Evening at Shapwick Heath

I haven’t visited Shapwick Heath much this year, weather, tiredness and a couple of minor illnesses have all conspired to keep me away. I did visit the last two sundays though, as it is osprey season and most years produces one stopping over for a week or two on passage back to Africa. This year has not been an exception and I have had some fairly lengthy, if very distant views on both days, despite not being able to spend as long as I would have liked due to work committments. Today, I spent the late afternoon and evening there and had some productive (if distant) views of the osprey, along with a marsh harrier (possibly a juvenile bird) and a common buzzard. All were quickly mobbed by corvids, with the osprey clearly being mobbed by rooks.

Photography wasn’t that productive, although I did get some shots of a juvenil coot struggling with a large water snail or whelk. At one point it looked as if it was lodged in its bill, but eventually it managed to swallow it.

I had a bit of a treat walking back to the car though. As I reached the area leaving Decoy Lake, I noticed movement in the undergrowth, so stayed very still. I was rewarded with a view of a shrew, eventually coming less than a metre away from me. It was probably a small common shrew, but I couldn’t be sure that it wasn’t a pygmy shrew. Whatever it was though, I was able to watch it foraging for insects amongst the leaf litter for a few minutes, before it crossed the path and disappeared into the undergrowth next to the lake.

I had a further treat walking along the road though, as a blue flash flew past me, very close, revealing itself to be a kingfisher. All in all a pleasant evening, despite the unproductive photography.

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