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 = 117
I had not planned to go birding today but as I cycled to school the urge was too strong and I called in at Westbere Lakes in the hope of a few year ticks. It was not long until I heard the first of 2 Blackcaps singing, both birds showing quite well in the morning sunshine. I spent 45 minutes wandering around noting 10 Chiffchaff, 3 Green Woodpecker, 2 Canada Geese, 5 Greylag Geese, 3 Tufted Duck, 1 Cetti's Warbler, 10 Great crested Grebe and 1 Pochard. Sometimes the unexpected happens and this happened this morning when I found a flock of 15 Brambling feeding in trees near the railway line. There were a couple of cracking summer plumaged males in the group with some in song. A quick text to Sue Morton and luckily she arrived in time to see the spectacle before they all flew off east. This is probable my highest number of the species seen in the valley. Also seen were 2 Jay and 2 Long tailed Tit.
I made another visit into the valley after work in the hope of connecting with a few needed year ticks. I received a text from Steve Ashton alerting me to an Oystercatcher at the Marsh hide, a scarce bird in the valley. Unfortunately it could not be relocated so I spent some time around the Grove end. Birds noted were 6 Tufted Duck, 2 Grey Heron, 1 Pintail, 3 Cetti's Warbler, 1 Swallow, 3 Chiffchaff, 3 Marsh Harrier, 1 Little Egret, 2 Green Sandpipier, 1 Water Pipit, 1 Redshank, 5 Wigeon, 15 Mute Swan, 1 Kestrel and 6 Pochard. There were 5 Sand Martin over the ramp, 1 Snipe, 7 Greylag Geese and 2 Water Rail. On the pools there were a few Teal, Gadwall and Shoveler.
I had a brief walk down to Westbere Lakes at lunchtime in the hope of a hirundine or something. There was not alot about but the weather more than made up for it, a cloudless sky and warm temperatures. I walked up to the river and back and then walked to the Island. Birds noted were 6 singing Chiffchaff, 2 Treecreeper, 3 Long tailed Tit, 6 Tufted Duck, 10+ Great crested Grebe, 13 Canada Geese, 30+ Greylag Geese, 3 Marsh Harrier, 2 Cetti's Warbler, 1 Green Woodpecker, 3 Grey Heron but no sign of any hirundines as yet.
We walked round from Westbere to Fordwich via the river path on a misty and quite chilly morning. On Westbere Lake we saw a total of 21 Mallard, 23 Tufted Duck, 4 Pochard, 4 Gadwall, 36 Great Crested Grebes, 4 Canada Geese, 6 Greylag Geese and 3 Marsh Harriers flew over. Other birds seen or heard included Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Siskin, Goldcrest, Cetti’s Warbler and at least 8 singing Chiffchaffs. The fields across the river held 120+ Greylag Geese.
Moving on to Fordwich we noted a Grey Wagtail near the bridge and a Greenfinch in the churchyard. On Fordwich Lakes there were another 24 Great Crested Grebes, 46 Tufted Ducks, 6 Mallard, 4 Pochard, 3 Teal and 2 Goldeneye. There were also 4 Herons, 1 Kingfisher and a flock of 30+ Siskins. Just as we were about to leave, Pauline spotted 2 Sand Martins and an early Swallow which were flying around the NW corner of Fordwich Lake where it was comparatively sheltered. It was great to see them on such a dull, miserable morning!
Other birds seen or heard included Mute Swan, Coot, Moorhen, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, House Sparrow, Goldfinch, Robin, Blackbird, Starling, Chaffinch, Herring, Common and Black-headed Gulls, Reed Bunting, Carrion Crow, Wren, Collared Dove, Jay, Magpie and a Sparrowhawk which visited the garden, giving us a total of 44 species.
(Sue Morton and Pauline McKenzie Lloyd)
Today I decided to go to Stodmarsh for the first time this year as the weather was sunny and calm. As I went through the Lydden Valley at 12.30 I had excellent views of a Red Kite,a good start. Arriving at the Stodmarsh car park I walked slowly to the Marsh hide,the underfoot conditions were really quite good. I spent an hour in the hide and was rewarded with 2 Ruff,1 Green Sandpiper,c12 Snipe and 5 Water Pipit. During my walk there and back I heard 5/6 Cettis Warblers and 4/5 Water Rail and was very pleased to see the opening of several good water areas. Small passerines are still quite scarce,despite plenty of Blue,Great and Long Tailed Tits. However what I am really worried about is the Bearded Reedling,i think the overall numbers have collapsed over the past 3 years so Iwould ask everyone to be aware of any sightings during the next few months so we can ascertain the breeding population in the valley.
With another day of lovely sunshine I made a visit to Grove Ferry after work for an hour or so. I was hoping for maybe an early migrant or a Barn Owl in the sunshine but no luck on both fronts. I had a look around the hides and a walk down to the White house. birds noted were 4 Marsh Harrier, 15 Gadwall, 2 drake Pintail, 1 Shelduck, 32 Lapwing, 9 Greylag Geese, 1 Redshank, 1 Dunlin, 1 Water Pipit over Harrisons, 11 Mute Swan, 1 Snipe and 23 Linnet. There were 3 Cetti's Warbler, 1 Water Rail, 4 Wigeon, 2 Tufted Duck and 1 Grey Heron.
The month hopefully of great change with migrants starting to arrive in the next few weeks. As seems to be the norm at the moment with the weather, I arrived at a rainy and misty Grove Ferry this morning at 7.20am where I spent 40 minutes sheltering from the bitterly cold north wind. Not much was seen in these conditions and who can not blame the birds for not wanting to show themselves in this. Birds I did manage to note this morning were 2 Shelduck, 3 Cetti's Warbler, 2 Linnet, 1 Greenfinch, 1 Tufted Duck, 17 Gadwall, 4 Mute Swan, 5 Greylag Geese, 1 Reed Bunting, 3 Marsh Harrier, c200 Teal, 4 Cormorant, 2 Shoveler, 3 male Pochard, 2 Green Woodpecker and 1 Goldcrest seen at the entrance. Hoping the weather would be a little better in the afternoon I made another visit to Grove after work and spent a couple of hours visiting the ramp and the Feast and Harrisons hides. Again much of what I saw in the morning was still present but the floowing were logged throughout the session. 2 Pintail from the ramp, 8 Marsh Harrier, 1 Kestrel, 27 Linnet, c50 Lapwing, 3 Cetti's Warbler, 2 Mute Swan, 2 Shelduck, 17 Gadwall, 3 Pochard, 1 male, 6 Shoveler, 1 Redshank, 1 Snipe, 20 Greylag Geese in fields behind Harrisons, 16 Fieldfare, 41 Corn Bunting into roost, 1 ring tail Hen Harrier towards Stodmarsh, 3 Canada Geese flew in from the east and carried on towards Stodmarsh and 2 Tufted Duck.