Sightings can be Emailed to:
Marc Heath - Heathym007@aol.com
Grove Ferry river trips visit here.
Number of species seen so far this year = 144
I arrived at Grove Ferry this morning at 5.30am where I had a quick drive around the outskirts of Grove listening for a Grasshopper Warbler. Despite my ears working overtime I could not hear one so I drove back and parked up at Grove where Martyn had already arrived. I walked the whole circuit down to Stodmarsh with Phil Parker and met up with Martyn and Steve Ashton in the Marsh hide. The Marsh Harriers were putting on a good display with a few passing quite close showing what magnificent birds these are, the cameras soon came into play as a few shots were taken.
Martyn joined Phil and I where we continued our walk to Stodmarsh and back to Grove along the river. The undoubted highlight was when Martyn sprinted into action at 9.50am when he picked up a bird flying high over the river at the water meadows. We all eventually got on to it and realised after a few minutes that it was in fact a juvenile Rough legged Buzzard, a MEGA bird for the valley and a valley tick for Phil and I, Martyn having already seen one a few years back. We noted all the necessary features to clinch the id and a few distant shots were taken of the bird as it slowly drifted south at 10.05am, sometimes pausing in the wind as it held itself. The Buzzard then headed south over the main lake at Stodmarsh towards Undertrees Farm.
Other birds noted today included 6 Chiffchaff, 8 Whitethroat, 6 Marsh Harrier, 24 Greenshank, 5 Pochard, 9 Great crested Grebe, 7 Tufted Duck, 18 Greylag Geese, 2 Little Egret, 7 Cetti's Warbler, 1 Turtle Dove along the entrance track, 2 Shelduck, 2 Grey Heron and 2 Cuckoo. There were 5 Blackcap, 1 ring tail Hen Harrier flew south past Harrisons hide, also 1 Corn Bunting, 1 Green Woodpecker, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 4 Swallow, 2 Goldfinch, 2 Red legged Partridge, 2 Grey Partridge, 1 Yellowhammer, 16 Common Tern on the main lake at Stodmarsh, 2 Redshank, 1 Little ringed Plover was seen in flight from the Marsh hide. Other bits today were 1 Ruff, 2 Wood Sandpiper on the water meadows, 1 Green Sandpiper, 2 Common Sandpiper on the tern raft at Stodmarsh seen by Martyn and later Phil and I saw one in flight over the main lake, 3 Nightingale, 1 Bullfinch, 2 Willow Warbler, 1 Dunlin, 1 Swift, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Sparrowhawk, a few Sand Martin and good numbers of Sedge and Reed Warbler ended a very pleasant session.
Birds seen tis morning at Grove Ferry included 4 Wood Sandpiper still on the water meadows along the river and also noted was the first Common Sandpiper of the year too along with 1 Greenshank and 1 Ruff from the Marsh hide.
I had a few hours in the valley at various points of the day, both before and after work in nice sunshine but a chilly blustery breeze. I managed early on to walk the circuit and later in the day spent somer time watching the Hobbies hawking insects. A few good birds were noted including the first Whimbrel of the year which was seen circling and then landing in the field near the water meadows and the first 4 Swifts of the year which were seen flying over near the Marsh hide. Other birds noted were 3 Nightingale, 8 Whitethroat, 8 Cetti's Warbler, 5 Blackcap, 3 Jay, 6 Marsh Harrier, 2 Wood Sandpiper, 1 on the new diggings by the alder wood and another flew from the fishing ponds and joined the other bird. Also 2 Green Sandpiper, 20 Greylag Geese, 5 Common Tern, 3 Redshank, 2 Wigeon, 6 Shoveler, 6 Chiffchaff, 1 Cuckoo, 2 Shelduck, 14 Great crested Grebe, 3 Willow Warbler and 5 Tufted Duck. There was a splendid display of 17 Hobby between Grove and Stodmarsh but i'm sure many more were on the reserve, no doubt numbers will continue to rise in the next week or so. Other birds seen were 1 Green Woodpecker, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Garden Warbler and good numbers of Sedge and Reed Warblers singing.
I received a text this morning from Steve Ashton telling me that the Wood Sandpiper was still present on the new diggings at Stodmarsh and that he had seen a Barn Owl hunting in the area. I called down after work and walked up to the Marsh hide in sunny but breezy conditions. Birds noted were 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 1 Turtle Dove, good numbers of Sand Martin with a few Swallows and 1 House Martin in with them, 2 Cetti's Warbler, 1 Snipe, 4 Marsh Harrier, 5 Shoveler, 2 Redshank, 1 Wood Sandpiper still on the new diggings, 1 Green Sandpiper, 4 Hobby, 2 Wigeon and 4 Yellow Wagtail. There were 2 Little Egret, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Common Tern and good numbers of Reed and Sedge Warbler singing.
I saw my first Turtle Dove of the year today. It flew across the ramp towards the trees near the entrance track. Amongst other things I also saw 7 Hobby, several Blackcap, numerous Whitethroats, a Cetti's Warbler, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Redshank, 3 Chiffchaff and 4 Marsh Harrier.
I had a brief walk over to Stodmarsh tonight noting 2 Blackcap, 2 Long tailed Tit, 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Green Woodpecker, 1 Whitethroat, 2 Cuckoo, 3 Cetti's Warbler, 2 Water Rail, 2 Redshank, 2 Snipe, 2 Common Tern, 2 Shoveler, 5 Marsh Harrier, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Barn Owl, a few singing Reed and Sedge Warbler and 9 Great crested Grebe on the main lake.
This morning at Grove Ferry 3 Hobby were seen early on and later 2 Red legged Partridge were noted along with the first Wood Sandpiper of the year on the pools near the alder wood, along with a Little ringed Plover. Also noted was a hunting Barn Owl. A Honey Buzzard flew over the ramp at Grove.
The second Ring Ouzel of the week was seen this morning near Harrisons. Mark Chidwick capturing it nicely on camera.
A pair of Red legged Partridge were seen today near Stodmarsh, a new bird for the year and an increasingly scarce bird nowadays in the valley. Also the first Spotted Redshank was noted on the reserve.
With news yesterday of a couple of Grasshopper Warblers reeling I was out of the house early this morning just after 5am. I had a brief drive around the outskirts of Grove listening but nothing and after parking up at Grove and walking around in the growing light, I still failed to hear any reeling. I did however hear the booming Bittern which was a nice consolation. I walked the whole circuit again clockwise from Grove. A few bits of quality were seen including 4 Water Rail, 21 Cetti's Warbler, 4 Shelduck, 18 Greylag Geese, 6 Tufted Duck, 9 Chiffchaff, 2 Redshank, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 12 Mute Swan, 2 Green Woodpecker and 10 Whitethroat were in song around the reserve.
There were 6 Marsh Harrier, 1 Kestrel, 9 Jay including 6 together at the ramp, 1 Green Sandpiper, 2 Snipe, 1 Garden Warbler, 3 Blackcap, 1 Great spotted Woodpecker, 3 Nightingale, 1 Common Tern on the main lake at Stodmarsh and the first Turtle Dove of the year flew down the Lampern Wall towards the alder wood. I thought I heard a Greenshank but it was distant so didn't count it but later on at Westbere I heard a call and looked up to see the first Greenshank of the year flying towards Stodmarsh. Other birds recorded were 10 Great crested Grebe, 6 Bullfinch, 3 Willow Warbler, 1 Kingfisher, 2 Wigeon and 1 rare Bearded Tit.
After dropping the car off at the garage I called into Westbere for an hour noting 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 1 Swallow, 19 Greylag Geese, 3 Canada Geese, 1 Greenshank, 3 Grey Heron, 1 Great spotted Woodpecker, 2 Whitethroat, 3 Cetti's Warbler, 2 Marsh Harrier and 1 Nightingale.
I was dropped over at Grove Ferry this morning at 10am where I did the whole circuit for 5 hours in lovely warm sunshine. The weather looked good for a few raptors and I hoped for a few year ticks. Birds noted were 18 Cetti's Warbler, 9 Chiffchaff, 5 Marsh Harrier, 44 Greylag Geese, 1 Cuckoo called as I walked up the entrance track. Also 6 Sedge Warbler, 4 Sparrowhawk, 3 Willow Warbler, 4 Blackcap, 10 Whitethroat, 3 Nightingale, 13 Reed Warbler, 1 Great spotted Woodpecker and 2 Green Woodpecker.
There was 1 Common Buzzard soaring over the river at Grove, 2 Grey Heron, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Tufted Duck, 4 Swallow, 1 Little ringed Plover was on the water meadow, 10 Great crested Grebe on the lake at Stodmarsh, 1 Jay and 1 Garden Warbler seen singing near the car park at Stodmarsh. I met Julie childs who had seen the first 2 Common Tern of the year on the main lake at Stodmarsh but when I arrived they were nowhere to be seen. I walked up to Collards and no sign there either so perhaps they had flown to Westbere. As I neared the Marsh hide 1 Green Sandpiper was seen and a welcome sight in the first 2 Hobby of the year which performed well near the hide. A few shots were fired off and no doubt lots more to come in the next few weeks.
Other bits noted were 4 Kestrel, 2 Redshank, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 1 ring tail Hen Harrier was seen from the Marsh hide, 1 Snipe, 11 Sand Martin, 2 Skylark, 2 Wigeon and 3 Shelduck. Before I left I walked from the ramp out towards the river and checked the paddock and with luck I found a female Ring Ouzel which showed well briefly, a first for the year and always a good valley bird to get. A very enjoyable session and hopefully the start of good things to come.
Just to report that I visited Stodmarsh on Sunday 17 April from 7 – 11.30 am. Highlights included hearing a Cuckoo which called several times at around 7.45, but was not heard again after this. Two Bullfinches were seen between Basil Christie’s bench and the river. And as I was leaving at about 11.20, a male Hen Harrier flew over Stodmarsh car park.
Birds new for the year today included Cuckoo and Garden Warbler at Stodmarsh.
I received a text from Steve Ashton today alerting me to the first 3 Garganey (2 drakes) of the year at Grove Ferry, seen from the Marsh hide. Jamie Medford also recorded the First Grasshopper Warbler of the year at Grove Ferry.
With clear skies and no wind I was eager to get out early and so left home at the ridiculous time of 4.30am! I spent and hour driving around some of the outskirts of the valley and recorded the following: 4 Nightingale, 3 Water Rail, 4 Cetti's Warbler, 1 Redshank, 1 Skylark, 1 Grey Partridge calling above Stodmarsh village, 1 Snipe, 1 Bittern Booming at 5.08am in the Stodmarsh area, 5 Tawny Owl, 1 Little Owl, Greylag and Canada Geese could be heard calling, 3 Goldcrest, 4 Green Woodpecker and 7 Blackcap. As daylight broke I ventured down to Stodmarsh to see if the Wood Warbler was still around and on reaching the alder wood the Wood Warbler could be heard singing and showing occasionally but most views this morning were either high up in the canopy or fleeting views in the trees.
Pleased to see it again I then drove over to Grove Ferry where I walked down to the White house and had a look in the hides. Birds noted were 1 Whitethroat, 2 Great spotted Woodpecker, 3 Reed Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, 1 Lesser Whitethroat singing along the entrance track, a year tick for me, 7 Linnet, 1 Sparrowhawk, 4 Cetti's Warbler, 2 Great crested Grebe, 2 Water Rail, 3 Marsh Harrier, 3 Swallow, 1 Green Sandpiper and 11 Tufted Duck.
There were 2 Bearded Tit, 7 Greylag Geese, 4 Skylark, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Grey Heron, plenty of Sedge Warbler singing around the reserve and 1 ring tail Hen Harrier flew east over Harrisons.
I did not wake up as early as I wanted to this morning and after finally getting ready I left the house at 5.15am. I drove over to Grove Ferry where I had a drive around the area listening for any hooting, booming and reeling, all of which drew a blank although I did see 1 Little Owl at Cow Corner. I then drove back over to Grove and met Chidders at the entrance where we walked the complete circuit down to Stodmarsh and back in sunny but breezy conditions. The highlight was seeing mine and Chidders first Wood Warbler in the Stour Valley which performed well near the main bridge at the beginning of the Alder wood at Stodmarsh, a MEGA for the Valley. The bird was singing regularly and showed well on and off to the both of us but spent alot of its time high in the canopy but a few shots were taken. Other birds noted today were 5 Yellow Wagtail, 4 Shelduck, 18 Cetti's Warbler, 2 Wheatear, 1 behind Harrisons and 1 on the approach road to Stodmarsh, 5 Marsh Harrier, 14 Mute Swan, 4 Tufted Duck, 2 Water Rail, 6 Greylag Geese, 2 ring tail Hen Harrier flew east out of the reserve almost together, 3 Common Whitethroat and 2 Nightingale. There were 4 Bullfinch, 11 Chiffchaff, 10 Sedge Warbler, 2 Reed Warbler, 4 Skylark, 1 Grey Heron, 8 Blackcap, 4 Pheasant, 2 Green Woodpecker, 3 Jay, 2 Great spotted Woodpecker, 3 Swallow, 1 singing Yellowhammer, 4 Snipe and 1 Redshank. Other birds noted included 1 Green Sandpiper, 4 Great crested Grebe, 3 Sand Martin, 1 Treecreeper and a handful of Shoveler, Teal and Gadwall.
I received a text from Chris Hindle today letting me know of a singing Lesser Whitethroat along the entrance track at Grove Ferry, a first for the year.
10 x 50 Binoculars found at Stodmarsh Nature Reserve this morning. They had been left in the shelter next to the toilet block in the Stodmarsh car park. They are a budget pair of 10 X 50 binoculars, with no manufacturers name on them, just 10 x 50 0n one side and BAK-4 long eye relief (LE) 114m/1000m stamped on the other side. The strap has the name "Rocktrail" on it. Any one that has lost these gems and would like them returned, contact me at email@example.com or Marc Heath on Heathym007@aol.com
The Easter Holidays are here! School finished early today so with the sun beaming down and warm temperatures I cycled down to Westbere Lakes in the hope of some raptors at 1.45pm. Birds noted whilst walking up to the river included 5 Blackcap, 7 Chiffchaff, 2 Long tailed Tit, 1 Willow Warbler, 2 Green Woodpecker and 1 Great spotted Woodpecker. I reached the river where there is a good view of the surrounding area and began scanning immediately picking out a distant raptor getting mobbed by a Crow. It slowly moved nearer revealing it was a Red Kite, a year tick. The Kite slowly drifted west at some range but was still a good view through the bins. Also seen whilst scanning were 4 Common Buzzard, 1 Sparrowhawk and 1 Marsh Harrier. Other bits noted were 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Sedge and 1 Reed Warbler and 1 Brambling. On the butterfly front there were lots of Orange Tips and a few Peacock with 1 Comma seen.
A morning saunter around the circuit in surprisingly warm sunshine racked up nothing out of the ordinary, but was none the less most pleasant. There were at least 27 Chiffchaffs (a sharp increase on Sunday’s figures) and a single Willow Warbler whilst Cetti’s Warbler, Sedge Warbler and Blackcap all drew with of 13 each. The Marsh Harriers were very showy being in full sky dance mode, but a ringtail Hen Harrier nearly slipped through unnoticed. A Green Sandpiper lurked in the margins, but I missed a couple of Little Ringed Plover that were evidently about somewhere. Like the harriers, both Lapwing and Redshank were getting down to some serious nuptials. A single Swallow darted through hugging the reed tops. In the duck line Teal, Gadwall, Pintail and Shoveler were all present.
With a forecast day of lovely sunshine and warm temperatures I made 3 visits into the valley today, Grove Ferry before and after work and a brief look at Westbere in my lunchtime. A few good birds of note made the notebook including the the first 4 Wheatears of the year in fields behind Harrisons Drove hide. Luckily I managed to walk around and get better views and a few nice shots.
On the way back from here 1 Little ringed Plover flew west down the river. Other birds noted this morning were 5 Chiffchaff, 5 Cetti's Warbler, 1 Green Woodpecker, 1 Sand Martin, 4 Skylark, 7 Sedge Warbler singing, 3 Marsh Harrier, 1 Grey Heron and 1 Reed Warbler. There were 10 Mute Swan, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Sparrowhawk, 3 Reed Bunting, 5 Greylag Geese, 2 Swallow, 1 Meadow Pipit, 1 Willow Warbler singing and 1 Siskin.
I managed to have a walk at Westbere at lunchtime in the sun and noted 6 Blackcap, 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Jay, 1 Brambling singing and showing well, 5 Common Buzzard, 9 Great crested Grebe, 1 Reed Warbler, 1 Cetti's Warbler, 2 Marsh Harrier, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Bullfinch, 2 Swallow and 1 Sparrowhawk.
Still wanting more I had an hour at Grove Ferry after work meeting Mark Chidwick where we had a wander. 1 Wheatear was still in place and other bits noted were 2 Marsh Harrier, 2 Swallow, a few singing Sedge Warbler and Chiffchaff and the usual Teal, Gadwall and Shoveler present. As we wandered back 1 Common Buzzard flew towards Stodmarsh.
The weather was anything but nice as I made a visit to Grove Ferry after work, the wind howling and a few heavy showers every now and then. I made visits to the ramp, Feast, Harrisons and the Marsh hide. Not alot predictably was seen although sometimes this weather grounds a few good things but not today. Birds noted were 3 Tufted Duck, 2 Chiffchaff, 4 Cetti's Warbler, 5 Shelduck, 1 Pochard, 10 Cormorant, 1 Skylark, 10 Greylag Geese, 4 Marsh Harrier, 1 Ruff, 4 Swallow, 5 Pheasant, 2 Reed Warbler, 1 from the Marshhide and 1 from the Feast hide, a year tick for me. Also noted were 1 Kestrel, 1 Green Woodpecker, 7 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Bearded Tit, 1 Redshank, 1 Water Rail, 5 Mute Swan, 3 Meadow Pipit and 1 Water Pipit.
Visited Reedbed then Marsh Hides in the rain, 9.45 to 11.45am. 5 Swallow, 1 House Martin passed through up river. Songsters included 3+ Sedge Warbler, 1 Reed Warbler (from Marsh Hide), 2+ Willow Warbler, several Cetti's, Blackcap and Chiffchaff. Also heard 1 Yellow Wagtail, a couple of Water Rail and a Bearded Tit. 8+ Marsh Harriers provided most of the entertainment and a perched male Sparrowhawk was a cracker.
With the sun shining as I cycled to school this morning I called in to Westbere Lakes which is only a 5 minute ride from work. I spent 45 minutes walking around looking to see if anything new had dropped in. I encountered the first of 6 Brambling straight away as 4 were seen feeding in the trees and calling regularly with another 2 seen a little later. The highlight this morning was my first Willow Warbler of the year which was singing near the lake and eventually showed quite well. Also noted were 5 Chiffchaff, 3 Jay, 2 Blackcap, 1 Swallow, 8 Greylag Geese, 6 Canada Geese, 10 Great crested Grebe, 1 Lesser Redpoll, 1 Great spotted Woodpecker, 1 Green Woodpecker, 3 Long tailed Tit and 1 Grey Heron. I spent some time watching 2 Treecreeper displaying and attempted a few shots without much success. I then made another visit into the valley, this time to Grove Ferry at lunchtime where I spent 30 minutes at the ramp scanning for raptors. A few bits were noted including 1 Common Buzzard, 1 Peregrine, 1 Sparrowhawk, 4 Marsh Harrier, 19 Black headed Gull, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap, 1 Sedge Warbler singing at the base of the ramp, 2 Cetti's Warbler, 3 Grey Heron, 2 Shelduck, 1 Water Rail and 1 Skylark. With the Easter holidays around the corner hopefully a few good birds will turn up.
As the pages have not been updated for a while I made the effort to get out tonight to see what could be found at Grove Ferry. We have now entered the time of 'anything might turn up' and no doubt soon the valley will deliver something special! I arrived at 6pm and birded the Grove end, looking at the ramp and the pools near Harrisons which look excellent at the moment for a duck or wader. Birds noted were 2 Shelduck, 1 drake Pintail, 3 Chiffchaff, 3 Cetti's Warbler, 4 Wigeon, 4 Snipe, 3 Lesser black backed Gulls were bathing from the main pool, c15 Shoveler, 8 Tufted Duck, 13 Gadwall, 20 Mute Swan, 33 Sand Martin were feeding over the various pool along with 6 Swallow and 1 Grey Heron was at Harrisons. It was nice to add Yellow Wagtail to my year list as one flew over calling, also 1 Green Sandpiper, 3 Marsh Harrier, 8 Greylag Geese, 1 Ruff, another year tick for me, 1 Barn Owl was hunting distantly between Harrisons and Stodmarsh, 2 Green Woodpecker, 1 Skylark, 1 Water Rail, 1 Kestrel and as I made my way back past the Feast hide I was treated to the sound of a singing Sedge Warbler, another year tick which ended a pleasant session. I will endeavour to make a few visits in the week and get the site up and running again.
New also for the year today were House Martin, Reed Warbler, Yellow Wagtail and an early Nightingale.
I visited the Stour Valley and walked the loop from Grove along the river to Stodmarsh and back via the Marsh hide, beginning at 11.30am. It was fairly quiet, though there were two singing Blackcaps at the Grove end of the river walk, a good number of singing Chiffchaffs all around the walk, and many Cetti’s (two seen chasing each other). No other birds of note, though outside the Feast hide there was a male Marsh Harrier doing some impressive aerobatics. (I noted two pairs of Marsh Harriers, one at either end of the valley, though I’m sure there are more!)
At Grove Ferry 1 Brambling, 1 Blackcap in trees by entrance and 2 Swallows over.