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Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Grey Phalarope, Black Tern, Ruff and Spotted Flycatcher...Autumn is here!

I love Autumn.
For a bird lover, Autumn is exciting, as migration gets under way and almost any bird can turn up anywhere!
  I'm not a 'twitcher'. Many people call birdwatchers 'twitchers', but it's not an accurate word for general birdwatchers.True twitchers are obsessed with adding new birds to their 'life lists' or 'year lists', and will travel the length and breadth of the country at the drop of the hat to see any rare bird that turns up that they haven't yet added to their lists! I often wonder if they have family lives, jobs etc! How do they find the time and money??
    Having said that, if a rare or uncommon bird turns up close to me, I will usually try and get to see it (and photograph it!)
   This week a scarce migrant I had never seen before turned up at Ashford reservoir near Bridgwater in Somerset. A Grey Phalarope! A delightful little wader/seabird. On arrival I saw that the 'Levels Birder' was already there with his wife, his telescope trained on the little waterbird over on the other side of the reservoir, bobbing about delightfully on the water. The 'Levels Birder' is Jeff Hazell, a well known and much loved local birdwatcher, always helpful and fascinating to talk to and learn from.
 You can see his great blog HERE
The Phalarope was very distant, but I managed a few record shots.
Another migrant bird I managed to see at another reservoir was a Black Tern at Durleigh, near Bridgwater. Again the bird stayed distant, so only record shots again, but I was still very happy to see a bird I'd only ever seen a couple of times before! Also present was a juvenile Arctic Tern, as was identified via Twitter by local Tern expert Julian Thomas.

Last weekend I visited Shapwick Heath and RSPB Ham Wall and saw an extremely distant Osprey at Noahs lake (the hide and the path to the hide was closed!) and couldn't even manage a record shot at that distance through the heat haze! There was a Green Sandpiper on the Meare Heath scrape, plus a Ruff and a few Black Tailed Godwits and Lapwings. No sign of the rarer Pectoral Sandpiper that had been seen there though unfortunately.
 I walked across the road to Ham Wall and saw a Spotted Flycatcher in the trees to the first viewing platform, my first of the year! Delightful little Summer visitors!
  I made my way to the Walton Heath hide photographing Little Grebes and Gadwall on the way, then attempted to photograph the Sand Martins that were swooping about over the water, with varying degrees of success!

 Below are some photos taken since my last 'round-up' blog post 3 weeks ago, including all mentioned above, plus Swans, Robins, Blue Tits, butterflies and more!


^Above^ - Grey Phalarope at Ashford Reservoir.

^Above^ - Black Tern at Durleigh reservoir.


^Above^ - Juvenile Arctic Tern at Durleigh reservoir.

^Above^ - Grey Wagtail at Durleigh.

^Above^ - Pied Wagtail at Durleigh.

^Above^ - House Martin at Durleigh.

^Above^ - Canada Geese at Durleigh.

^Above^ - Spotted Flycatcher at RSPB Ham Wall.

^Above^ - Ruff at Shapwick Heath (With Lapwing in bottom pic).

^Above^ - Mute Swans at Shapwick Heath.

^Above^ - Buzzard at Shapwick Heath.

^Above^ - Cormorants at Ham Wall.

^Above^ - Gadwall at Ham Wall.

^Above^ - Little Grebes at Ham Wall.

^Above^ - Gadwall, Little Grebe and Coot at Ham Wall.

^Above^ - House Martins at Ham Wall.

^Above^ - Sand Martins at Ham Wall.

^Above^ - Lapwaing at Shapwick Heath.

^Above^ - Lapwings and Gadwall at Shapwick Heath.

^Above^ - Juvenile Herring Gulls at Ashford reservoir.

^Above^ - Blue Tits at Ham Wall.

^Above^ - Great Tit at Ham Wall.

^Above^ - Chaffinches at Ham Wall.

^Above^ - Dragonfly at Ham Wall.

^Above^ - Dunnock at RSPB Greylake in Somerset.

^Above^ - Robin at Greylake.

^Above^ - Wren at Greylake.

^Above^ - Blue Tit at Greylake.

^Above^ - Tortoiseshell butterfly on Thistle at Greylake.

^Above^ - Greenfinch in my Somerset garden.

^Above^ - Young Wren in my garden.

^Above^ - House Martins at Ashford reservoir.

^Above^ - Sand Martin at Ashford reservoir.

^Above^ - Common Toad in my garden.

^Above^ - Dragonflies in my garden.

^Above^ - White Butterflies in my garden.

^Above^ - Tortoiseshell butterflies in my garden.

^Above^ - Woodchat Shrike at Chipping Sodbury common (From my last blog post, couldn't do a round-up without it!)

^Above^ - Whinchat at Chipping Sodbury.

^Above^ - Redstart AND Whinchat at Chipping Sodbury.