We decided it was time to get away in the Camper van for a couple of days while the weather was a little settled. Crossing the border once again to the Somerset Levels, as we never get fed up with going there as the changing of the seasons means there is always something different happening, whether it is birds nesting or migrating or just the every day goings on of the wildlife.

We were hoping to see some of the larger birds feeding young but we were probably a little early, the Bitterns were still booming and keeping a low profile as were the Marsh Harriers.

I had been to Castle Cameras Spring Show at Hamworthy Sports centre on the Tuesday before we went and bought a new camera and lens, an Olympus OMD E-M1 Mark ll and a 300mm f4 pro lens and I only had time to charge the battery so I could try it out. It is so much lighter then the Canon system that I’ve been using and it was so much easier to carry around, which was one of the main reasons for buying it.

Even though I didn’t know what I was doing I managed to get some nice images of the wildlife. I used both cameras while I was there as I didn’t have the battery life on the Olympus and hadn’t got a spare battery by then, but I must say I’m looking forward to using it more especially once I read the manual!

Bittern
Biitern in flight

The Catcott reserve, part of the Avalon Marshes is near to where we camp at Edington so on the way back from Ham Wall we stopped by there and stayed for a while in the evening, there was plenty of birdlife and fairly close to the hide so we could watch the comings and goings. There were Shoveler Ducks, Black Tailed Godwits, Lapwings and lots more including a couple of Cattle Egrets, I’ve seen them before,  but not as close a pretty little bird with their sandy head and top body. I didn’t realise when I took the Egrets that there was a Garganey duck sleeping just in front, this was the must see bird this spring, you can just see the light stripe on his head to the left of the Egret.

Cattle Egret
Cattle Egret
Lapwings in flight
Lapwings in flight

The Wednesday turned out to be a sunny day there were so many Damselflies and Four Spot Chaser Dragonflies on the reeds and this meant Hobbies would be taking advantage of the glut of food. I heard they were over the road at Shapwick Heath so in the afternoon I took a walk over to the Hides. I spent some time in Noah’s Hide and saw one Hobby and a Bittern but then as I was thinking of making my way back I crossed to the other side just to see what there was from the 70 Acre hide and I was so glad I did, I saw at least 7 Hobbies in flight, something I’ve never experienced before and they were catching and eating Dragonflies on the wing amazing!

Hobby and prey
Hobby and prey
Four Spot Chaser Dragonfly
Four Spot Chaser Dragonfly

Our last morning turned out to be a little damp with rain but I spent my time in the Tor View hIde on Ham wall and again I saw lots of wildlife, Ducks with their young, a Little Grebe, Coots and Moorhens with young and the Herons coming in and out where they are nesting in the reeds. There was also Water Rail around the hide with a little black fluffy chick but they are very shy birds and I only got a glimpse of them. Suddenly a few Swifts appeared above they hide and after a short while the numbers soared to around fifty, a lovely sight, one even got into the picture of the Swans in flight below.

Swans and a Swift
Swans and a Swift

On the way back I was by the ponds at the car park and I heard a Cettis Warbler I looked for it just in case I could spot it and I was lucky to see it before it disappeared again into the undergrowth and I just managed a quick snap. I’ve only been trying to get a snap for the last few visits!

Cettis Warbler
Cettis Warbler

It was really a great few days and I have put a gallery on this post of just some of the images I took. Here is the link Avalon Marshes Gallery

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