nightjars & MID-SUMMER BIRDS
2 NIGHT PACKAGE
UPCOMING DATes: 19-21 JUNE 2019 - 2020 date to be advised
There is nothing more exciting that the expectation just before dusk on a summer’s evening waiting for the first ‘churring’ calls of the nightjar. It is such an enduring and unique call, sounding more like the singing of a cricket or radio interference than any natural call a bird might make. It is well worth the effort to wait for the moment the nightjars come out of the tall pines where they roost all day. Their flight is soft and owl-like, with long glides on stiff wings, but it is the churring call that will be unforgettable. The main thrust of the breeding season may well be passed, however the Avalon Marshes will still be full of interesting birds such as great white egrets, bitterns and the occasional purple heron has been known to put in a show in mid-summer. On the coast there will be nesting avocet and plover of differing species. Reed Buntings will still be singing from the bullrushes as will sedge and reed warblers who could be on to brood number two. While birds will naturally be our main focus, mid-June is a wonderful time for dragonflies and butterflies in the ditches and hedges.
Arrive Walls Farm mid-afternoon settle in to your comfortable cottage accommodation, or in the adjacent B&B.
After a cup of tea you will be free to do a spot of birding around the large garden, pond and orchard at Walls Farm or use the heated indoor swimming pool adjacent to your accommodation.
We will have a welcome light supper around 7.00pm prepared by Kay and served in Walls Farm. Stephen will join us to brief us about our planned birdwatching excursions. After 8.00pm we will head out to our nightjar spot to wait quietly for dusk to fall, and hopefully for the birds to appear.
Breakfast in your cottage – cereal, muesli, yoghurts, bread, with home-made preserves will be provided in your accommodation for you to prepare.
Morning birding across Tealham and Tadham Moors, looking for egrets and herons along with other summer migrants in the ditches and rhynes.
We will visit the RSPB’s flagship reserve Ham Wall, and the adjacent Natural England’s Shapwick Heath reserve will both be stuffed with wetland birds like a good plum pudding. Whilst the initial thrust of the breeding season will have passed, there will still be much activity with young birds and second broods.
A light pub lunch will be included as part of the afternoon’s birdwatching plans.
In the afternoon we will head to the coast to the WWT reserve at Steart Marshes overlooking Bridgwater Bay. This relatively new reserve has quickly become a top birding site in Somerset with breeding avocet, little ringed plover and many other wading birds. We would expect to see many shelduck with their youngsters, and in the reeds more warblers and reed buntings tending to their newly hatched chicks.
We will return to Walls Farm early evening in time to relax before dinner with canapes and wine is served once again in Walls Farmhouse.
Breakfast is in your cottage – fresh eggs, cereal, bread, muesli, yoghurts, home-made preserves all provided.
Morning birdwatching to an interesting ancient mixed woodland on the edge of the Mendip Hills where if the weather is clear we should enjoy wonderful views over the Somerset Levels and a distant Glastonbury Tor. Time permitting we may pop into Cheddar village itself for possible sightings of dipper, grey wagtail and a chance to buy some cheese!
12.30pm return to Walls Farm when it will be time to depart and head for home. (lunch not included today)
Upcoming dates for the ‘Nightjars and mid-summer birds' Package
Dates for 2020 to be advised
£415.00 per person (sharing a twin room)
£40.00 single room supplement
Things to remember
While most of our bird walks will be on good paths, sometimes we will go ‘off-piste’ or go through wet grass, so please bring suitable footwear (hiking boots or wellies). Wet weather gear is recommended – a waterproof jacket and over-trousers. It is unlikely that any one single walk would be more than a couple of miles.
Please bring your own binoculars (8x32 are ideal) we have some spare pairs however please advise if you require use of these. It is not essential to have a telescope. Both Stephen and Graeme have top of the range Swarovski telescopes and where appropriate we will set one or both up if we want to zoom into a particular bird or flock. In many ways it can be more of a hindrance if our whole party is fiddling with telescopes and not enjoying the moment.
Cameras and telephoto lenses again can be cumbersome however this is very much up to the individual to carry and look after themselves, but please note this is not a photographic holiday.
Walls Farm has a lovely heated indoor swimming pool, if you would like to use it please ask if it is convenient and understand that the pool is never supervised and is used at the individuals own risk.
Expert ornithological guiding throughout
Welcome supper on Day 1
Full dinner with canapes and wine on Day 2
Teas/coffees and additional refreshments as stated on your confirmed itineraries
Entrance to all birdwatching sites
On all tours it is expected that Stephen Moss will be the expert Ornithological guide ably assisted by Graeme Mitchell a keen and experienced birdwatcher.
For full terms and conditions please click here.