Sightings can be Emailed to:
Marc, Martyn & Brendan
Marc Heath - Heathym007@aol.com
Number of species recorded in the valley this year so far = 113
Non Avian sightings
"Unexpected sunshine inticed me out to Grove for an hour or two this morning. In the blustery conditions small birds were difficult to see, but c20 Redwing zipped over, a couple of Cetti's called and all the usual suspects were hanging round the feeders. There was no sign of Water Pipits in the areas of cut reeds and only one Meadow Pipit! On the duck front there were c300 Teal, 26 Gadwall, 10+ Shoveler, 12 Tufted Duck, 8 Pochard, 3 Shelduck and a few Greylag I tried hard to ignore! Two Marsh Harrier 'bounced' the ducks a few times and flushed a couple of Snipe - distant Lapwing apart, the only waders to be seen with the water levels so high. A black clouds accompanied by very heavy squall threatened so I departed to avoid a soaking only to find it came out clear and sunny by the time I got back to Canterbury!"
I have not had many birding sessions this year where the rain or wind has not made life difficult. Today was no exception, I battled through the strong wind on the bike over to Grove after work and sheltered behind the screens on the ramp. I stayed until 4.45pm and observed the following: 5 Marsh Harrier, 27 Cormorant, 1 Cetti's Warbler, 3 Magpie, 6 Wigeon were present from the ramp with c60 seen flying around the Oxbow lake, 1 Grey Heron, 5 Shelduck, 3 Great crested Grebe with 2 putting on a good displaying session for me, 46 Shoveler, 24 Gadwall, 3 Snipe and 8 Greenfinch hanging on for their lives on the feeders. There was 1 Skylark, c150 teal, 2 Blue Tit, 3 Pintail including 1 drake, 3 Ring necked Parakeet were seen and heard above Grove hill, 1 Pheasant, 2 Greylag Geese, 2 Mute Swan, 1 Meadow Pipit, 1 Sparrowhawk made a diving visit to the feeders but left with no prey and a few groups of noisy Rooks and Jackdaws towards Stodmarsh.
Spent a few hours in the valley this morning before rain, or possibly boredom stopped play. The Tundra Bean Goose was still in its usual field with greylags. At Collard's I was able to locate 10 Goldeneye including 4 drakes, but there could have been more as some where close in and obscured by the trees. 54 Tufted Duck were present but number of dabbling duck have fallen right off with only 5 Wigeon left. Highlight was a Bittern which flew over the lake and off towards Westbere. This is only my third sighting of the winter and my first of the year. At Stodmarsh 14 Pintail were the highlight along with 28 Gadwall and 2 Tufted Duck. Not long now I hope before its time to stop counting ducks and do some proper birdwatching!
Owls recorded this morning between 4.35 & 5.37 were 4 Tawny and 3 Little Owls, whilst at the ramp the 5 Bewick's Swans were again on the right pool leaving at 6.20. There were 7 Marsh Harriers (4 males), 81 Mute Swans out, 24 Fieldfares, 22 Canada Geese and 3 Little Egrets. Also 2 Sparrowhawks displaying along the tree line above the houses, 1+ Great-spotted Woodpecker and 5 Pochards having a fly round. A Grey Wagtail flew west over the ramp at 7.50 and there were 6 Water Pipits, 17+ Meadow Pipits in the cut reed area just south of Baillon's pool and the 1st year male Hen Harrier flew east at 9.15 at Harrison's. There were 2 Long-tailed Tits, 5 Mistle Thrushes, 12 Song Thrushes, 4 Goldfinch, 2 Goldcrests and 13 Redwings as well as Blue & Great Tit on the feeders with several Reed Buntings, Chaffinch & Greenfinches and Collared Doves Magpies and Starlings for company. The Heavy rain mid morning meant that instead of much proper birding we spent a lot of time in Harrison's Hide discussing the merits of cameras, lenses, smaller telescopes and digital photography.
(Martyn, Marc, Alan & Steve with Mike Gould & John Cantelo)
Grove Ferry this morning and the 5 Bewick's Swans were on the right hand pool until leaving at 6.28. Also leaving early were 14 Barnacle Geese, 21 Canada Geese, 78 Mute Swans, 13 Bar-headed Geese and a Peregrine Falcon east at 6.38. There were 6 Pochards, 8 Tufted Ducks, 5 Shelducks, 6 Marsh Harriers and 3 Little Egrets. The newly cut reed areas had nothing but one Stonechat and Harrison's held nowt either but, Steve Ashton did have a Green Sandpiper there late morning, also a Coal Tit was near the White House. A walk around the whole circuit was pretty quiet except for a Bittern near Marsh Hide a further 2 Stonechats, a ringtail Hen Harrier (1st year male?) at Stodmarsh at 9.20 and an increase in Jays with eight recorded (7 together along the river). Also this morning were 2 Grey Herons, 134 Wigeon, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 12 Ruff and 2 Redshanks. The drake Green-winged x Eurasian Teal was again on the main pool, 12+ Cetti's Warblers were in song with a few on show, and there was 1 Kestrel and 77 Black-headed Gulls. At Collard's Lake Brendan had 14 Goldeneye (4 drakes), 5 Canada Geese, 53 Tufted Ducks, 10 Pochards and the Tundra Bean Goose still present with c300 Greylags.
(Martyn Wilson, Alan Ashdown, Brendan Ryan & Steve Ashton)
I had a late afternoon trip to Stodmarsh to catch the Harrier roost at dusk, and although conditions weren't ideal I did manage to count a minimum of 9 Marsh Harriers, mostly over the reed beds east of the Lampen Wall. No Hen Harriers this evening, but other birds seen were about 60 Fieldfares, 1 Snipe, 120+ Cormorants and as it got quite dark a Bittern was watched circling the reed beds west of the main lake, gaining height then flying strongly high over in the direction of Grove.
With the rain coming down quite heavy at times I was dropped off at Grove at 9.15am and collected somewhat soaked at 1.15pm. I paid visits to the ramp, the Green and Harrisons hide and most time spent in the rain looking for Pipits in the cleared areas. The following were logged: The highlight was 12 Water Pipits in the largest area of cleared reed along with c8 Meadow Pipits and a few Reed Buntings. I spent ages trying to get a decent image of these attractive birds but they spent most of their time always distant but allowed good scope views. Other birds: 2 Ruff, 2 Stonechat, 2 Sparrowhawk, 2 Skylark, 3 Marsh Harrier, 3 Shelduck, 1 Redwing, 1 Fieldfare, 1 Pied Wagtail, c140 Black headed Gull on the main pool early afternoon, 1 Redshank, 14 Snipe, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Jay, c70 Shoveler, 3 Blue Tit, 3 Collared Dove, 3 Cetti's Warbler, 7 Tufted Duck, 5 Pochard, 2 Bearded Tits, c200 Teal and c500 Lapwing.
With a few extra days off before I return back to school I made the most of getting out again to Grove. I arrived at 6.10am and made my way to the ramp. I stopped briefly to listen in the paddock for any Owls but soon become aware of a wader type noice heading towards me. As it was dark I saw no bird but heard a distinctive single shoo followed by a 'shoo shoo shooo' call, definetely not a Greenshank. I have not heard a call like this before and it puzzled me for most of the session, any ideas? I eventually left at 8.50am and had noted the following: The 5 Bewick's Swans left the main pool at 6.52am towards Sarre and were followed by 85 Mute Swans. The familiar calls of Bar headed Geese could be heard and I made a count of 20 as they left in the dark but I suspected that there were more judging by the amount of calling. Also seen: 5 Cetti's Warbler, 2 Robin, 2 Pheasant, 2 Snipe, 24 Shoveler, 4 Shelduck, 4 Pochard, 7 Greylag Geese and 3 Ruff. There were c30 Wigeon in flight over the oxbow lake and 8 Cormorant, 3 Marsh Harrier, 4 Fieldfare, 21 Gadwall, 1 Water Pipit, 5 Tufted Duck, 1 Green Woodpecker, 3 Water Rail, 2 Stonechat, 18 Meadow Pipit, 3 Skylark, 19 Golden Plover and 1 Sparrowhawk. The ramp held the usual Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Reed Bunting, Blue and Great Tits and there were c600 Lapwing and only c150 Teal. A few Bearded Tits were heard calling from the reedbeds but numbers remain low at the moment.
There was at least one Tawny Owl calling from below the houses at Grove Ferry this morning with, possibly a second further up river by the Oxbow. The 5 Bewick's Swans were again on the main pool, leaving at 6.45. There were 9 Marsh Harriers, with 6 in the air together looking towards Stodmarsh and 3 females together over the back pools. At least 4 males were seen. On the main pool were, 5 Pochards, a pair of Tufted Ducks, 5 Shelducks, 6 Wigeon and 5 Ruff. A Bittern was over Green Hide pool at 7.03 and 2 Little Egrets flew north at 7.08. Mute Swans leaving today numbered 75 and there were 190 Golden Plovers, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Green Woodpecker and a drumming Great-spotted Woodpecker. There was no sign of the Rock Pipit or any Water Pipits despite extensive searching and only 3 Meadow Pipits but there was 3 Stonechats and 2 Bearded Tits. Also today 1 Kingfisher, 1Yellowhammer and a Grey Heron. Geoff Burton had 7 Corn Buntings on the pathway to Marsh Hide.
(Martyn Wilson, Alan Ashdown, Steve Ashton & Mike Gould)
I did my usual run in the valley today in preparation for the Marathon, a 15 miler which took me from home into Fordwich, through Trenley Park woods, through the top of Stodmarsh village and through to Grove Ferry where I continued for some more miles before going home to nurse my blisters. However, with eyes and ears at the ready I noted the following late morning: There were good numbers of Blue, Great and Long tailed Tits evident throughout the valley, also 1 Great spotted Woodpecker, 1 Green Woodpecker, 1 Tawny Owl called at 10.33am as I ran through Trenley Park woods, a flock of c40 Redwing, 1 Linnet in song, 1 Goldcrest and a few Chaffinch.
Yesterday at Grove Ferry Marc found a Pipit species with the Water Pipits that he thought was to dark and more heavily steaked than the accompanying Water Pipits and may even be a Rock Pipit so, after many photographs and emails later and as the bird was still present this morning, It was comfirmed as a Rock Pipit. The second valley record after a putitive record from April 6th 1979 at Westbere.
Today started with Marc recording an impressive 10 Tawny Owls around the Valley this morning between 4.11 and 5.34 as well as 4 Little Owls, a pair dueting recorded on a mobile phone, between 4.37 and 5.42. The 5 Bewick's Swans were again on the main pool and left at 6.51 long before any of the 80 Mute Swans that followed. a Bittern had a fly round at 6.32 and there were at least 6 Marsh Harriers with five in the air together at one time. A Little Egret flew north at 6.55 and 14 Fieldfares and 4 Redwings past south over the ramp. Just south of Baillon's pool were the Aquatic Warbler was in 1999, on newly cut area of reeds, the Rock Pipit was still present as were 3+ Water Pipits, 2 Stonechats and several each of Reed Buntings and Meadow Pipits, Skylarks were noteable by many singing this morning. Other bits and bobs today included, 3 Redshanks, 2 Snipe, 5 Ruff, 2 Sparrowhawks and 2 Green Sandpipers. Two Bearded Tits, 2 Wigeon and 4+ Cetti's Warblers also of note. Dylan also added 16 Pintail on the main lake at Stodmarsh several flyover Wigeon and a fith Little Owl by the little boat house in Stodmarsh. Just after Geoff Burton left the ramp he saw three Buzzards together soaring north of the river.
(Martyn Wilson, Marc Heath, Dylan Wrathal, Brendan Ryan & Alan Ashdown)
This afternoon Tim and I met up at 4:30pm at Stodmarsh car park and on a lovely evening enjoyed watching the Harriers coming in to roost. Along the Lampen Wall we met Chris Cox and the three of us stayed until dark, finally leaving the village at around 6pm. Highlights were 1 Barn Owl, 1 Bittern, 2 ringtail Hen Harriers, 14 Marsh Harriers, 1 Woodcock, 120 Fieldfares, 5 Pintail, 170 Cormorants, plus many Water Rails and several singing Cetti's Warblers.
(Derek Smith, Chris Cox & Tim Hodge)
A Tawny owl and a Long eared Owl were heard at Grove Ferry at Dusk.
I arrived at Grove this morning at 6.30am and got out the car to the sounds of Robin's, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Dunnock and Wren. As I walked up the entrance track the Bewick's Swans could be heard and on arrival at the ramp the 5 birds were on the main pool, they didn't stay long and flew towards Sarre at 6.39am along with 74 Mute Swans. I stayed around until 9.45am and made visits to the Green hide, Harrisons hide and some time spent looking for Pipits in the newly cut reed bed. I was well rewarded with at least 4 Water Pipits on the opposite side to the Baillon's pool but I suspect more birds were present. c10 Meadow Pipits were also seen here along with a Pied Wagtail and 2 Stonechat. Other birds seen: 3 Cetti's Warbler, 1 Redwing, 1 Water Rail, 19 Shoveler, 7 Tufted Duck, 4 Pochard, 11 Greylag Geese, 10 Cormorant and 3 Fieldfare. There were 3 Marsh Harrier, 4 Skylark, 16 Ruff, 21 Canada Geese, 1 Green Woodpecker, 5 Redshank, 2 Shelduck, 1 Bearded Tit and the usual suspects from the ramp including Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Reed Bunting, Dunnock and Blue Tits.
I made my way over to Grove this morning at 6.15am in freezing conditions and a heavy frost on the ground. This morning was probably the first 'dawn chorus' of the year at Grove that I have heard. As I got out of the car a few Robins were singing, a Song Thrush and a Blackbird trying to out do each other and a Wren announcing itself. The Bewicks Swans could be heard along the entrance track but they did not leave the back pool at Grove until 7.10am this morning, 5 birds flying towards Sarre. Other birds: c10 Redwing out of roost, 3 Cetti's Warbler, 4 Water Rail heard, 1 Pheasant, 6 Pochard, 38 Cormorant, 79 Mute Swans towards Sarre, 1 Pied Wagtail and 2 Little Egrets North. There was 7 Marsh Harrier, 2 Grey Heron, 3 Redshank, 1 Green Sandpiper, 3 Shelduck, 18 Shoveler, 2 Linnet made a brief visit to the ramp along with 1 Yellowhammer, 7 Greenfinch, 3 Chaffinch, c10 Reed Bunting, 1 Blue Tit, 19 Black headed Gull present, 1 Green Woodpecker, 2 Skylark, 2 Stonechat, 6 Tufted Duck, 3 Meadow Pipit, 2 Great Tit, 1 Bearded Tit and 4 Collared Dove.
I thought christmas had come very early today when my wife asked if I wanted to go birding for a few hours while she went shopping with the girls. I was dropped off at Grove at 8.45am in glorious sunshine and made visits to the ramp a few times, the Green hide, Harrisons hide, the path leading to the Marsh hide and finally along the river towards Grove. The following were noted until 1.30pm: Despite constant searching I could not find any Jack Snipe in yesterday's place but 6 Common Snipe remained loyal to the area, also 7 Cetti's Warbler, 6 Redshank, 1 Pheasant, 2 sparrowhawk, 6 Ruff, 3 Green Sandpiper, c30 Reed Bunting, 12 Greenfinch, 2 Kestrel, 3 Stock Dove, 2 Great spotted Woodpecker's drumming, 3 Blue Tit, 6 Great Tit, 2 Jay, 3 Bullfinch, c60 Greylag Geese around the oxbow with 1 Little Egret. There was 2 Grey Heron, 1 Marsh Harrier, c2500 Lapwing, 2 Mute Swan, 5 Skylark, c600 Teal, I had brief views of the Green winged Teal x Eurasion Teal on the right hand side of the main pool again, this bird is not paired up and spends most of its time getting chased around by the other Teal. Also seen: 3 Yellowhammer, c20 Meadow Pipit, 8 Tufted Duck, 4 Pochard, 1 Ring necked Parakeet heard, 1 drake Wigeon from the Green hide, 1 Stonechat, c140 Golden Plover, 41 Shoveler, 7 Common Gull, c100 Black headed gull and a few Gadwall and Mallard present.
I arrived at Grove Ferry this morning at 9.45am in a strong wind and blustery showers, not ideal for birding but nonetheless I was just happy to be out. I spent most of my time at the ramp sheltering from the wind but I also visited the Green hide and Harrisons hide for a while before returning to the ramp and then off home at 3.30pm. The following were noted: The highlight of the day was the discovery of 2 Jack Snipe on the far bank of the right hand pool from the ramp. I was initially watching one 'bouncing' as it fed when another came into the same scope view. They continued to show on and off for most of the morning with 8 Common Snipe for company. Also seen was the drake Green winged Teal x Eurasion Teal that Martyn had seen yesterday but it did take many scans to finally connect with the bird. Also seen were 2 Marsh Harrier, 3 Shelduck, 1 Cetti's Warbler, 5 Redshank, 16 Greenfinch, 3 Collared Dove, 9 Ruff, 4 Wigeon, 8 Chaffinch, 262 Golden Plover, 4 Pochard, 10 Tufted Duck, 1 Dunlin, 3 Green Sandpiper and 1 Stonechat. There were 9 Common Gull present mid afternoon along with c80 Black headed Gull, 1 Stock Dove, 2 Goldfinch, c20 Reed Bunting, 2 Blue Tit, a couple of Bearded Tit heard, 2 Great Tit, c2000 Lapwing, c800 Teal and 1 Great spotted woodpecker calling as I left.
With a 13 mile training run to do today in preparation for the London Marathon I decided to run over to the valley from home, taking in the outskirts of Grove Ferry, Stodmarsh, the Collards area and eventually through to Fordwich and back home. Armed only with my ears, eyes, a memory for a notebook and plenty of water I managed to see or hear the following mid afternoon: Blue, Great and a couple of Groups of Long tailed Tits were the most numerous species seen with the occasional Robin in song to help me along my way, 3 Mistle Thrushes were seen along with 3 Redwing but not a single Fieldfare. I was somewhat surprised to hear a Little Owl call twice at 1.58pm at the bottom of the steep hill near Cow Corner and the usual corvids were busily feeding in the fields. On arrival at Fordwich I heard the familiar call of a Coal Tit, I stopped for a few seconds and the bird showed briefly in a lone pine before flying into gardens, nice to know that they are around in the valley. I left the valley in good spirits and made it home in good time.
At Grove Ferry this morning a Bittern landed in the small channel in front of the ramp at 6.37, swam across it at 6.54 and was still at the edge at 8.05. The 5 Bewicks' Swans were on the main pool until 7.00, leaving as per normal towards Pluck's Gutter, but no Mute Swans out today. There was a roosting Lesser Black-backed Gull, 29 Canada Geese 5 Marsh Harriers and a ringtail Hen Harrier east at 7.04. On and around the main pool were, 16 Greylag Geese, 2 Tufted Ducks, 12 Ruff, 2 Shelduck and 4 Redshanks. Four Little Egrets flew north over the oxbow at 7.09 and the green hide held 5 Pochards and 3 Tufted Ducks with 3 Shelducks west. Looking towards Stodmarsh, what looked like a pair of Marsh Harriers displaying was in fact a dark phase Common Buzzard being mobbed by a male Marsh Harrier. There were several Meadow Pipits and Skylarks near Harrison's with some Skylarks singing but there were no sign of any Yellowhammers today. There were 5 Cetti's Warblers, 1 Green Woodpecker, 8 Common Gulls, 62 Black-headed Gulls, 1 Kestrel and a drumming Great-spotted Woodpecker. Yesterday, hardly any Teal, today, 1047 on the main pool with some hidden in the reed fringes and more on the right pool. Amongst these Teal was a a fine drake Teal x Green-winged Teal and although not as prominent as a pure breed the thin vertical lines were well defined and the bird was easily picked out amongst the standard Eurasians. Also at Grove today were 5 Snipe, 2 Stonechats, 477 Golden Plovers, 1 Dunlin, 2 Green Sandpipers and 3800+ Lapwings.
Despite the sometimes heavy drizzle/rain this morning, Marc managed to record 2 Little Owls at 4.37 near Collard's and 2 Tawny Owls between 4.49 and 5.10, while I had a Barn Owl just outside the recording area at 5.58 along Nash road 200yards east of Preston road. On the reserve although they could be heard the 5 Bewick's Swans weren't seen until they flew out of a back pool at 7.09 followed closely by 39 Mute Swans. Three male Marsh Harriers were hunting over Grove Ferry while another 2 Marsh Harriers were over Stodmarsh. There were 4 Shelducks, 10 Fieldfares, 2 Redwings, 4 Dunlin, 4 Redshanks, 15 Ruff, 352 Golden Plovers and a Merlin at 7.20. The green hide didn't have much except 5 Pochard, 2 Tufted Ducks and a fly by Grey Heron. From Harrison's there was 1 Water Rail, 1 Stonechat, a male Sparrowhawk, 1 Green Woodpecker, a ringtail Hen Harrier south at 8.38, 1 Snipe, 11+ Yellowhammers and several Meadow Pipits. Back on the ramp a Bittern was in prolonged flight across the back pools at 9.25. There were c3000 Lapwings and a few Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Reed Buntings on the table and ramp itself. Teal numbers seem rather low but a good few Gadwall and Shoveller were about.
(Martyn Wilson & Marc Heath)
With heavy snow at school and no pupils to teach we were all sent home at 9.30am this morning. I decided to give Grove Ferry a go although it was still snowing quite heavily. I arrived around 10am, visited the frozen ramp and frozen Green hide and logged the following species: 2 Shelduck, c100 Teal visible but others probably on other pools, a few Gadwall and Mallard, 2 Bearded Tit, 2 Bullfinch along the entrance track, 1 Snipe, 8 Greenfinch, 10 Blue Tit including some seen in the Grove Picnic site area, 1 Skylark, 1 Cetti's Warbler, 5 Great Tit, 3 Long tailed Tit, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Green Woodpecker, 2 Goldfinch, 2 Song Thrush, 3 Robin and 2 Mute Swans.
I arrived at Grove this morning at 7.40am in literally freezing conditions. I made my way up to the ramp which was totally frozen over and birdless. When I eventually worked out my fingers were still working I noted the following from the ramp and Green hide until I departed at 10am: 2 Water Rail heard, 26 Mute Swan towards Sarre, 4 Collared Dove, 4 Cetti’s Warbler, 3 Marsh Harrier, 13 Greenfinch, 5 Chaffinch, 1 Blue Tit, 1 Great Tit, 18 Meadow Pipit, 2 Green Woodpecker, 8 Skylark, 1 Curlew heard, c800 Lapwing with only a few Shoveler, Teal, Gadwall and Mallard present from the Green hide. I met John Cantelo at the ramp on my return and soon after, John picked out a Bittern in flight and had already had 2 Bullfinches along the entrance path.
Birding at Grove late morning: 2+ Water Rail, 1000+ Lapwing, 2 Snipe, 1 Redshank, 1 Bittern, 2 Stonechat (halfway along the path to the marsh hide - also a couple near the mound, 9+ Yellowhamer, 5+ Corn Buntings & 15+ Reed Buntings (probably more Yellowhammer & Corn Bunts, but I was looking into the sun when most shot up & dispersed), c50 Meadow Pipits, 2+ Bearded Tits & 1 Green Woodpecker.
A Spotted Redshank and Ringed Plover were seen today at Grove Ferry.
Stodmarsh, evening raptor watch 16.30 onwards 8 Marsh Harrier 2 ring ail Hen Harrier, 1 Sparrowhawk , 3 of the Marsh Harriers were males various ages. Harriers roosted east of the wall. 500+ Fieldfare went to roost in trees, poplar? towards collards.
First stop this morning at 5.50 was the Industial Estate to look for Barn Owl, no such luck but there was a Grey Partridge sitting in the road lit up by my full beam. The 5 Bewick's Swans were again on the main pool at Grove Ferry until 3 left at 7.52 and the other 2 at 7.59, 84 Mute Swans had also departed by this time. Bird of the day was amongst the array of usual suspects on the ramp, and that being a male Brambling at the foot of the ramp with 4 Chaffinches. Also a feeding dispute between a Dunnock and a Reed Bunting on the table. Also at Grove today were, 7 Marsh Harriers, 3 Shelducks, 1 Kingfisher, 8 Ruff, 3 Redshanks, 1 Green Sandpiper, 201 Golden Plovers and c2800 Lapwings. There were, 6 Pochards, 3 Tufted Ducks, 3 Stonechats, 1 Water Pipit, 9 Yellowhammers, 3 Corn Buntings, 30+ Reed Buntings and 14 Skylarks. We heard a Green Woodpecker and 11 Fieldfares flew over the ramp while 3 Redwings were in the Oxbow bushes as were 3 Long-tailed Tits. We met up with Steve Ashton who had seen 3 Green Woodpeckers and 2 Great-spotted Woodpeckers along the river.
(Martyn Wilson & Alan Ashdown)
At Collard's there were 159 Tufted Duck, 8 Goldeneye and 7 Pintail , while at Stodmarsh there were 62 Pochard, 17 Tufted Duck and 5 Pintail.
I met Marc at the entrance gate at 6.00am after his usual early morning Owl excursion, logging 6 Tawny Owls between 5.00 & 5.52 as well as 3 Little Owls between 4.30 & 4.40. At Grove there were 5 Bewick's Swans on the main lake until 7.24 when, as usual, they headed off towards Pluck's Gutter followed shortly after by 47 Mure Swans. There were 8 Marsh Harriers (5 males), 7 Little Egrets, 8 Ruff, 2 Redshanks, 77 Golden Plovers and 4 Shelducks. Green hide had 5 Tufted Ducks and 6 Pochard plus a few each of Mallard, Gadwall and Teal. Not a lot to report from Harrison's except 2 Stonechats and a Green Sandpiper but, in the bushes behind Harrison's along the path to Marsh hide were, at least 3 Corn Buntings, 10+ Yellowhammers, 20+ Meadow Pipits, several Skylarks and Reed Buntings plus a few Redwing and Fieldfares. Two stock Doves were in courtship on the red tower by the "Little Owl Oak". Also 1 Green Woodpecker and 1 male Bullfinch were noted. Marc & Peter left at 10.00am so Alan and I drove to Fordwich to see if anything new could be found. Stopping at Hersden Industrial Estate to look for the much fabled Grey Partridge we, soon after stepping out of the car, flused 8 of the mythical beasts hoorah! Not much to report from Fordwich except 1 Jay, 12 Great-crested Grebes, 3 Snipe and 10 Grey Herons but, we did locate 3 Common Buzzards (2 light & 1 dark) moving south/west over Cow Corner/Trenleypark Wood being mobbed by corvids. A Little Owl was sitting on the fallen stump at Cow Corner but there was no sign of any Geese here or at Collard's. Back at Grove Ferry there were 217 Black-headed Gulls on the main pool, 1 Snipe and on the feeders were the usual Tits, Buntings, Robin etc, etc. There were a further 2 Stonechats along the path to the entrance gate.
(Martyn Wilson, Alan Ashdown, Marc Heath & Pete Solly)
I arrived at Hersden Industrial estate at 7.30am this morning and birded the area for an hour, the following birds were noted: 1 Redwing, 1 Green Woodpecker, 3 Great Tit, 1 Marsh Harrier, 8 Great crested Grebe, 2 Shelduck, 1 Cetti's Warbler, good numbers of Teal and Mallard, 57 Shoveler, 23 Gadwall, 4 Mute Swan, 25 Pochard, 3 Tufted Duck, 1 Grey Wagtail, 10 Cormorant, 3 Chaffinch, 1 Bullfinch, 16 Fieldfare, 1 Ring necked Parakeet heard, the Greylag Geese could be seen distantly in the field above Collards and as the light improved and with a full zoom on the scope the Tundra Bean Goose was picked out with 141 Greylags. As I made my way back to the car 2 Grey Partridge flew from the waste ground into nearby fields.
With the sun shining a brief visit was made to the ramp at Grove late afternoon. The following were seen: 3 Shelduck, 3 Redshank, 4+ Reed Bunting, 4 Blue Tit, 12 Greenfinch, 64 Golden Plover, 6 Ruff, 2 Meadow Pipit, 1 Great spotted Woodpecker on the feeders, 3 Skylark, 7 Shoveler, 3 Pied Wagtail, c191 Black headed Gull present. 5 Tufted Duck were present in the Green hide along with 6 Pochard, 18 Gadwall. Also seen or heard: 3 Cetti's Warbler, 2 Mute Swan, 1 Green Sandpiper, 3 Marsh Harrier, c300 Wood Pigeon, c1000 Lapwing and 1 Peregrine Falcon causing chaos on the main pool.
I had a walk from the car park to the Marsh hide over the fields towards Grove and back along the river to the Lampen Wall (1:30pm - 5pm) on a brilliant calm, sunny afternoon. Along with some friends we saw the usual selection of ducks on the main lake, 50+ Cormorants, about 7 Marsh Harriers, 1 Little Egret, 15 - 20 Yellowhammers, 5 Bullfinches, 3 Stonechats, 10 - 15 singing Cetti's, 1 Sparrowhawk, about 75 Fieldfares and a Jack Snipe we flushed along the path leading to the river.
A visit to Hersden Industrial estate to view Stodmarsh until dusk produced c150 Cormorant, 1 Grey Wagtail, 12 Pied Wagtail, c130 Fieldfare in trees gathering before flying East to roost, 7 Mute Swan, 22 Pochard, c60 Shoveler, 1 Redpoll over calling, 3 Great crested Grebe, 2 Shelduck, 2 Marsh Harrier, 2 Bullfinch heard, 32 Jackdaw West to roost, 2 Greylag Geese, 1 Goldcrest heard and good numbers of Teal and Mallard on the main lake.