Tuesday 12 February – Ham Wall, Somerset Levels Leader: Peter Holbrook

Twenty-seven birders set off from the RSPB car park on a mild but overcast afternoon. We walked along the main track towards platform one, seeing Kingfisher, Redwing and the usual tits, Robins and Chaffinches. At the platform we looked over the water and reed beds where good numbers of Shoveler, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Teal and Wigeon with one male Pochard were to be seen. Water Rail and Cetti’s Warbler called nearby and Dabchicks weren’t far away either. A pair of Marsh Harrier quartered the reed. Some of us walked up to the open hides nearby where Snipe were in abundance and another Marsh Harrier showed its flying skills. Those members of the party who visited the Avalon Hide were lucky enough to see two Bitterns. The main event of the afternoon was to be the Starlings, but they had recently been using several roost sites and it was difficult to say where they might come in. Some of the party went to Meare Heath area. At about 17:30 the spectacle began, thousands in groups flew over on their way to Meare Heath. Those of the group there had close views – with six Marsh Harriers in the air beneath, keeping the Starlings swirling. Those at platform one had more of a binocular view. A total of forty-two species were seen during the afternoon including four Cattle Egret, Bullfinch, Great White Egret, Reed Bunting, Grey Heron, Cormorant and three to four hundred Lapwings coming in to roost in front of Platform One. Thanks to Peter for stepping in as leader. Sue and John Prince