Tuesday 20 January – Shapwick Heath/Ham Wall

As seven of us set off from Ashcott car park on an overcast afternoon with rain threatening we saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker, Starling and Redwing. On Ham Wall Reserve, as we went to the first view point, Dunnock, Pied Wagtail, Redwing, a Mistle Thrush, Grey Heron and Chiffchaff were spotted. The pools yielded Moorhen, Coot, Gadwall, Great Crested Grebe, Tufted Duck, Shoveler, Cormorant and Mute Swan. Next we went to the new RSPB Tor hide in the hope of seeing Water Rail and were rewarded with excellent views of two feeding along the water’s edge. On our way to and from the second viewpoint we added Great White Egret, Teal, Wigeon, Marsh Harrier and Mallard. On our return to Shapwick Heath to see the Starling roost we had views of two male Bullfinches, Goldcrest, Goldfinch and a large flock of Long-tailed Tits. The overcast conditions meant that the Starlings arrived a little earlier than on the last few days. We had good views of several large murmurations which roosted some distance away from the track in a number of different areas rather than one. All in all an excellent visit with a total of 42 species and the rain held off until we left. Thanks to Mike Johnson for leading his second BOC group here in three days (with a third visit looking at plants planned for the following day). Mark Watson