Saturday 02 October – Steart WWT Leader: Richard Belson

Seven intrepid birders met in the rain at the WWT Steart Reserve car park at 9.30 and were soon rewarded with a glorious sunny, mild and calm autumn day. Our first stop was the Polden screen. En route we saw a Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, male Blackcap, and several House Martins hawking for insects. Then on to the Quantock Hide where we saw a few Lapwings and ducks, Little Egrets, three Grey Herons, four Ruffs, a good view of a Marsh Harrier, a large flock of Canada Geese circling and landing, and many gulls in the distance; but few shore birds. We got to the River Parrett just after high water, and saw two Ravens nesting on a distant pylon, a Merlin on a concrete post, a Kestrel, many Black-tailed Godwits, a few Mute Swans and a large cloud of Dunlins showing black and white as they turned in the sun. On our walks to and from the car park we enjoyed a close view of a Sparrowhawk; we saw a female Stonechat and a juvenile Linnet; and we heard several Cetti’s Warblers (and had a brief glimpse of one). We were joined by two more birders and after a picnic lunch we drove north to the Natural England car park and then walked to the screen overlooking a pool near the Breach. There we saw a mixed flock of Dunlins and Black-tailed Godwits, with a few Golden Plovers and a possible Little Stint (the light was against us). This flock was spooked by a raptor and flew low over our heads – a fine sight. We also saw one Great and a few Little Egrets and a Spoonbill feeding in the pool. Later we were treated to a flypast by a female Marsh Harrier. A total of 50 species were seen. Many thanks to Richard for leading a very enjoyable day. David Gould