Tuesday 01 December – Shapwick Heath/Ham Wall

On a dry and mild afternoon 21 members gathered at Shapwick Heath/Ham Wall to see what was around and hopefully catch the Starlings coming in to roost. Bob Buck had kindly agreed to lead as Mike Johnson was unable to make it and Bob was ably assisted by John Crispin. The Starlings were roosting on the Ham Wall side so we set off in that direction. Initially Goldfinch, Tits, House Sparrows and Collared Doves flew by and on the first water a Great White Egret was standing away in the distance. Lesser Black-backed and Herring Gulls passed over and a Cetti’s Warbler and Water Rail were heard. A collection of ducks including Mallard, Shoveler, Wigeon, Gadwall and Tufted Duck were on the pools along with Canada and Greylag Geese as we visited the new Avalon hide. A fleeting glance of a Kingfisher was seen by some, along with a Reed Bunting and Stonechat. In the far distance a Buzzard passed by and two Marsh Harriers flew over the reed beds. The Starlings started to arrive as dusk crept up and we were treated to huge numbers crossing overhead and falling to their roost away across the reed beds. Some groups swirled impressively before landing. This went on for 20 minutes or so – a marvellous sight. Thanks to Bob and John who volunteer for RSPB on Ham Wall for their time and knowledge. In total we saw 45 species. Mark Watson