Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Ham Wall Dusky Warbler is early Christmas present

 Early morning steak out
Show time
Dusky Warbler (Thanks to Matt Scott)
 New Avalon Hide
 New Avalon Hide
Distant Marsh Harrier
 Glastonbury Tor
Dusky Bench

Would I risk the M5 three days before Christmas ? After a helpful tweet from Matt Scott I decided to risk it as he said the traffic around Cribbs Causeway was actually ok given the time of year.

The new toilets were a welcome find on the car park before heading up the main path. After passing the first viewing platform you turn left over a bridge then right up a muddy patch. When you have reached the turning for the new hide carry straight on for another 100 yards where you will see the pictured bench. If you reach this far you would have found other birders. 

I hadn't seen a Dusky Warbler before however reports are always of skulking birds that are difficult to see. It certainly started that way as I didn't see anything except a Wren in the first 75 minutes. The original dozen birders increased to around thirty when the bird started calling and could then be located. The Warbler worked it's way through the habitat just over the waters edge giving some great views at times but you did have to contend with odd blocked view by tree stumps or long grass. The supercillium was quite striking whilst I made sure I got a good view of the lighter longer coloured legs. Dusky Warblers breed in Siberia in bogs and is a rare autumn vagrant to the UK.

With a skip in my stride I went up a very muddy patch to take a look at the new two storey Avalon hide. The hide is centrally located of the reed beds and allows spectacular views of the reserve but also Glastonbury Tor. Sightings included a number of Marsh Harriers, Bittern, Common Buzzard, two Great White Egret, Wigeon & Shoveler. 

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