marsh Harrier ,two Buzzards ,Long tailed Tits, duck numbers low.
http://jamesgibbs6929.zenfolio.com/f1050832970 for photos.
Going along the track early this morning 15/11/2014 to visit Noah's Hide I was in time to watch the Starling flight, it really is an astonishing spectacle now that the numbers have increased, a Sparrow Hawk was also keenly interested no doubt hoping for a good breakfast to start its day,some 30 Black-t-Godwits also took to the air.Immediately I opened the shutters at the hide there was the Bittern in the gloom, it soon left never the less it returned and obligingly sat sunning itself to the delight of a steady stream of visitors.Left at 12.45.
Fabulous afternoon today 24/11/14 with the following recorded.
Great White Egret - at least 3
Bittern - 3
Whooper Swan 1
Kingfisher -3 including one showy male perching in trees to the right of the hide
Plenty of Wigeon, Pochard, Teal and Tufted Duck
2 Female Marsh Harriers
Also from Meare Heath - Bearded Tit, Bittern and a rather pale Common Buzzard
Good Birding all
A very quiet few hours spent at Noah`s this morning 2/12/2014 was at least rewarded by remarkable morning light that gave a golden glow to the trees and reed beds but unfortunately few birds, Three Little Egrets and two Great-white Egrets in front of the hide, duck numbers very low.Left soon after 8am.
Time lapse video on website.
Glorious but cold winters day with the following recorded
Great White Egret 3
Whooper Swan 1
Marsh Harrier 2
Water Rail 2
Good birding all
Ducks at dawn. 3/12/2014 arriving at Shapwick car park I was greeted by a Tawny Owl,Good morning James, another was heard near to Meare Heath hide,on to Noah`s Hide, Ducks were in fashion three hundred plus, they may have been refugees from the ongoing works at Catcott,Two Great -white Egrets and two Little Egrets flew past,followed by a very leisurely Bittern that quickly vanished into the reed bed,Raptors,one marsh Harrier on dawn patrol,one Buzzard, one Sparrow Hawk,a pair of Kingfishers that made frequent visits perching close to the hide, returning home via Mark Moor one Kestrel and a great many Fieldfare feeding on Hawthorn berries.One Grey Wagtail at Wedmore.
Just for the records I guess a male tawny was hooting for quite a while outside Meare Hide on Saturday 30th Nov around 4.30pm, with a female kewik somewhere off in the distance behind Noah's. An added bonus to watching a large fall of starlings into the reeds there.
A fine morning 6/12/2014 a little frosty, not a lot new at Noah`s ,four Water Rails where very active chasing thought the reeds ,fun to watch.Yesterday a Raven was heard towards Meare Heath Hide but not seen, two other Raven at Wedmore .
Despite the Arctic cold at NOAH`S yesterday morning 13/12/2014 nature put on a great display in beautiful light ,Duck numbers must have passed the five hundred, G White and Little Egrets made a fly pass, Snipe,a male Reed Bunting and three Chiff Chaffs were seen in front of the hide. Two Water Rails gave a good display but as always it was the Bitterns that stole the show, one arrived at 9.15 but remained hidden in front of the reeds, it then decided to fly to the tall Reed bank to the right of the hide and perched at the top of the reeds and preened, it then flew closer to the hide but remained elusive showing from time to time for the rest of the morning, it was still present when I left at one o clock, a second Bittern was seen, a significantly larger bird, a very dark colored bird.
Spent part of the afternoon at Greylake where Duck numbers must surely be close to a thousand if not more, an astonishing spectacular sight.
Photos will be on site later.
A very quiet morning at Noah`s 19/12/2014,only point of interest during my visit was a Bittern that flew over the hide heading towards the track it had one leg dangling ,Possible broken or damaged ?
James - if the Bittern was trailing its leg at about 30% to its body it is a resident local bird and has been regularly seen and surviving like that for at least 12 months.