A day later with the blog this week, as I've been off since Wednesday and therefore have had to do a bit of digging to get some interesting sightings to report - and there have been several. Good Friday did indeed turn out to be good for a select few, who witnessed an Osprey flying over Ham Wall at 7.30am and 9.50am. It flew over the 1st viewing platform heading NE and was eventually lost behind the wood to the right of the platform. Around the same time as this what was thought to be a male Pallid Harrier also flew over the platform and flew south over Waltons before going out of sight. Three people were in agreement with the ID and it fits with the news that a Pallid Harrier was seen elsewhere in Somerset on 3rd April.
Also on Good Friday a male Garganey was spotted in front of the platform and he was still present on Tuesday. Good Friday morning also presented 6 different Bittern flights in front of the platfrom and within Waltons. Boomers are also still very active and flights are now not quite so scarce. A long flight was witnessed on Weds as a bittern flew from the north of the reserve over the 2nd viewing platform and over Loxtons before landing. The same day 12 Sand Martin and a single Swallow from Loxtons screen. Small groups of Sand Martins can be seen on most days if you look hard enough.
Tuesday morning saw the first Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) visit of the season and also produced some interesting sightings: A male Red Crested Pochard was spotted on the north of the reserve where he stayed for a while and was seen again in a different section (non-access unfortunately) on Weds, although I've not heard any further news on this as yet. A Great White Egret was seen also and again seen fishing in the north of the reserve on Weds. Bearded Tits were heard at several locations and indeed again on Friday although nothing reported in Waltons or Loxtons this week. The best chance at present of a sighting would be to walk the first half of the canal footpath at stop at intervals to listen. Several Teal are still present on site and could be seen and heard from the 1st viewing platform. At Tinneys Ground in Sharpham an Otter was sighted during the survey in this section.
Wednesday saw the sightings of 2 male Marsh Harriers - one the mature male I've mentioned before but also the juvenile male. A Blue Winged Teal was spotted from the first viewing platform Weds evening but was still present on Thursday with an Australian Shoveler - seen and reported by a few people. The Blue winged Teal was then seen again on Thursday on the far north of the reserve by one of our volunteers - it was said to have very distinctive face markings and when seen in flight the 'blue panel' on the upper wing made it easy to ID.
Also seen this week: Ravens over Loxtons, 3 snipe together, several Lapwing (including some pairs), a pair of Redshank, 3 Treecreepers seen together - one of which was carrying a food packet, Great Spotted Woodpecker and the first cuckoo on Ham Wall reported on Friday although since another had been reported, heard from the reserve car park on Weds (unsure of location of bird).
Common Cranes are being reported a little more frequently now and it seems likely that the released birds on the Levels are beginning to get a bit braver and explore the area. 6 were seen flying high over Shapwick Heath yesterday heading west.