Saturday 20 June – Ham Wall

This was a joint meeting with Bristol Naturalists’ Society and eight of us met in the new RSPB carpark at Ham Wall on a bright warm morning. The air was full of the song of Blackcap, Blackbird, Wren, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff and Song Thrush. We walked down to the first viewing platform and viewing screens and amongst the usual variety of ducks saw a Pochard with a young brood, not a common sight in this area. Cetti’s Warblers were very vocal with their explosive song and some were lucky to see a Kingfisher flash by. On to the new Tor Hide where we were treated to a prolonged view of a Bittern in flight. Somerset is now the leading County for breeding Bitterns which is quite a success story for the various conservation organisations, their staff and particularly all their volunteers who have worked so hard in creating and managing suitable habitat for this species and many others requiring large mosaics of wetland. To prove the point we had wonderful views of both male and female Marsh Harriers drifting low over the reeds and a number of Hobby feeding on the plentiful supply of dragonflies. Both Great White and Little Egrets flapped over Walton’s reedbeds giving a continental flavour to the morning. We recorded 54 species during the morning including Common Tern which is another fairly new breeding species for the Avalon Marshes. (thanks to Mike for leading)      Mike Johnson