Saturday 21 September – Ham Wall and Meare Heath

Thirteen members met at the Meare Heath car park on a pleasant early autumn morning. A number of passerines were noted in the car park including Dunnock, Robin, Chiffchaff and Blackbird. The willows and alders on the first part of the Meare Heath reserve track held Great, Blue, Coal and Long-tailed Tits. As soon as we had a view of the South Drain we heard a penetrating series of short high- pitched whistles and some saw the bright turquoise-blue flash of a Kingfisher speeding by. Good views were had of a male Marsh Harrier floating over the reeds and the flooded peat cuttings were occupied by Gadwall, Mallard and Teal. Natural England had recently drained down the Meare Heath lagoon to expose areas of mud. The first bird to be identified was a Glossy Ibis which had been in the area for a while. This was a “lifer” for some. As well as Ruff, Redshank and Snipe the lagoon also hosted a Spotted Redshank and the now resident breeder Great White Egret. It was good to compare its size with its smaller cousin Little Egret. We heard Bearded Tit, Water Rail and Cetti’s Warbler. We then walked through part of the Ham Wall Reserve where further sightings were had of Marsh Harrier and Great White Egret, and Wigeon was added to the wildfowl list. About 43 species were encountered during the morning.