Our coach left Lymington on time for the RSPB’s Ham Wall reserve on the Somerset Levels west of Glastonbury, whose iconic Tor could be seen from the reserve. On arrival some the party enjoyed elevenses, whilst others began walking the trail that had formerly been the railway line between Glastonbury and Bridgewater. The elevated path offers views across reedbeds and lagoons once formerly part of a thriving peat extracting industry. Now it is a haven for wildlife.
From the ponds by the picnic area Marsh or Green Frogs croaked, out in the reedbeds Reed Warblers sang and Bitterns boomed, whilst hidden in the sallows that grew in places along the track the songsters included Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Cetti’s, Garden and Willow Warblers.
Great Yellow-cress lined the banks of ditches and waterways with their golden flowers attracting many insects from Early and Tree Bumblebees to butterflies that included Brimstones, Orange-tips and Green-veined Whites.
Overhead wheeled Swifts, Swallows and martins, but the Hobbies that circled amongst them were more interested in dragonflies. We saw Hairy Dragonflies as well as several species of newly emerged damselflies and at least two species of moths – Clouded Border and Nettle Tap.
|Great Crested Grebe - fish supper|
|Great Crested Grebe - nest and eggs|
Along the track were two viewing platforms and several side-tracks that led to hides, so there were plenty of opportunities to walk and/or sit and watch resulting in a good collective bird list. Of course not everyone saw everything, but we all had highlights of one kind or another. In addition to those species already mentioned the bird tally included Great Crested Grebes – one pair with eggs in the nest and another with downy chicks, Great White and Little Egret, a pair of Garganey, Greenshank, Whimbrel and great views of the locally breeding Marsh Harriers over the marshes.
This trip was arranged by Adrian and we were admirably driven by Solent Coaches – our grateful thanks to them both.