Tuesday 10 December – Ham Wall Leader: Mark Watson

On a wet and overcast day three members and the leader turned up in the hope of seeing the Starlings coming in to roost. The forecast was for heavy rain but thankfully this held off until we returned to our cars. Coal, Blue and Great Tit were on the feeders along with a Collared Dove and a Mute Swan and Mallards were on the pools along with a Moorhen. As we walked along to the first viewing platform Long-tailed Tits fed in the trackside bushes and trees. Coot were on the water to the right of the track with Gadwall and Shoveler, and many Tufted Ducks paddled about. In he distance a male and female Marsh Harrier were low over the reed beds and two Great White Egrets flew off. A couple of Greylag Geese also appeared. From the viewing platform we saw large numbers of Lapwings wading towards the far side of the pools. Numerous water birds including Gadwall, Pochard, Teal and Wigeon were around and a couple of Great Crested Grebe and a solitary Little Grebe were seen. The sky was grey as we moved on to the Avalon Hide where we had excellent views of both Marsh Harriers and Great White Egret fishing within ten metres of the hide. Canada Geese flew overhead and as the odd small flock of Starling was beginning to appear we moved back to the first viewing platform. The cloud base was low but we saw huge numbers of Starlings arriving to roost, some groups providing spectacular murmurations, whilst others dropped quickly onto the reeds noisily chattering amongst themselves. We saw 42 species in all and tens of thousands of Starlings. The RSPB estimate on 13 Dec. was about 200,000. (Many thanks Mark.) Mark Watson