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The Wildlife of Shapwick Moor

The Wildlife at Shapwick Moor

Hovering kestrel
Hovering kestrel

Birds of prey are excellent indicators of a healthy environment. As well barn owl, kestrel and buzzard, and hobby in the summer, a wide range of other wildlife uses the reserve including snipe, lapwing and other wetland birds, otter, brown hare and water vole and a wide variety of dragonflies and other insects.

In the boundary hedge sparrowhawks hunt small birds including bullfinch, and old trees provide food for tits and roosting for barn owls. Kingfishers flash along the open ditches, known as rhynes locally, where herons fish. Their scrubby sides hold reed buntings and wintering stonechats, while the reeds hide a variety of warblers.

Skylarks sing over the grassland and lapwings display in wetter areas. Last winter large finch flocks fed here on weed seeds.

Hobby sitting in an Oak tree Pete Walkden
Hobby sitting in an Oak tree Pete Walkden

The wide skies are full of birds. Skeins of geese, ducks and huge flocks of starlings in winter and in summer swallows, swifts and martins preyed on by hobbies on passage in spring and autumn.