Saturday 17 February 2024

Somerset Levels

A long overdue day out with my good friend Derek and a much needed change of scenery. It's only an hour up the road but it's like being on another planet as far as birds are concerned. We visited Stathe, Greylake, Shapwick Heath and Catcott Lows, walking a good few miles and absorbing the sights and sounds that included courting Cranes and booming Bitterns. The day's totals included Baikal Teal, 2 adult Whooper Swans, 4 Glossy Ibis, 6 Common Cranes, 10+ Marsh Harriers, 1 juv Spoonbill, 19 Golden Plovers, c3/4000+ Wigeon, c1000+ Pintail, 25+ Great White Egrets, 3 Kingfishers, c10+ Cattle Egrets, c20+ Little Egrets, c35 Fieldfares, c20+ Siskins, c30 Gadwall, c30 Greylag Geese, 2 Stonechats, 7+ Pochard and c90 Tufted Ducks.

Glastonbury Tor and Great White Egret - Catcott Lows.

Glossy Ibis - Noah's Lake, Shapwick Heath.

Marsh Harrier - Catcott Lows.

Juvenile Spoonbill - Catcott Lows. This bird also flew over us at Shapwick Heath.

Huge congregations of mostly Wigeon and Pintail at Noah's Lake.

Believe it or not, the last time I saw a Pochard was in 2021!


  1. Brilliant outing, Matt. I'm envious of the Baikal Teal, a bird I've only seen in collections. We had a weekend trip down to the Levels back in November- an amazing place. It was surreal while watching the murmurating Starlings seeing c300 Cattle Egrets (about half the Somerset population) flying to roost. I know you see a few in your part of Devon, but still quite scarce here.

    Pochard though are pretty easy to see around here. Shall be off to Welney on Tuesday (rather flooded!) so should see many Pochard there. Just hope I can find one of the Scaup there.

  2. Hi Neil - I'm glad to hear you've got numbers of Pochard up your way still. It has been really sad to witness their decline locally. If you get the chance to see Baikal Teal I'd strongly recommend it - gorgeous birds. Best of luck up at Welney. Have been a couple of times but not for years. In fact I can't remember when I last went! Will have to look it up. All the best. Matt.