Trust member Chris Chappell talks about some of his wildlife experiences since leaving the hustle and bustle of London life behind and heading for Somerset.
Having recently arrived from London, I have had a fantastic Spring
exploring the area. On my first two visits to Shapwick Heath in April, I
saw rather more than I was expecting: an otter, two bitterns, marsh
harrier, 50 or so bar tailed godwits, heard numerous Cetti's warblers, saw
a great white egret and much more.
This is one of the photos I took of the River Brue.
Moving to Butleigh in early February, I hung several bird feeders from the ash tree outside my cottage, and entertained great numbers of greenfinches, goldfinches and chaffinches. Great spotted woodpeckers would arrive and I saw the first tree creeper I have seen for years on the tree. I twice watched a kestrel pursuing smaller birds around the ash tree, without success while I was there. Occasional glimpses of barn owls at night, and a little owl in daylight in Butleigh Wootton.
Spring is in the air
As spring arrived, the woods and hedgerows filled with warblers, willow, chiff chaffs, blackcaps, whitethroats and more I am not expert enough to identify. Other highlights were the many hares, partridges, roe and sika deer. I once watched a fox and a hare eyeing each other, quite close, 20m maybe, neither wanting to move. There were also many green woodpeckers, fascinating to watch if you can get close. It seemed that great flocks of crows, jackdaws and ravens would all fight for space combing the fields for food. On a bright May morning a great flock of buzzards, we counted 17, circled over the house. I wonder why they do this ?
I now live in Somerton, but enjoy cycling around the area, and was pleased to see the number of swifts in Somerton. A large group of 20+ would fly screaming around Market Place each morning, but moved on a few days ago. Also good to see the number of sparrows in the area, two pairs nesting in my roof.
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