At the car park I decided to head out the other side and check out Shapwick Heath NNR and the flock of Great White Egrets that reside on the reserve. I wasn't disappointed, seeing eight Great White Egrets straight away; three in pink-legged, dark-billed breeding plumage, four in non-breeding plumage and a single that I thought was a first winter bird. Amazing to think that I twitched the first one I saw in Britain at Rutland Water back in the 80s - I would never have thought they would be breeding here! But then who would have thought that the Avalon marshes would have 30 booming Bitterns and that Cattle Egret and Little Bittern would be breeding in Somerset, with Purple Herons breeding in Kent and a productive Spoonbill colony in Norfolk? What next Glossy Ibis breeding, or maybe Night Heron? Both I reckon.......
But back to Shapwick Heath. A Little Egret and several Grey Herons were feeding with the Great White Egrets. Almost as good as the Ribble. Okay, just as good, but certainly very different. I'll be back to Ham Wall and Shapwick Heath early in the sunmmer, can't wait, a brilliant, bird-filled wetland. Love it.
Pair of breeding plumage Great White Egrets (right hand bird ringed) at Shapwick Heath, Somerset.
Five of the eight Great White Egrets at Ham Wall, Somerset.
Record shot of Pied-billed Grebe at Ham Wall, Somerset.