Friday, 14 May 2010

South West Trip: Day Five (Somerset)

RSPB Ham Wall

Ian's voluntary work with the osprey project at Rutland Water meant he had to leave on the Tuesday, and it made sense given our location closer to his home. I however, returned to Teignmouth for the night, packed up and returned to Somerset again in the morning, only this time to Ham Wall, an RSPB reserve over the road from Shapwick Heath.

The layout of the reserve is different and you get closer to the pools and reedbeds, though there are no proper hides, so shelter is limited when showers come over! However, with warm conditions it was a fabulous place to be, and once again the hobbies filled the sky, hawking insects overhead.

Being closer to the pools, meant being closer to the booming bitterns, and their sound resonated through you - was a strange yet memorable experience. As was watching a pair of bitterns having a mid-air fight. Was a bit distant for decent shots, but great to observe.

It was uncomfortable at times, but I took the decision to carry around my 40D and 100-400mm lens, as well as the larger, more cumbersome 50D attached to the 500mm on a tripod. Was a very wise move, as it allowed me to quickly focus in on birds flying directly over me, such as a bittern that seemed to appear from nowhere!

At the back of the main pool was a smaller pond, filled with croaking marsh frogs, which sounded alot like baby crocs, if you've heard them on nature programmes, and despite being bright green, they blended in well with the bright green algae.
From the edge of the lake I chuckled as a great crested grebe took out her newly hatched "humbugs" on her back into the lake, then unceremoniously dumped them into the water when she ruffled her feathers.

Back at the main entrance, I was joined by working members of the RSPB who were monitoring the movements of the bitterns, and I had great views of them flying over the reedbeds once more.

Reluctantly I dragged myself away to beat the traffic home, but once more, the south west had delivered some wonderful memories and some decent photos as a result.

Please bear with me as the images are added to his blog over the next few days, and also to my web galleries.

No comments: