Tuesday 21 July – Steart

Twenty seven members gathered at the Natural England car park in Steart village on a good day for a picnic walk. Reports of Avocet chicks and a solitary Spoonbill raised our hopes for a successful day. Swallows flew overhead, a Pied Wagtail was on a nearby roof and a Greenfinch was calling as we set off towards Bridgwater Bay. Many Linnet were seen along the coast and several hundred Shelduck bobbed on the estuary with more on the mud. Reed Bunting, Meadow Pipit and Sedge Warbler were spotted or heard on the reeds and in the adjacent meadows. We arrived at the Tower Hide and as we were a large group spilt up to visit this hide and the three hides beyond. The pools yielded Little Egret, Redshank, Greenshank, Common Sandpiper, Dunlin, Oystercatcher, Cormorant, a single Curlew Sandpiper, a Kestrel and a few gulls. On the way back to the car park for lunch Great Tit, Blue Tit, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Goldcrest and Goldfinch were added to the list amongst others. After lunch we walked out to the breach in the River Parrett sea wall which was constructed by The Environment Agency as a managed retreat to help protect upstream areas from flooding and also to improve flood protection for Steart and other nearby villages. The breach feeds the newly created (2014) Steart Marshes wetland managed for the Environment Agency by WWT. It transpired that the Spoonbill had left for Slimbridge and the Avocets were not around but we did see 86 Black-tailed Godwits feeding. The walk ended back at the car park, though a few of us went to have a look at the area opposite the new WWT car park but the water had drained by then so nothing new turned up. Overall tally of 48 species made for a good days’ birding. (Our thanks to Mark for leading.) Mark Watson