Having missed the Little Bitterns at Ham Wall RSPB reserve last year we were determined to give it another go this year, so on the 11th June, Brad, Jake and I, with Mark and Kerry this time, headed off to this superb reserve. Before that, however, we met up with good friends James and Emma Packer, who took us on a bracken and mosquito filled safari in order to see Savi’s Warbler (209) at an undisclosed site nearby. No luck with views but the bird was heard calling briefly. After getting soaked to the waist we finally headed to Ham Wall and Shapwick Heath.
We didn’t have to wait long before the distinctive ‘barking’ of a male Little Bittern (210) was heard from a relatively small reed bed. The bird finally gave itself up showing superbly in flight on three occasions amongst a supporting cast of Great Bittern (211) , Great White Egret and Marsh Harrier. After this my Hayfever, that I rarely suffer with in Cornwall, got the better of me and I looked liked I gone a few rounds with Mike Tyson! I was certainly struggling to keep my left eye open, which made for interesting views through my bins! Anyway, the new Avalon Hide provided glimpses of Bearded Tits (212), more Great Whites, Bitterns and a Hobby. Nearby lagoons held a pair of Garganey and Cetti’s Warblers were everywhere! We finally left the Ham Wall area and after a bite to eat walked over to the new hide at Shapwick Heath. It is certainly a weird shaped thing! but it did provide us with views of an excellent summer plumaged Ruff.
Other birds seen included: Garden Warbler, Buzzard, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Greylag, Mute swan, Little egret, Sparrowhawk, Willow Warbler, Whitethroat, Blackcap, Redshank and Lapwing.
If you have yet to visit this reserve then I thoroughly recommend you make the effort.