Towards the end of November I took a trip to Somerset with a friend to go on a tour with Stephen of Wildlife in Somerset. The tour which was at sunrise took us onto the moor near Stoke St Gregory. It was a very grey morning although dry and unfortunately we didn’t get a nice sunrise, which I was hoping for but you can never plan the weather!
When we got there the moor looked very quiet but as soon as we started to walk on it we spotted a Barn Owl in the distance, it flew away from us and we didn’t spot it again. As we walked along there was always something to see a number of Great White Egrets were feeding on the moor. We had a glimpse of a Little Owl but it was at a distance, there were a number of really old Apple trees where we walked and Stephen said the Little Owls live in them because of the holes in the trunks where branches have fallen off. I noticed the trees had numbers on and Stephen told me they are protected.
I was hoping to get a sighting of the Cranes which have been reintroduced on to the Somerset Wetlands as part of the Great Crane Project. we weren’t disappointed as number of Cranes flew across to their feeding grounds, although at a distance I managed to get a picture of sorts just for the record, hopefully I will see them closer the next time.
As the dawn progressed we started to see a few Starlings crossing the moor coming from RSPB Ham Wall where hundreds of thousands of them roost every night in the winter months. As we were watching the numbers flying across grew to thousands, what a spectacular sight a real bonus to see them all, a few small flocks came on to the moor but most of them passed over us.
There was also a Kestrel hunting and he managed to catch something and landed on the “No Swimming” sign where it proceeded to eat his prey. we also saw plenty of small birds in the apple trees including Goldcrests and a Mistle Thrush.
As it got a little lighter we went back to the Land Rover Discovery and Stephen said he would take us back the long way across West Sedgemoor which involved off roading on some bumpy farm lanes. Again it seemed quiet until a flock of Lapwings came over then a large flock of Canada geese above them and in amongst them was a white one , a leucostic Canada goose.
Then suddenly from no where a large flock of Grey Plovers were in the air, maybe spooked by a raptor of some sort, it was quite a sight.
We also saw a few Stonechats, both male and female, very striking little birds.
Once we had crossed the moor our tour was over although my images aren’t the best I was pleased with what I got with the limitations of the weather and we saw so much in a short time, a fantastic trip and highly recommended.