Great little birding expedition with the children down to Shapwick Heath. We were down there to try to see the osprey which has been seen in recent days hunting fish over one of the lakes and is regularly to be found on a water-bound tree stump to the left of the hide.(*A regular annual visitor) On the walk there were a lot of bird watchers with large scopes trying to see a rare small brown/grey 'Spotted Crake' in some distant reeds but I had no hope with my inadequate binoculars. We did see the following bird species however: Grey Heron, Little Egret, Sandpiper, Lapwing and Buzzard. With the help of Gary's telescope I was also able for the first time to distinguish a Green Sandpiper from a Ruff and a Black-tailed Godwit, but I don't think I could positively identify the Wood Sandpiper or Spotted Redshank that others were watching.
Once in the raised hide above the lake we were able to watch the osprey for 10 minutes, sitting on it's distant perch preening and stretching. All of the children had a look at it with Gary's scope and I was able to take some rather blurred photographs with my little digital camera through the eyepiece. The value of decent binoculars or a telescope is again very clear as without them the osprey was little more than a distant brown smudge on the top of a brown stump. The osprey then took off to fly towards Shapwick, presumably to hunt, and for a brief moment I watched it airborn being tentatively chased by a rook and sharing the sky with a female Marsh Harrier and a Buzzard, not a bad morning then.