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Saturday, 22 October 2016

Balletic Great White Egret, More Bearded Tits, Firecrest and a Mandarin duck!

Great White Egrets are another exotic but increasing Heron species to have colonised the Somerset Levels in recent years. Like the Little Egret, I can see them spreading far and wide...they certainly seem at home on our shores!
  During a brief stop at Cheddar reservoir I saw not one, but 2 of these majestic birds! Unusually they were far away from their usual reedbed fringed wetland homes and one in particular allowed me quite close to rattle off quite a few shots....the Sun was behind the bird, which is not ideal, but it did allow for some pleasing backlit images with sunlight coming through the wings.
  I saw this bird expertly catch 3 or 4 fish until a group of 3 people came down to the waters edge and consequently scaring it off to the other side of the reservoir.
   Also at the reservoir was a rather confiding female Mandarin Duck. The males are spectacular birds, but the females have a quiet charm of their own. This bird is possibly an escape from a wildfowl collection, and has apparently been at the reservoir quite a while.
   During an earlier visit I saw a beautiful rare Firecrest amongst a roaming feeding party of Goldcrests, Blue, Great and Long Tailed Tits and Chiffchaff.
   Also in the last couple of weeks I returned to Westhay Moor nature reserve and was again rewarded with good views of delightful Bearded Tits, not to mention another Bittern fly-past!
   My better half Nicola spotted a Newt trying to cross the main track and picked it up to help it on it's way so it didn't get trodden underfoot by some unsuspecting birder!

Below are quite a few of the Great White Egret pics, plus Bearded Tits, Mandarin, Newt and a variety of other pics taken since my last blog post!
   Hope you enjoy! :)

^Above^ - The beautiful Great White Egret at Cheddar reservoir.

^Above^ - The female Mandarin at Cheddar reservoir.

^Above^ - Delightful Bearded Tits! The top pic won a 'Notable' award at Bird Guides :)

^Above^ - Bittern at Westhay.

^Above^ - Tiny Newt at Westhay!

^Above^ - Little Egret at Cheddar Reservoir.... with the Mandarin in the bottom 3 pics.

^Above^ - Woodpigeon at Cheddar reservoir.

^Above^ - Black Headed Gull at Cheddar.

^Above^ - Tiny Firecrest at Cheddar!

^Above^ - Carrion Crow at Cheddar.

^Above^ - Jackdaw at Cheddar.

^Above^ - Long Tailed Tits at Cheddar.

^Above^ - Meadow Pipit at Cheddar.

^Above^ - Pale headed Buzzard on a manure heap near Middlezoy in Somerset.

^Above^ - Grey Heron at Westhay Moor.

^Above^ - Sparrowhawk being harassed by a Carrion Crow at Westonzoyland in Somerset.

^Above^ - Rooks at Westonzoyland.

^Above^ - Young Woodpigeon at Clevedon.

^Above^ - Stonechat in Clematis in the Dorset countryside.

^Above^ - Magpie art! Taken at Apex Park in Burnham on Sea, Somerset.

^Above^ - Greylag Geese at Apex Park.

^Above^ - Kestrel at Apex Park.

^Above^ - Moorhen at Apex Park.

^Above^ - Black Headed Gull at Apex Park.

^Above^ - Female Mallard at Apex Park.

^Above^ - Little Egret on a lagoon at the back of Apex Park.

^Above^ - Rat in broad daylight at Apex Park.

^Above^ - Woodpigeon at Apex Park.

^Above^ - Buzzard near Greylake in Somerset.

^Above^ - Wild mushrooms at RSPB Greylake in Somerset.

^Above^ - Sparrowhawk at Greylake.

^Above^ - Snipe at Greylake.

^Above^ - Female Pheasant at Greylake.

^Above^ - Fieldfares at Greylake...there were 5 or 6 in the willows by the hide, the first I've seen this Autumn anywhere! :)

^Above^ - Lapwing at Greylake.

^Above^ - Male Stonechat at Greylake.

^Above^ - Blue Tit at Greylake.

^Above^ - Wren at Greylake.

^Above^ - Grey Heron at Greylake.

^Above^ - Dragonfly at Greylake.

^Above^ - Teazle at Apex Park.

^Above^ - House Sparrows at Westonzoyland.

^Above^ - Backlit Autumn leaves.

^Above^ - Autumn dog-walkers at Cheddar reservoir.