Wednesday, 24 April 2013

A trip to the Somerset Levels - part 1

Last Monday's weather forecast promised a lovely sunny day, so I thought I'd drive the 40 minutes to the Somerset Levels to see what was about. As it turned out there was a fair amount of cloud about. That should teach me not to take much notice of forecasts! I should know by now shouldn't I! I started out at Westhay National Nature Reserve which is managed by the Somerset Wildlife Trust. This is the reserve where I first started serious birding on my own before joining a club so it has special memories for me. Here's the carved entrance arch. Click to enlarge any photos.
There are several hides around the Reserve. This is the view from the first one. I enjoyed watching the Sand Martins and Swallows zooming and swooping high and low over the water and reeds. The air was alive with the buzzing sounds of the Martins and the chitterings of the Swallows.
 A Cormorant came in to land. The shots aren't great but I loved the way his landing gear came down prior to skidding onto the water! (-:
 Having left the first hide, I walked along the path between the two droves that cross the Reserve. It was quite a muddy crossing but do-able. 
 On the left in the photo above, you can see the water is high and almost crossing the path. As I walked along this stretch the reflections of the pathside trees on the still water produced some amazing zigzag patterns. 
 Further along this path I came across a lovely bird sculpture which must have been done since I was last there. I have to confess, I've not been to Westhay for a over a year! (-:
Before getting to the far drove, there's a loop walk with a blind halfway along. I got a lovely view from here over part of the reserve. I could hear a Bittern booming and my first cuckoo of the year.
There had been some maintenance done recently with some reed cutting and in the cut area were a couple of Greylag Geese. They were aware of me viewing from the blind but seemed quite a ease, doing a swim by at one point.

There'll be more from Westhay and the Levels in my next post.


TonyC said...

Hi Jen, I don't remember that arch. when did that go in? Or was I just concentrating on the birds and missed it........LOL!!

Anonymous said...

Lovely post Jenny and I'm looking forward to Part 2 :-) It looks like a fantastic reserve and I'm envious of your Cuckoos and booming Bitterns!

Pix Under the Oaks said...

Those feet on the Cormorant!

ShySongbird said...

Hi Jenny, It looks like a wonderful place to visit and you managed some lovely photos. I do like the first one of the Cormorant, a great capture. I really love that sculpture too, it's beautiful!

Jenny said...

Hi Tony, no you didn't miss it.(-: Like the bird sculpture, it's reasonably new I think. There was another comment from you on this post, but it didn't make sense???

Hi David, The whole Somerset Levels complex of reserves has really come into its own in the last few years. Bitterns are booming, s'cuse the pun and we've had breeding Great White Egrets, Cattle Egrets and Little Bitter though the last two might be one offs. I'm lucky it virtually on my doorstep. (-:

Hi Pix, I know, it was funny to watch him prepare for landing! (-: I'm sorry I didn't capture the whole thing and that the second shot was obscured somewhat by vegetation.

Hi Jan, it is a lovely place to visit. I will be trying to do so more often. 40 minutes is a bit of a trek, but well worth it. I love that sculpture too. Do you think they'd miss it if I nicked it for my garden??? (-;