For friendly, expert advice call: +44 (0) 1962 733051

The Somerset Levels - A Beginner Birdwatching Tour

Tour Code: GBR40

A short birdwatching break, focusing in particular on the spectacular winter congregations of Starlings found on these ancient moors and wetlands. This tour has been designed specifically with Beginner Birdwatchers in mind.

3 days from £298(flights not included) Land Only Price: £298 SRS: £60


The magical movements and acrobatics of a million roosting Starlings. Bitterns. Huge congregations of wintering wildfowl, Lapwings and Golden Plovers. Birds of prey; amongst them Short-eared and Barn Owls, Marsh and Hen Harriers, Merlins and Peregrines. These are just some of the possible highlights on offer at this special expanse of seasonally inundated lowlands that spans 650 square kilometres between the Quantock and Mendip Hills. This ancient habitat, that until recently had fallen victim to drainage and other modern farming demands, has now been restored to much of its former glory by the RSPB and other conservation bodies. It is a heartening modern-day conservation 'success story'! As this tour is designed for beginners, more time will be taken on instruction, explaining in more detail the identification features about the birds we encounter.

Food

Breakfasts and 3-course evening meals included in the price.

Accommodation

A comfortable 3-star hotel, with an award-winning restaurant, in the historic market town of Wells; all rooms have private facilities.

Starlings, Somerset Levels

Starlings, Somerset Levels

Outline Itinerary Download

Day 1 Arrive Wells

Day2/3 Somerset Levels; Avalon Marshes; King's Sedgemoor; West Sedgemoor

The Somerset Levels, a magical expanse of seasonally inundated lowlands that spans 650 square kilometres between the Quantock and Mendip Hills, is a conservation ‘success story’! An ancient habitat that, until recently, had fallen victim to drainage and other modern farming demands, has now been restored to much of its former glory by the RSPB and other conservation bodies. Indeed the area supports such a rich variety of plant and birdlife that it is under consideration for status as a World Heritage Site.

Our visit is timed to coincide with the massive flocks of wildfowl that gather here during the winter, when internationally important numbers of Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal, Pintail and Shoveler are present. Another species found here in vast flocks is the Starling, made famous in recent years by BBC coverage. A dusk outing to watch hundreds of thousands of birds swirling over their roost sites makes for breathtaking viewing. The other star attraction of the area is the Bittern. Habitat creation has, in recent years, attracted several breeding pairs, and in winter these are joined by migrants, giving us a good chance of seeing one standing among the reeds or flying across the vast reedbeds.
There are small numbers of wintering raptors such as, Merlin, Peregrine, Marsh Harrier and Hen Harrier, and in recent winters it has been possible to watch Great White Egret alongside Little Egret with regularity. This superb bird bred in the UK for the first time in 2012 and chose the Somerset levels in which to do so, such is the extent and quality of the habitat here. Another bird which we will hope to encounter is the Common Crane which has been re-introduced here as part of the Great Crane Project. Although it can be unpredictable as to their whereabouts, many have been lucky.

Otters are another success story and do occur on the Somerset Levels in ever increasing numbers, though few are lucky enough to see them on such a short visit.

There is a very special quality to the landscape and wildlife of the Somerset Levels, and there are wonderful views across Glastonbury Tor, Deer Leap and Wookey. Indeed a visit here in winter can offer a host of rewards, so please do join us on this ever-popular Naturetrek short break

Naturetrek groupWigeonWest SedgemoorStarling flockWatching Bewick's SwansRobinNaturetrek group birdwatching at ShapwickNuthatch (Ed Drewitt)Common Snipe (John Crispin)Great Crested Grebe with two chicks (Ed Drewitt)Greylake (Ed Drewitt)NytheEgrets and starlingsMale WigeonBittern (Paul Marshall)Common Cranes (Graham Dorgan)Bittern – one of 20 sightings of this target bird on one trip! (Dave Newitt)The group scanning for Bitterns across the marshes (Dave Newitt)A typical levels scene (Dave Newitt)Ham Wall and Glastonbury Tor (Ed Drewitt)Ham Wall at dawn (Ed Drewitt)Lapwings, CatcottWatching Starlings at duskStarling flock (Catherine Strong)Starlings (Catherine Strong)Starlings (Catherine Strong)
D.M.
February 2016
Both tour leaders were excellent in helping us "beginners" identify birds at a distance and also explain why birds were in certain places i.e. shallow or deep water. The starling roost and its close proximity was startling.
J.B.
February 2016
Loved the enthusiasm and knowledge of the guides. Good accommodation, good food and a nice friendly group of people. The starlings leaving their roost at dawn was a magical sight that we will never forget.
Ms L Ewart
Dorset
Both tour leaders demonstrated excellent specialist knowledge in a variety of relevant areas including local history, wildlife and environmental concerns.
Miss G McIntosh
Kent
I cannot praise the two leaders enough. It was a privilege to be in their company with all their knowledge and expertise. I had a great little holiday and Wells is a lovely base.
Ms T Williams
Kent
We really enjoyed the holiday. The trip leader Dave Nevitt was really knowledgeable and helpful.
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DeparturesAvailableCost

Fri 16th February 2018 - Sun 18th February 2018

FULL

£298

more details

Flights: Flights are not included with this tourMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are limited. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £298 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Visiting: United Kingdom

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Tom Mabbett
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01962 733051

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Tour Reviews

Both tour leaders were excellent in helping us "beginners" identify birds at a distance and also explain why birds were in certain places i.e. shallow or deep water. The starling roost and its close proximity was startling.
D.M., February 2016