Sightings can be Emailed to:
Martyn Wilson - email@example.com
Marc Heath - Heathym007@aol.com
Grove Ferry river trips visit here.
Number of species seen so far this year = 102
I was out of the door early this morning at 5.15am driving over to the Stour Valley to try to get some Owls for my year list. After a drive around I was rewarded with 3 calling Little Owls and 3 Tawny Owls. I then moved on to Grove Ferry via the Partridge hotspot where I heard 1 Grey Partridge, an increasingly scarce bird nowadays in the valley. I then moved on to Grove Ferry where I birded the ramp, Feast and Harrisons hide area until 8.15am. Birds noted were 2 Skylark, 2 Cetti's Warbler, 13 Greylag Geese, 2 Shelduck, 6 Marsh Harrier, 5 Dunlin from the ramp, 4 Reed Bunting, 3 Water Rail, 13 Corn Bunting, 35 Mute Swan left with 1 Black Swan and 90 Cormorant flew towards the coast. There were 76 Linnet, 1 Barn Owl hunting behind Harrisons, 1 Green Woodpecker, 2 Pochard, 3 Water Pipit, 1 Redshank, 1 Golden Plover, 1 ring tail Hen Harrier flew east out of the reserve, 1 Bearded Tit, 1 Grey Heron, c400 Lapwing, 1 Tufted Duck and c100 Teal.
We started our walk at Westbere Lake and within the first few minutes, we saw a Bittern flying and then landing in the reeds on the side of the lake nearest the railway. Generally numbers of ducks were well down with the following totals for the area: 21 Mallard , 10 Pochard, 24 Tufted Duck and only 2 Gadwall. There were 24 Great Crested Grebes, including several displaying pairs. Scanning the area across the river produced 16 Canada Geese and at least 60 – 70 Greylag Geese, although these were difficult to count as they were constantly on the move. A gathering of 10 Grey Herons were standing quite close together and whilst looking at these, we noticed a large white bird in one of the ditches. Initially dismissing it as a Little Egret, on closer inspection we realised that it was actually a Great White Egret and it continued to give good views for about 20 minutes, although always moving up the line of the ditch and away from us. After a couple of texts to let people know, we carried on with our walk, but unfortunately the bird seems to have moved away before anyone else could see it. A couple of photos were taken as a record of the sighting and hopefully it will be found again in the area. The only other things of particular note were several groups of Siskins high in the alder trees and a pair of Stonechat in the fields across the river, plus the usual Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Marsh Harriers etc.
(Sue Morton and Pauline McKenzie Lloyd)
After a call from Sue I had a cycle down there at lunchtime but despite a 20 minute look in the ditches in the area I could not locate the Egret. For compensation I did see 2 Marsh Harrier, 10 Grey Heron, 100+ Greylag Geese, 10+ Canada Geese and 1 Bullfinch.
With most of the day spent in sunshine and blue skies, I ventured over to Grove Ferry after work at 3.30pm to see if anything new had dropped in. I spent a few hours wandering to the Feast and Harrisons hide and a good look from the ramp. Although a little chilly with a stiff breeze it was nice to see blue skies and a few passing distant Marsh Harriers shots were gladly taken in the conditions. Birds noted this afternoon were 3 Pintail from the ramp, 2 Redshank, c300 Teal, c32 Lapwing, 5 Pochard, 4 Tufted Duck, 1 Little Egret, 2 Water Rail, 1 Great spotted Woodpecker, 7 Marsh Harrier passed through to Stodmarsh, 2 Stonechat were year ticks for me and 1 ring tail Hen Harrier was hunting behind Harrisons hide. There were 2 Wigeon, 1 Bittern flew up from the reeds near Harrisons and flew towards the Feast hide, the colours showing up well in the afternoon sunshine, c80 Linnet flying around prior to roost, a good count for this time of year, 1 Pheasant, 1 Green Woodpecker, 20 Cormorant, 7 Greylag Geese, 37 Fieldfare, 3 Cetti's Warbler, 4 Reed Bunting, 26 Corn Bunting, 4 Mute Swan and 2 Goldcrest along the entrance track as I left the reserve.
With a day full of constant blue sky and sunshine I was itching to get out birding after work and so paid a visit to Grove Ferry to see what could be had. With the camera in hand I made my way to the ramp noting 2 Great spotted Woodpeckers. The ramp looked good in the sunshine with c400 Lapwing and c250 Teal. Also 2 Pintail here, 2 Shelduck, 1 Wigeon with another from the Feast hide, 13 Mute Swan flew over and a few Reed Bunting called. I then went on to the Feast hide which was rather quiet except the usual Teal, Mallard, Gadwall, 1 Grey Heron and 1 Pochard. With a few shots obtained I went back up to the ramp and scanned for an Owl in the Harrisons hide area. I was in luck as 1 was hunting distantly but from time to time made its way nearer to the pathways. I don't think I have taken a Barn Owl shot in the Valley so decided to go to Harrisons to see if I could get better views and maybe a shot or two. There are some birds that I can watch for hours and a Barn Owl hunting in the sunlight is hard to beat in my book. I had cracking views through binoculars and with time the Owl came a bit nearer allowing me a few shots, although not as near as I would have liked!! I spent some time just watching this great bird hunting and whilst following it, another Barn Owl appeared in the background. 2 Barn Owls together hunting, I left the Owls to hunt and went back up to the ramp. Other bits seen were 6 Marsh Harrier, 3 Little Egret, 1 Green Woodpecker, 1 Bearded Tit, 4 Cetti's Warbler, 3 Canada Geese, a year tick, 1 Water Rail, c80 Fieldfare, 46 Corn Bunting into roost, 22 Linnet, 1 Redshank and 19 Greylag Geese. There were 3 Golden Plover, 1 ring tail Hen Harrier hunting over Grove for a while, 1 Peregrine spooked everything over the main pool, another year tick, 3 Snipe, 2 Water Pipit, 4 Meadow Pipit, surprisingly another year tick for me and 2 Mistle Thrush near the car park as I left the reserve.
2 Woodcock in flight over the ramp at Grove Ferry at dusk Monday 7th Feb.
During a very breezy 90 minute walk starting Stodmarsh Sunday morning, we saw a Bittern in flight over the reeds, 10 minutes from the Tower Hide. The first one I have seen in 58 years of birdwatching !
I received this very nice email today, nice to see its being looked at from abroad.
Just a quick note from Extremadura in Spain to say how much my son and I enjoy reading the Stodders reports and photos. I was assistant warden there for a couple of years when Dave Painter was warden and David Feast assistant warden and it's really great to be able to keep up with events there from over here. In my day the reserve wasn't nearly so productive because the turf fields still existed and the northern scrapes hadn't been made.
(Dave Langlois and Samuel Langlois)
With the sun shining for most of the day I did not get over to Grove Ferry until 3.45pm. The sun was still doing its thing but was soon getting weaker but nonetheless, at least I didn't get wet. I had a brief visit to the Feast hide with the rest of the time spent looking from the ramp. Birds noted were 6 Pochard, 2 Tufted Duck, 3 Little Egret, 4 Marsh Harrier, 1 Shelduck, c250 Teal, c55 Cormorant, 3 Cetti's Warbler, 6 Mute Swan, c300 Fieldfare, c20 Linnet going to roost, c400 Lapwing and 22 Corn Bunting. There were 25 Greylag Geese, 1 Golden Plover, 1 Redshank, 5 Water Pipit, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Great spotted Woodpecker, 1 Kestrel and a few Gadwall and Mallard noted.
Another dull misty morning spent at Grove Ferry before work, arriving at 7.20am where I spent 40 minutes at the ramp looking for any avian delights. A good number of species can be regulary seen from the ramp with the following birds of note seen today: 64 Mute Swan, 4 Cetti's Warbler, 1 Water Rail, 7 Long tailed Tits along the entrance track, 2 Water Pipit, 33 Linnet, 11 Marsh Harrier left the reserve, 6 Bewick's Swans including 5 adults appeared from the back pool and after circling Grove flew off to the south east. There were 11 Greylag Geese, 6 Cormorant, 4 Corn Bunting, 353 Lapwing, 1 Little Egret, 1 Snipe, 1 Green Woodpecker, 1 Pheasant, 1 Jay, 4 Goldfinch, 12 Golden Plover, 1 Grey Heron, c350 Teal, 3 Pochard and 2 Reed Bunting.
I made a couple of visits into the valley today to get the February list underway. I arrived at the ramp at 7.20am and spent 40 minutes scanning the area. 2 Bullfinch called as I walked down the entrance track and the first of 3 Robins was happily in song. Other birds noted this morning were 105 Mute Swan with 97 on the main pool, 55 Linnet, c60 Teal, c160 Lapwing, 2 Shelduck, 5 Fieldfare, 2 Cetti's Warbler, 1 Water Pipit, 1 Kestrel, 3 Greenfinch, 2 Green Woodpecker and 1 Grey Heron. There were 22 Golden Plover, 5 Marsh Harrier, 4 Wigeon, 1 Barn Owl hunted distantly behind Harrisons and 3 Long tailed Tit. A return visit after work in drizzly rain produced a few more species including 5 Pochard, 3 Tufted Duck, 31 Corn Bunting into roost, c46 Golden Plover, 1 ring tail Hen Harrier towards Stodmarsh, 1 Jay, 1 Great spotted Woodpecker, 1 Mistle Thrush and 4 Redwing. 9 Marsh Harrier past through to roost, also 2 Water Pipit, 51 Greylag Geese, 2 Cetti's Warbler and c300 Fieldfare going to roost. I managed to see or hear 53 species in a few hours birding. Hopefully the weather will turn for the better soon.