Sunday, 16 August 2009

Shapwick and Ham

No not a new kind of sandwich, places in Somerset not too far from Bristol.

I had been stopping at a campsite called Splott Farm, not far from Cheddar. I needed to get away for a few days and it filled my need perfectly. A small site with great facilities and all for ten pounds a night with electric hook up.

A check on Birdguides prior to my departure on Weds 12 revealed a Great White Egret at Meare Heath. I have been to the Nature reserve at Shapwick before with Andy Carey and set off in search of it again. Unfortunately the reserve is signposted very poorly and it took me a while to find the end that I wanted with the carpark. A waste of time as the carpark had a barrier across it under which I could not get the van, however the pub adjacent were kind enough to let me park on their car park. So by the time I had walked the dog and set off it was late morning. I had only a small walk to the scrape on which the Egret had been for about 10 days prior and as soon as I arrived I saw it. Easily identified with it's bright yellow beak and its huge size. I would say slightly bigger than a grey Heron and much bigger than it's cousin the Little Egret which were also present.
I quickly set up the camera and snapped off a few frames. It then moved slightly further away, another few frames rattled off in it's new position. Then it upped and went, flying off well into the distance. A lady who was sitting on the bench overlooking the scrape advised me it hadn't moved from the scrape for over a week. Wow how lucky was I? I've never seen one before andI had been lucky enough to catch it on camera just minutes before it flew off.
As i say, the bird was quite a distance off and the weather was extemely grey and overcast so not the best pictures but I'm very pleased.

I might stick a picture on my web, it will be slightly larger and hopefully give a better idea of the bird. Check it out on the website.

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