Inspired by the Common Crane piece I have been making for a number of months now, I have decided that the next series of work will be based on the birds and countryside of the Somerset levels.
Last week we spent the day around Shapwick looking at the landscape and plants characteristic of the area plus gathering information on the birds I could base future pieces on.
One of the hides listed the birds you may see in the area and these included; Hobby, Marsh Harrier, Kingfisher, Bittern, Great Crested Grebe, Cuckoo, Reed Warbler, Egrets and Bearded Reedling.
Whilst there we came across a poster for a guided walk to hear about and hopefully see the Bearded Reedling. Once home we booked ourselves onto the first date and have today enjoyed a morning on this informative and successful spotting walk.
We were met by Kevin Anderson from the Avalon Marshes partnership and Andrew Kirby, a volunteer and wildlife photographer. The morning was still and mild and we explored some areas not usually accessible to the public and started to listen and look. Within no time at all a female Marsh Harrier gave us a stunning aerial display, quickly followed by a Bittern flying over head (my first sighting of a Bittern, previously I have only heard the ‘boom’).
Once within the reeds we were lucky enough to have some wonderful views of a male Bearded Reedling and, after getting our ‘ear-in’ we started to be able to locate and spot about 12 of the birds, either sitting on the top of reeds or racing about near by.
We only took binoculars so didn’t capture any pictures but it was an amazing experience to see these stunning little birds so well. One of the leaders Andrew has some amazing photographs on his website that you can see here.
This guided walk is repeated next Wednesday the 10th of October and I highly recommend trying to get a space.