8 Ruff still wandering in and out of the open flats this afternoon (16:00-17:00) with similar numbers of other waders and ducks to Alan’s previous post, with Snipe out in the open for fairly long periods, kingfisher darting through and perching in the normal location in the southeast corner, and few GWE, Marsh harrier flying to and for.
Impressed to see the new Noah’s hide, plenty of space for everyone sure to be lured to Shapwick this winter. Common Darters also seemed impressed with 8+ basking on the west facing outer walls in the afternoon sun.
1130 1400 visit today, The two Green Sands that have been present for the last couple of weeks didn’t appear today, 8 Ruff came and went a couple of times, once aided by a short visit from a Peregrine.A few Snipe appeared occasionally and there were 200+ Lapwing,with 20+ Shoveller most still well in eclipse plumage with 40 Wigeon in the same condition and likewise a few Teal. The usual Gadwall flock are further on in their moult and looking quite smart. A couple of single Bitterns , two Marsh Harriers and a Kestrel were the only other birds of note but there were a couole of Bearded Tits seen on the nearby Reeded lagoon and 4 more over 70 Acres behind the Tower Hide. An earlier visit to Ham Wall had produced almost nothing except the Glossy Ibis from VP2.
I saw Allan just as he was leaving (2-00pm-ish) so may be he saw more than me. There was a small flock of 8 Ruff keeping much together, then later a single male (large size) flew in and kept to itself. Later still (3-30pm) on our return walk from Noah’s bench-seats, the flock of 8 had departed, although we did then catch up with 2 Green Sandpipers. Noah’s Lake produced 2 flyover Bitterns and a Kingfisher, and a juv Marsh Harrier flew across 70-Acres.
After two hours Bearded Tit surveying this morning we arrived at the tower hide around 1215, Just the one Green Sand and a couple of Ruff present plus 100 Lapwing, by 1400 five Ruff had appeared and a flyby party of 12 small waders went by so rapidly heading west that they were not identified! The Ruff numbers then went up to twelve. Highlight today at around 1445 were two Common Cranes heading east to west behind the scrape toward Meare village ,they circled and called for 10-15 mins. before continuing west toward Westhay.
Mid day visit today, initially just one Green sand and a couple of Snipe but then 4 LITTLE STINT arrived from the east; first for a twelvemonth ? . They settled and fed hungrily for around an hour and a half then left together at 1425 heading West. In the meantime a second Green Sand had appeared and a single Ruff. Then just as I was leaving at around 1445 another 10 Ruff arrived from the Ham Wall direction.
Two Ruff this morning were suddenly joined by a party of 16 at mid day making the total 18, the largest number I’ve seen here for a long time but this didn’t last more than 5 minutes as a Peregrine arrived put everything up and all but 1 disappeared and had not returned two hours later. A Glossy Ibis arrived at 1315 and stayed feeding. The only other waders were half a dozen Snipe and one Green Sandpiper. 2 Cattle Egrets flew over the scrape together mid afternoon.
Just 2 Green Sands and 1 Dunlin plus 40 Lapwing but significantly 210 Wigeon! they have gradually been building up over the last couple of weeks but I only counted 40 last Friday and 80 yesterday.
It will be interesting to find out what’s on Noah’s Lake when the new hide opens. I have been told this will be early October as apparently the approach path needs urgent attention due to erosion by the builders traffic.
12 Ruff; 3 Dunlin; 2 Green Sands; half a dozen Snipe; plus a small S’piper with a white rump seen in the rain this morning not identified ! then and not about when the sun eventually came out this afternoon. lots of Wigeon ( 30+). 40 Lapwing (very twitchy). Worth checking any small wader that’s about tomorrow!
p.m. visit, 1300’ ish today 1 juv. Curlew Sand (white rump)!; 1 Dunlin; 1 Ruff ; 1 Green Sand; 4 Snipe; unfortunately the Curlew Sand lifted off when the 30 or so Lapwing present alarmed and flew up and had not been seen again up to 1430 when I left. On Ham Wall this morning 1 Glossy Ibis; 3 Bittern; several parties of Bearded Tits ( one of 13 individuals).
31 Wigeon on the scrape today with just 2 Green Sands, 1 Snipe and 1 Dunlin. A single Black Tern was on Noah’s Lake.
Just a Green Sandpiper 2 Dunlin and a Snipe among the Lapwing on the Scrape today.
A visit to Ham Wall VP2 revealed 4 Ruff , 2 Ringed Plover (juvs.) and 2 Dunlin.
First Pintail on the Scrape today female or juvenile. ? 3 Ruff 2 Green Sands. Peregrine attack early afternoon nearly took a Ruff . .Cattle Egrets showing as yesterday but 8 seen today
Mon. a.m. Windy and wet at times! 4 Ruff; 2 Green Sands; 3 Blk. Wits; 30 Lapwing. 13 Wigeon; 3 Shoveller; lots of Gadwall, Mallard and Teal. In the distance in field south of Meare village and visible occasionally were 4 Cattle Egrets and 8 Little Egrets.. One Great White stopped in for 10 minutes and a Bittern flew over from 70 Acres to the Piggeries going down wind at 30 knots!
Eight SOS members braved the showers and occasional glimpses of the sun for the SOS walk this morning, the highlights were the Pectoral Sandpiper on the scrape on our second viewing heading back but sheltering from the rain under the hide, thanks to those in the hide who alerted us to it’s presence(just to the north of the island among the Lapwing flock) Other highlights were one Green Sandpiper, one Black-tailed Godwit a brief glimpse of a Water Rail for some, Marsh Harrier and a showy Bittern from the VP1 at Ham Wall.
A Note from Simon Clark Nat. Eng dated 5th. Sept. . Re Water levels on the scrape, bringing it up from it’s relatively dry state last week!
Just to let you know that we allowed some water into the Meare Heath Scrape today, to cover some of the drier areas of mud that where not being used by any migrating birds. We have now stopped moving water and will wait to see how any passage birds respond. We will continue to monitor the level and if required we can pump down again. On leaving site this evening there where large numbers of lapwing using the newly flooded but shallow areas with a number of smaller waders also feeding.
With kind regards
Shapwick Heath NNR