Sightings can be Emailed to:
Marc, Martyn & Brendan
Marc Heath - Heathym007@aol.com
Number of species recorded in the valley this year so far = 118
Non Avian sightings
At Grove Ferry today were, a calling Tawny Owl near the paddocks at 5.50, 15 Cetti's Warblers, 3 Water Rails, 7 Marsh harriers, 8 Shelducks, 10 Tufted Ducks and a drake Ruddy duck. There were, 7 Linnets, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 12 Chiffchaffs, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Pied Wagtail, 6 Long-tailed Tits and 7 Wigeon. Also there were, 5 Grey Herons, 2 Redshanks, 9 Lapwings, 5 Meadow Pipits, 2 Bullfinches, 3 Jays, 3 Great-crested Grebes and a Great-spotted Woodpecker. At the marsh hide were, 2 female Pintails and a male Sparrowhawk flew over as we moved on, with a large female at harrison's hide as well as a summer plumaged Water Pipit. A Common Buzzard flew east over the houses on the hill and a multitude of Wrens were in song. Plenty of Blue and Great Tits abound plus a Yellowhammer in the paddock. There were 2 pairs of Stock Doves, 6 Reed Buntings several singing Skylarks and 3 Sand Matins flew down river, over the paddock and over Grove Ferry car park.
(Martyn Wilson, Marc Heath, Alan Ashdown & Steve Ashton)
A drake Garganey was on the Oxbow at 11.10
(as per RBA pager)
Not much but 1 Common Buzzard north @ 13.37 over the reserve at Grove.
With news yesterday of a few migrants being seen further up the valley I decided to call into Westbere lakes before work to see if any had made it there. Arriving at 7.40am I spent 30 minutes walking mainly around the entrance paths, the following seen: There was no sound of any Blackcaps but 3 Chiffchaff were in competition with each other, also 4 Cetti's Warbler, 3 Blue Tit, 4 Great spotted Woodpecker, 8 Greylag Geese, 3 Canada Geese, 2 Mute Swan, 1 Tufted Duck and 6 Great crested Grebe.
I made a visit to Grove after school on the bike. I arrived at 3.30pm and spent an hour at the ramp in glorious sunshine before making the trek home. The following birds were noted: The highlight of the visit was my first Sand Martin of the year which flew West towards Stodmarsh calling at 4.14pm, also: c40 Shoveler, 1 drake Ruddy Duck, 2 Skylark, 4 Tufted Duck, 6 Shelduck, 1 Little Egret, 1 Marsh Harrier and 4 Mute Swan. There was 2 Pochard, 1 Green Woodpecker, 2 Cetti's Warbler, 4 Linnet towards the paddock, 1 Meadow Pipit, 1 female Sparrowhawk distantly over Stodmarsh, 1 Chiffchaff and as I left for home 1 Ring necked Parakeet was heard.
With a clear blue sky and mild temperatures I called in at Stodmarsh at lunchtime in the hope of connecting with a few migrants. Sand Martin and Blackcap have so far eluded all of us, I walked up the Lampern Wall as far as the river and noted the following: Despite constant scanning of the skies I did not see any Hirundines or hear the hoped for Blackcap but 3 Chiffchaff were in fine song around the reserve, also: 3 Blue Tit, 7 Cetti's Warbler, 2 Bullfinch, 1 Pheasant, 2 Water Rail, 8 Long tailed Tit, 4 Marsh Harrier and 3 Canada Geese on the main lake. There was 4 Great Tit, 8 Tufted Duck, 1 Green Woodpecker, c20 Shoveler, 2 Great crested Grebe, 3 Shelduck, 1 Redshank, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 5 Mute Swan and a few Teal and Mallard on the edges of the lake. Hopefully in the next few days Swallow, Sand Martin, Blackcap and Litte ringed Plover will turn up, they all appeared in 2006 before the month ended.
Knowing that Martyn and the boys will have had the Grove end well covered, I decided to concentrate on the west end of the valley, working through Trenley Park to Fordwich, Westbere, Hersden, Collards and finally Stodmarsh. I recorded an aggregate total of 55 Gt-cr Grebes, including 28 at Westbere and 76 Tufted Ducks including 44 at Collards. There were 8 Goldeneye at Collard's including 3 drakes. Apart from a single wigeon at Collard's, a Little Egret at Stodmarsh and 4 singing Chiffchaffs at Westbere there wasn't a lot else to report.
Yet again another almost reportless day, the best bird by far being a first summer male Hen Harrier giving chase to a group of 12 Snipe at 7.10 this morning. Otherwise extremely quiet with no migrants as yet. This date last year we recordred our first Sand Martins and had already bagged Avocet and Grey Plover, is it because the water levels are so high? or maybe that no suitable habitat, ie, mud! and shallow banks are available. Although we did locate 1 Ruff on the Water Meadows. With such an absence of avian booty it all desended into the "Grove Camera Group" best setup discusion again, albiet on the ramp instead of restricted in a hide. For those interested in sightings, this is todays log:- 4 Marsh Harriers, 7 Cetti's Warblers, 28 Wigeon, 21 Tufted Ducks, 6 Shelducks and 4 Little Egrets. The afore mentioned Hen Harrier giving excellent views, 12 snipe, well over 100 Shovellers, 5 Jays, 1 Ruff, 5+ Water Rails and 1 Green Woodpecker. Two Long-tailed Tits were in courtship display by the White House and there were 2 Linnets, 4 Chiffchaffs, 2 Great-spotted Woodpeckers, 1 Ring-necked Parakeet, a Mistle Thrush and a lone Kestrel. Steve also added male Sparrowhawk and female Bullfinch along the river near the Oxbow. Other bits included, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Reed Buntings, Meadow Pipits, several singing Skylarks and Blue and Great Tits. It would seem the only place to see House Sparrow on the reserve is the White House!! Also spotted today was Marc Heath running around the boundaries of the reserve in preperation for his London Marathon, in April.
(Martyn Wilson, Alan Ashdown, John Cantelo, Mike Gould & Steve Ashton)
Hardly worth a report today, Marc recporded the first Tawny Owl at 3.39 and, Alan and I left at 11.00 with not a great deal in the note book. With a rather cold Northerly wind, lots of water and no mud or shallow edges, waders were non existent except a couple of Lapwings. Noted today then were:- 3 Tawny Owls and 4 Little Owls between 3.39 and 4.32 and a Barn Owl near the White House at 5.50 (on the way in). We walked the complete circuit counter-clockwise hoping to locate the Garganey from last week or the odd Little-ringed Plover or Yellow Wagtail on the Oxbow or Water Meadows, we drew a blank, not even a Martin overhead! There were, however, 28 Tufted Ducks, 8 Shelducks, 5+ Marsh Harriers, 9 Little Egrets, 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker and at least 12 Chiffchaffs. There were 17 Wigeon, 100+ Teal, 15+ Cetti's Warblers, 1 Kingfisher, 11 Long-tailed Tits, 2 Bullfinches and a Jay. Also recorded were, 8 Great-crested Grebes, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Kestrel, 5 Meadow Pipits, 8 Pochards and 2 Green Woodpeckers. With 4 Ring-necked Parakeets, 1 Little Grebe and 2 Water Rails also making the list.
(Martyn Wilson, Marc Heath, Brendan Ryan, Alan Ashdown & Steve Ashton)
Strong winds and drizzle gave way to a more sunny morning than expected but, the wind persisted with no sign of any migrants, not even the 2 Garganey from yesteray despite three thorough searches. Inbetween rain showers we logged:- 1 Water Rail, 4 Marsh Harriers, 9 Shelducks, 10 Tufted Ducks and a few singing Skylarks. There were 6 Cetti's Warblers, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 2 Little Egrets, 7 Chiffchaffs and a Great-crested Grebe on the river. At the Oxbow were, 3 Ruff, 30+ Wigeon, several Teal and Shoveler and a fly through ringtail Hen Harrier at 6.34. A female Bullfinch was along the river as well as 5 Jays and 2 Water Pipits were at Harrison's Drove Hide. There were 2 Grey Herons, 1 Linnet, 1 Little Grebe, 9 Pochards and at the White House were several Green & Chaffinches, Blue & Great Tits, 1 Long-tailed Tit and half a dozen House Sparrows. The lack of any new birds to see gave us opportunity to go over photo techniques with various SLR and fixed digicameras, an hour later we're still none the wiser!!
(Martyn Wilson, Alan Ashdown, Steve Ashton, Mike Gould & Pete Solly)
At last! spring has started with the much anticipated arrival of Garganey. There was a pair on the Oxbow lake from 6.50 throughout the morning, showing well. But unfortunatley that was it, Chiffchaffs aside. Many say spring is getting early but, my previous dates for Garganey are, 18/03/06, 19/03/05 and 17/03/02 for early counts. Birds recorded today between 3.45am and 12.30pm were:- 4 Tawny Owls and 5 Little Owls 3.56-4.39, 2 Canada Geese, 13 Shelduck (together), 6+ Snipe, 7+ Cetti's Warblers and a pair of Pintail. There were 2 pairs of Wigeon from the ramp and 33 wigeon at the Oxbow, 1 Great-crested Grebe, 7 Marsh Harriers, 1+ Water Rail and 3 Ruddy Ducks (2 drakes). A high count of 26 Tufted Ducks from the ramp, 2 Kestrels, 2 Grey Herons, 1 Great-spotted & 2 Green Woodpeckers, 1 Little Egret and 6+ Chiffchaffs. At the Oxbow were a pair of Garganey, 2 Ruff, 20 odd Lapwings a flyover Meadow Pipit and a Kingfisher and 2 Jays along the river. Linnets finally found thier way into the valley with 3 near Harrison's hide and there were 11 Pochards, 4+ Bearded Tits, 5 Bullfinches, 1 Redwing, 7 Mistle Thrushes, 1 Redshank and a Sparrowhawk.
(Martyn Wilson, Marc Heath, Alan Ashdown, Steve Ashton & Brendan Ryan)
At Collard's today there were 15 Goldeneye including 5 drakes, 69 Tufted duck, 7 Pochard and 5 wigeon. Nearby at Cow Corner, the Tundra Bean Goose was still present in the Westbere water meadows. There was also 95 Greylags, 5 Canada Geese, a Little Egret and 13 Gt-cr Grebes
At Stodmarsh this afternoon, several Chiffchaff were noted in the Alder Wood, along with 2 Jays, 1 Green Woodpecker and 3 Great-spotted Woodpeckers, 1 ring tailed Hen Harrier with 6 Marsh Harriers, and a Bittern calling in flight over the lampern wall. Several large flocks of Fieldfares were noted as well.
Three Bitterns calling, 1 seen, 2 Marsh Harriers and a ringtail Hen Harrier at Stodmarsh tonight.
(Dave & Jane Dowell, G Nicolls & I Harding)
Did the Stour Valley circuit this morning. A quiet morning but good exercise. From the ramp: 1 Little Grebe, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 8 Shelduck Harrison Drove at least 2 Water Pipits. Marsh Hide 1 Kingfisher. Undertrees Farm 1 Little Owl at nest box entrance, Alder Wood 2 Treecreepers, 3 Great spotted Woodpeckers (2 drumming) Main Lake 7 Great Crested Grebe, pair Wigeon Lampen Wal male Sparrowhawk Oxbow Lake 3 Little Egret, 2 Ruff, 1 Redshank Collards Lake 7 Goldeneye and now for winter again?
A male and female Ruddy Duck from the ramp, was the only addition to the weeks list this afternoon at Grove Ferry.
Jan and I walked from Stodmarsh to Grove Ferry and back, we saw lots of the birds mentioned by the regulars on here and had a very pleasant morning. We also saw a few Yellowhammers, one particular male looking absolutely splendid. As I can't see them listed this month I wondered if they are not usually about. Really enjoy reading your sites listings.
A small group of birders at Stodmarsh tonight had the following sightings, new passed on via Derek Smith: 3 Bitterns calling at 6.40pm over the Lampern Wall, 5 Marsh Harrier, 1 ringtail Hen Harrier and 1 Tawny Owl calling.
Another glorious day tempted me back out into the valley this morning. At Collards there were still 6 Goldeneye plus c50 Tufted Duck, about a dozen Wigeon, and a handful each of Pochard and Shelduck. At Stodmarsh the main lake had 20+ Shoveler, 6 Tufties and 10 Gadwall, but surprisingly few Teal. As I continued towards Grove, a handsome female Sparrowhawk powered low over the reeds causing some consternation amongst the smaller birds. The Oxbow harboured 94 Teal, 12 Shoveler, 5 Gadwall, 62 Wigeon, 12 Lapwing and 3 Redshank. From Harrison's Drove Hide I had 4 Snipe and 2 Water Pipit (including one very fine grey and pink bird). From the mound there were 56+ Shoveler, 50 Teal, 12 Gadwall and 5 Shelduck. The Green Hide had 5 more Tufties, 6 Pochard and 4 Gadwall. During the morning I also had 5 different Marsh Harriers, 3 Great-spotted and 2 Green Woodpeckers, and 12+ singing Cetti's. Small groups of Bearded Tits, the largest a group of seven, twanged and bounced low above the reeds. The fine weather had clearly brought in more Chiffchaff with a conservative minimum of 8 Chiffchaff round the circuit. Althopugh none of the 'target' early migrants were present it was a great day to be out!
I arrived at Westbere lakes this morning at 7.30am and stayed for 30 minutes before departing for work. No new migrants were seen or heard but the following birds were noted: 3 Great spotted Woodpecker, 5 Great Tit, 2 Chiffchaff in song, 2 Green Woodpecker, 4 Cetti's Warbler, 12 Great crested Grebe, 3 Canada Geese on the main lake, 4 Tufted Duck, 3 Blue Tit, 3 Greylag Geese were on the main lake with a few distant birds seen below cow corner in the fields, 2 Bullfinch heard, 3 Wren, 6 Fieldfare, 14 Redwing, 1 male Marsh Harrier, 2 Long tailed Tit, 2 Cormorant, 1 Pheasant and 1 Goldfinch. Surely in the next few days they will all arrive!
I paid a brief 30 minutes to Westbere lakes mid afternoon in the hope of maybe a Blackcap or a Sand Martin. My search was unsuccessful but in glorious warm sunshine I recorded the following: 6 Great crested Grebe, 2 Cetti's Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff singing and showing well, 1 Mute Swan, 1 Great spotted Woodpecker, 2 Green Woodpecker, 7 Great Tit, 4 Blue Tit, 2 Long tailed Tit and a few Chaffinch and Goldfinch were in song around the entrance. I thought I heard a brief snatch of a Nuthatch call (very rare in the Valley ) but I listened for c10 minutes but heard nothng more.
Today started with Marc putting in a couple of hours before his 18 mile training run for the London marathon, having recorded 5 Tawny Owls and 5 Little Owls between the hours of 4.07 and 5.11. After Marc left at 8.30, Alan and I dicided to walk the whole circuit counter-clockwise as, with there being far to much water at the Grove end, we thought we would try the Oxbow and the water meadows for anything resembling a wader. No such luck!! We met up with Steve at Stodmarsh and logged, mostly from Grove, the following:- 4 Marsh Harriers at Grove, 5 at Stodmarsh, 3 Water Rails, 14 singing Cetti's Warblers, 19 Tufted Ducks from the ramp, 1 Fieldfare, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 2 Little Egrets and a flock of 29 Geese that included up to 29! Bar-heads leaving south at 6.05. There were 10 Pochards from the ramp, 1 Kingfisher, 4 Grey Herons, 1 Great-crested Grebe with 6 more at Stodmarsh, a pair of Wigeon plus 122 at the Oxbow, 2 Snipe, 19 Golden Plovers ove, 2 GretBlack-backed Gulls and 4 singing Chiffchaffs along the river. Several Skylarks were competing for air time trying to out-sing each other and several Meadow Pipits and Reed buntings were seen. There were 4 Canada Geese, 7 Shelducks, 5 Jays, 1 Little Owl, 1 Redshank at the Oxbow, 1 Kestrel, 3 Bullfinches and 1 Sparrowhawk. The only real additions at Stodmarsh were, 18 Long-tailed Tits, 5 Treecreepers 2 Goldfinches and the afore mentioned 6 Great-crests. Our day ended with the first Butterfly of the spring, a Peacock and a Common Buzzard drifting west at 12.07pm.
(Martyn Wilson, Alan Ashdown, Steve Ashton & Marc Heath)
Stodmarsh tonight heard flight call of 2 Bittens over lake, too dark to see them at 6.35pm.
( Dave Dowell.)
At Stodmarsh tonight were 3 Bitterns, 6 Marsh Harriers and 1 Hen Harrier.
(Brendan Ryan & John Cantelo)
After news about the Great-spotted Cuckoo at Dungeness this week we arrived at Grove Ferry with much anticipation of some early migrants but, unfortunatley the only new arrivals we had were 3 singing Chiffchaffs (2 along the river & 1 by the White House). The rest of the morning saw us recording, 7 Marsh Harriers, 2 Water Rails, 8 Shelducks, 7 Tufted Ducks and 3 Pochards. A Peregrine flew west at 6.09 and out of 7 Little Egrets recorded 5 flew north. There were 8+ Cetti's Warblers, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 1 Great-crested Grebe, 5 Canada Geese, 4 Goldfinch and 254+ Redwings moving north in groups of 30-70. Many Reed Buntings and Meadow Pipits were in evidence and several Skylarks filled the air with song. The White House was alive with finches and Tits plus several House Sparrows (quite a rare sight in the valley).There were 80+ Wigeon, 1 Little Owl, 3 Gret-spotted Woodpeckers, 2 Bullfinch, 1 Kingfisher, 2 Pintail and 1 Grey Wagtail. Also today were, 2 Jays, 2 Grey Herons, 16 Lapwings, 1 Kestrel, 2 Snipe, 5 Long-tailed Tits, 3 Mistle Thrushes and 9 Fieldfares flew south.
(M Wilson, M Heath, J Cantelo, A Ashdown, S Ashton, P Solly, J Hollyer & Frank)
Although c100 yards outside the boundaries of the Stour Valley, It was very pleasing this morning whilst teaching to hear my first singing Chiffchaff of the Spring. Hopefully Grove Ferry will reveal a few more migrants tomorrow.
I started the day at Cow Corner where there were 65 Greylags and 2 Canada Geese. I assumed that this was the residual winter flock and that the grelags had paired off and dispersed and the Bean Goose had departed. However at the next stop at Collard's there were a further 220 Greylags and the Tundra Bean Goose. On Collard's there were 13 Goldeneye including 5 drakes, 62 Tufted Duck, 2 Pintail and 7 Wigeon. AT Stodmarsh, I met up with John Cantelo and we walked the circuit to Grove. Highlighs included a single Bittern, 6 Pintail on the main lake at Stodmarsh and 89 Wigeon and a Little Egret on the Oxbow. I ventured back out to Grove in the afternoon to check out Martyn's report of a possible Black Duck. What I assume to have been the same bird was still present with 2 Mallards just off the ramp. The bird had a dark body and a very noticable dark head and no obvious white in the tail. However the speculum had broad pale fringes ruling out Black Duck. It also had a lot of white in the primaries which suggests some odd parentage more likely to have come from a farmyard than America
A Bittern at Grove Ferry this evening but, not much else to report.
As the forecast bad weather was not in evidence early morning, a few of us ventured out to make the most of it and, before the rain eventually settled in at midday at this already waterlogged site, we recorded 6 Marsh Harriers, 3 Little Egrets, 7 Canada Geese, 3 Cetti's Warblers and 8 Snipe. Westward movement of thrushes included a 24 and a 40 of Redwings and 38 Fieldfares. There were 8 Shelducks, 5 Tufted Ducks, 9 Pochards, 2 pairs of Wigeon (main pool) and 70+ Shovelers. There were 2 Green Woodpeckers, 1 Redshank, 1 Geen Sandpiper, 1 Water Pipit and 6 Golden Plovers west. A duck resemblig a female American Black Duck was probably just a dark Mallard but, bad weather forced the abandonment of further scrutiny!!!. Hopefully next weekend we will be reporting on the arrival of spring migrants and getting the valley year list ascending further.
(Martyn Wilson, Alan Ashdown, Steve Ashton & Pete Solly)
A Long-eared Owl was seen and photograhed 1/2 mile north of Grove Ferry between 3.55 - 3.59am near Nethergong Bridge.
With strong north westerlies and a little rain making early morning viewing difficult, coupled with far to much water there's nowhere for waders hence, only 3 Redshanks at the Oxbow, 2 Lapwings at Harrison's and 3 further Lapwings overhead plus 22 Golden Plovers over. There were a pair of Marsh Harriers and 2 Males at Grove Ferry and another pair over Stodmarsh, a pair of Shelduck on the main pool plus another pair on the right hand pool. Sixty six Mute Swans flew out this morning, but no sign of any Bewick's. There were 5 Tufted Ducks, 120 Wigeon, 1 Pochard, 62 Shovelers (main pool), 5 Snipe, 5 Cetti's Warblers and 2 Fieldfares. There was 1 Redwing in the Paddocks, a flyover Linnet, 9+ Water Pipits, 3 Pintail (1 drake), 1 Green Woodpecker and 3 Grey Herons. Several Skylarks were in song and there was a scattering of Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Blue & Great Tits around the reserve with a few Meadow Pipits and Reed Buntings showing themselves.
(Martyn Wilson, Marc Heath, Brendan Ryan, Alan Ashdown & Steve Ashton)
I saw a Common Crane flying west over the lakes at Westbere at 9.00am this morning.
I had a late afternoon visit to Stodmarsh (5:15pm - 6:30pm) and after being drenched in a heavy shower I watched 6 Marsh Harriers in to roost, plus 2 Sparrowhawks, 1 ringtail Hen Harrier, about 35 Fieldfares, 1 Snipe and heard several singing Cetti's Warblers.
5 Lesser Redpolls were seen in the alder wood at stodmarsh this afternoon, and a male Hen Harrier with at least 9 Marsh Harriers were into roost at Stodmarsh and Collard lakes.
At Collard's this morning there were at least 10 Goldeneye ( 4 drakes), 56 Tufted duck, a few wigeon but not a lot else. The improvement in the weather tempted me back out in the afternoon when in addition to the above 140 Wigeon and 3 Pintail had appeared at Collard's. Presumably these are birds that had been at Grove earlier in the day. A persistent passage of large gulls, mostly Herring Gulls was evident at Grove in the morning, all going North west, this passage was still evident in the afternoon, presumably evidence of spring. At Stodmarsh late afternoon there was a single Stonechat, 40 Redwings and a Fieldfare. However best sighting of the day was just as I was leaving, in the form of Dave Dowell returning to the valley after a long and serious illness.
Sightings seen tonight after a soaking from a downpour, we saw 1 Bitten flying low over reed beds, Barn Owl, Great spotted Woodpecker, 1 Hen Harrier ring tail, 3 Marsh Harriers, Sparrowhawk and Water Rail.
(Dave Dowell and John Mills)
A beautiful sunny and still day may have promised more that it delivered, but it was so good to be out in the valley in such glorious conditions that I walked the circuit. Only 4 Tufties and 5 Pochard today, but at least 300 Teal, 50+ Shoveler, a similar number of Gadwall and five Pintail at the Stodmarsh end. A single Ruff and a couple of hundred (mainly distant) Lapwings made up the contingent of waders. Four or five Marsh Harriers floated about, but only a single Kestrel. Passerines were represented by couple of Stonechat and at least 10 singing Cetti's plus the usual assortment of Buntings and Tits (including a couple of Beardies). What relatively few birds that were about were in good song and a Great-spotted Woodpecker in good 'voice' too!
A brief visit to Grove to start the new month off after work in blustery but sunny conditions produced: 2 Grey Heron, 58 Cormorant, 3 Greenfinch, 2 Robin, 1 Shelduck, 1 Blue tit, c60 Shoveler, 34 Gadwall, 3 Tufted Duck, 2 Wigeon and 2 Cetti's Warbler announcing themself. There was 10 Mute Swan, 1 Great spotted Woodpecker, 1 Green Woodpecker, 2 Little Egret were chasing each other around the reserve, 2 Marsh Harrier, c300 Jackdaw and Rooks made their noisy way towards Stodmarsh, 2 Water Rail, 1 Pheasant, 4 Meadow Pipit and c50 Teal. The high water level meant no waders were seen except 1 Lapwing, hopefully it will drop before the migrants return.