RSPB Ham Wall

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Steve
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#1
If the weather clears up, the wife & I are thinking about a visit to Ham Wall tomorrow (Sunday).

Can anybody give me any tips on the best areas as it's a big place, and what we may expect to see?

Thanks...
 
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#2
On their website there's a sightings page and a map of the reserve (in a download leaflet) so you can relate sightings to hides. Over the road there's the Shapwick Heath reserve, all part of the same old peat diggings. I live not too far away but don't go there as I don't like it, though I can't put my finger on why I don't like it, but it is a very popular place. Apparently they've been getting bearded tits there, so I might have to go.................
 
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#3
I have yet to see, let alone capture an image, of a Bearded Tit. They reckon over 250 of them on the site this week, so we may be lucky tomorrow. We moved to the Wilts/Dorset/Somerset borders about 10 weeks ago and have yet to find a good regular haunt for birding. Ham Wall is about 45 minutes away from us, so it's about the same distance as Arne and Lodmoor for us.
 
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#4
The bearded tits are usually over on Westhey, North Hide is apparently good for them

If you go to the Tor hide on Ham Wall, then you get the herons, some Igrets, and often see the Marsh Harrier tends to come in closer than the over on the Norah hide. But do ask the wardens when you get to Ham Wall they are very knowledgable and will give you some very good pointers to where and what's been seen. They've just changed the car park closing time, winter months its 6.30pm..

I'm lucky Ham wall is only about 15 minute drive for me
 
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#5
I have yet to see, let alone capture an image, of a Bearded Tit. They reckon over 250 of them on the site this week, so we may be lucky tomorrow. We moved to the Wilts/Dorset/Somerset borders about 10 weeks ago and have yet to find a good regular haunt for birding. Ham Wall is about 45 minutes away from us, so it's about the same distance as Arne and Lodmoor for us.
I look forward to seeing what you make of the area opportunities wildlife wise, as that is an area of interest for us for moving to.
 
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#6
I have yet to see, let alone capture an image, of a Bearded Tit. They reckon over 250 of them on the site this week, so we may be lucky tomorrow. We moved to the Wilts/Dorset/Somerset borders about 10 weeks ago and have yet to find a good regular haunt for birding. Ham Wall is about 45 minutes away from us, so it's about the same distance as Arne and Lodmoor for us.
In theory 45mins for me too - usually more depending on how many slow drivers/cyclists/tractors I get stuck behind. 20 miles but it's all cross country. I've never seen a bearded tit either. Post if you do find any - I might have enough time to get out there for a brief visit Monday afternoon if it was worthwhile.
 
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#7
I look forward to seeing what you make of the area opportunities wildlife wise, as that is an area of interest for us for moving to.
We moved from West London where we had a half decent public lake locally, and a 20 minute drive to WWT Barnes. Struggling to find somewhere as good as Barnes locally (we live in Mere, just off the A303) but I'm sure we'll sort something soon. We liked Barnes because of the facilities, I do like a coffee when I'm out in the cold!! :sneaky:
 
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#8
In theory 45mins for me too - usually more depending on how many slow drivers/cyclists/tractors I get stuck behind. 20 miles but it's all cross country. I've never seen a bearded tit either. Post if you do find any - I might have enough time to get out there for a brief visit Monday afternoon if it was worthwhile.
Oh Jan, don't get me started on the drivers down here.... 35mph on national speed limit roads is very common. I know we intended to relax a bit when we moved but I just can't see the point of driving that slowly in good weather on decent roads....
 
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#9
We moved from West London where we had a half decent public lake locally, and a 20 minute drive to WWT Barnes. Struggling to find somewhere as good as Barnes locally (we live in Mere, just off the A303) but I'm sure we'll sort something soon. We liked Barnes because of the facilities, I do like a coffee when I'm out in the cold!! :sneaky:
I go to Slimbridge. A lot further than Ham Wall but I like it there, not just because the birds are easier to photograph but because there's so many at certain times of year it's fascinating to just sit and watch them. And they do good carrot cake..............:) But it is 1.5 hrs by 20 yr old Defender.................
 
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#10
Catcott which is near Ham Wall, is very good over winter for water birds... As the fields in front of the main hide is flooded over winter. There is quite a bit out there, with other hides around about and lovely wooded area before hitting the common, only problem due to being peat it's a tad soft etc over winter.

another bird to Ham Wall for a first this time, has been the Cattle Igret, both at Ham Wall and at Catcott.

I've lived in this area all my life, and can remember when Westhay, Ham Wall were Peat works...
 
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#13
Well, didn't get to see any Beardies, but at Ham Wall we saw Great & Little Egret, Marsh Harrier, Gadwall, Wigeon, all the usual suspects, plus a chance meeting with an Otter just feet in front of us.

Moved on to Westhay, and again got both Egrets, another Otter, and a very chilled out Kingfisher (still no Beardies!!) Found out afterwards that the one hide we didn't visit (the Island Hide) is the most reliable for them... Another visit soon me thinks.

All in all a very enjoyable day. To top it all, while out in the car today we have seen Red Kite, a load of Fallow Deer, and the Mrs thinks she say a Hen Harrier...
 
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#14
Glad you enjoyed Ham Wall and surrounding area's- I've been a game keeper for some 15 years around the area of Taunton and have never seen a Fallow deer in or near that area
plenty of Roe, I see them every day - so well spotted, if they were indeed Fallow's

I doubt very much you would have seen Hen Harrier - possibly a Common Buzzard or Marsh Harrier - do you have a photograph, I'd like to see what it was ?

Island Hide is as you say "THE" place for Bearded Tits + I'd recommend Greylake RSPB on the A361 for wintering birds- my all time, go too place - You may well bump into me should you visit :sony:



Les :)
 
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#15
Glad you enjoyed Ham Wall and surrounding area's- I've been a game keeper for some 15 years around the area of Taunton and have never seen a Fallow deer in or near that area
plenty of Roe, I see them every day - so well spotted, if they were indeed Fallow's

I doubt very much you would have seen Hen Harrier - possibly a Common Buzzard or Marsh Harrier - do you have a photograph, I'd like to see what it was ?

Island Hide is as you say "THE" place for Bearded Tits + I'd recommend Greylake RSPB on the A361 for wintering birds- my all time, go too place - You may well bump into me should you visit :sony:



Les :)
Les, could well have been Roe, I’m not great on deer other than Red & Muntjac. I didn’t see the harrier myself, but my wife described it as a very large silver grey with black wingtips. We have seen them in Mull so she knows what they look like.
 
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#17
Les, could well have been Roe, I’m not great on deer other than Red & Muntjac. I didn’t see the harrier myself, but my wife described it as a very large silver grey with black wingtips. We have seen them in Mull so she knows what they look like.
That's good news indeed- if we now have Hen Harriers on the Levels, may I enquire the exact location please? - I for one will be keeping my eyes peeled, more than I usually do.....just a shame it wasn't photographed- that would have been exceptional, give the rarity of these birds.

I too have Photographed them on Mull on several occasions, both male & female in 3 different locations :) and I am returning for a 3 week trip in May next year, so hopefully I'll see and photograph them again

As for the Deer we have Red and Roe in Somerset in some numbers - Never come across Fallow or Muntjac

Here's a Red, I photographed recently

Red Stag Bellow
by Les Moxon, on Flickr

and a Roe Buck

Roe Deer - Greylake
by Les Moxon, on Flickr

2 very different animals as you can see



Les :)
 
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#18
Reds, I get, Muntjac I get.... Roe & Fallow are my confusion.

I need to remember that white spots & the big spoon like antlers for Fallow. What we saw were Roe Deer (not fallow). Don't see enough to keep in practice!!

The Harrier was at Westhay, not sure what hide we were in, but I was looking at something else through the camera, hence I missed it.
 
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#19
Reds, I get, Muntjac I get.... Roe & Fallow are my confusion.

I need to remember that white spots & the big spoon like antlers for Fallow. What we saw were Roe Deer (not fallow). Don't see enough to keep in practice!!

The Harrier was at Westhay, not sure what hide we were in, but I was looking at something else through the camera, hence I missed it.
Yes sometimes hard to recognise Deer- I worked with a Red Deer herd for 15 years -Roe are very common here in Somerset, I see them very day and sometimes take the time to photograph them too- thanks for the info on Westhay, a place I visit a lot :)

Les

Roe Buck, I shot at Ham Wall


Fallow Buck, I shot in Bushy Park West London

 
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#20
Well, didn't get to see any Beardies, but at Ham Wall we saw Great & Little Egret, Marsh Harrier, Gadwall, Wigeon, all the usual suspects, plus a chance meeting with an Otter just feet in front of us.

Moved on to Westhay, and again got both Egrets, another Otter, and a very chilled out Kingfisher (still no Beardies!!) Found out afterwards that the one hide we didn't visit (the Island Hide) is the most reliable for them... Another visit soon me thinks.

All in all a very enjoyable day. To top it all, while out in the car today we have seen Red Kite, a load of Fallow Deer, and the Mrs thinks she say a Hen Harrier...
Well done on the Otter spotting I have been quite a few times and always hope to see a Otter but never have up to date.
 
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