Avalon Marshes 3 – Shapwick Heath

Across the road to Shapwick Heath and we headed up the old railway track, Elaine had said there was talk of an American Wigeon being sighted in the scrape near the Tower hide so we were hoping to see him. We hadn’t spotted any Wigeon at Ham wall so we were hoping. Before we could see them we heard their distinctive call and as we got to the scrape almost the first bird we looked at was the American Wigeon, definitely our lucky day! As the name suggests they are native of North America, not sure how it came to be in Somerset. It was still fairly distant but I managed to get a photo, it has a green eye patch and a conspicuous white crown unlike our native Wigeon who have a chestnut head and buff crown. 

As always click a picture for a bigger view.

American Wigeon
American Wigeon
Eurasion Wigeon
Comparison – Eurasion Wigeon

After spending a little time watching all the birds in the scrape we headed off to Noah’s hide and sat for a while, it was very busy on the lake. The weather had turned very bright so it was difficult to make out some of the birds. There was a large flock of birds in the distance mainly Wigeon with a few Shovelers. The Marsh Harriers were active and the flocks were driven in to the skies a couple of times but they soon settled back again.

Wigeon
Wigeon plus a few Shovelers
Shovelers
Shovelers with Teal behind

A few Greylag Geese around, a Cormorant flying by and Mute Swans plus we just spotted an Egyptian Goose in the far distance, I could just make it out, I took a photo, heavily cropped but I’m amazed it came out! So much to enjoy for the time we were there which you can see by the bird list. Twenty Eight birds in total  although some we spotted enroute to the hide.

Egyptian Goose
Egyptian Goose
Greylag Geese
Greylag Geese
Mute Swan takeoff
Mute Swan takeoff
Cormorant
Cormorant

We had been there for a short while when someone spotted and Otter and for around half an hour they kept us entertained, there was a Mum and two Kits and they swam backwards and forwards, at a distance in front of the hide. What an end to a great day, the Kits were interested in the deadwood sticking up and were climbing on it. I nearly missed him at the top as my camera battery died, but luckily I always have a spare! They only finally left when a flock of Gulls started to worry them so they disappeared into the reeds.

Otter Kits
Otter Kits
Curious Otter
Curious Otter
Curious Otter
Curious Otter
Curious Otter
Curious Otters

Mum and two Kits, you can just make out the third ones head and ears are just above the surface of the water at the rear of the Kit!

Mum and two Kits
Mum and two Kits

We both went home very happy after an amazing day, it’s always a thrill never knowing what you might see. So glad Elaine texted me and I made a sudden decision to go.

Bird sightings list for Shapwick Heath

Bird List for Shapwick Heath

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4 responses to “Avalon Marshes 3 – Shapwick Heath”

  1. Elaine avatar
    Elaine

    Pictures as ever Marilyn are fantastic. A great reminder of a fab day. Next trip must be Catcott where a Goshawk has been seen. Now that would be another spectacular one to see.

    1. MJane avatar
      MJane

      Yes that would be fantastic, never seen one!

  2. Claire avatar
    Claire

    Fantastic otter photos, Marilyn, I haven’t tried Shapwick Heath yet, so this will be something new!

  3. MJane avatar
    MJane

    Yes worth a visit just over the road, Noah’s hide is worth a visit!

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