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The opportunity arose to spend a weekend singing Bach on the Somerset Levels, and as luck would have it this small RSPB reserve was 10 minutes away.
The heronry was busy with nesting and courting grey heron and occasional little egret. Weird primitive sounding squawks and croaks filled the air. Restless herons flew in and out of the treetop nests.
Smaller birds busied themselves in the clearing near to the hide including treecreeper, nuthatch, great spotted woodpecker, great tit, blue tit, coal tit, marsh tit, wren, robin, and my first goldcrest.
I’ve been lucky enough to spend a fair bit of time at Steart Marshes this year and I’ve pulled together some of my better pictures from January’s visits below. Spoonbills overwintered and were a big hit with the photographers, when we could tear ourselves away from the short-eared owls. The extra high tide 0815h 23 Jan 2019 gave the place a very different appearance, truly awe-inspiring!
Wednesday has just become my day again for the first time since I started working in the 70’s – freedom! So after doing my chores and picking apples in the breezy sunshine, I headed down to WWT Steart near Hinckley Point in Somerset for the high tide, to see what I might find.
The wind was picking up as I arrived and with it came squall after squall of heavier and heavier rain, the coat tails of Storm Ali, which was wreaking havoc not much further north of us. It merited a name, the first of the year, because of its ferocity, and the birds seemed to have heard in advance and hunkered down.
Braving the breeze were plucky little egrets, gulls in profusion, a flash of kingfisher and flocks of goldfinches and starlings. Stately swans pointed upwind and remained calm, while a little grebe (my first) dashed for cover in the reeds as I arrived. The waders were nowhere to be seen. All for another day.
And all this just for me, with no-one around except distant farmers on the fields and reserve staff doing their brilliant work, always ready with a smile and a wave.