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Sightings can be Emailed to:
Marc, Martyn & Brendan
Marc Heath - Heathym007@aol.com
Number of species recorded in the valley this year so far = 171
Non Avian sightings
Marc started the valley Owl hunt at 5.00am, recording 5 Tawny Owls. I met him at the entrance gate at 5.50 where, we made our way to the ramp in a light fog. Today at Grove Ferry were, 9 Marsh Harriers, 3 Little Egrets, 4 Cetti's Warblers, 2 Kingfishers, 1 Chiffchaff, 27 Snipe and 40+ Sand Martins left roost. A small flock of Gulls that came in from the North/East contained 7 Little Gulls (1 juv), heading towards Stodmarsh and an eigth Little Gull was on the spit at Grove's main pool later at 8.35, just as Marc was leaving. Birds on the move today were, numerous Song Thrushes, Corvids and Cormorants as well as Meadow Pipits, Reed Buntings and 49 Stock Doves. There were 5 Redwings in the Paddock. A new valley record of 8 Ring-necked Parakeets were in flight above the houses on Grove Hill and there were, 13 Ruff, 3 Little Stints, 1 Dunlin, 2 Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Golden Plovers, 1 Spotted Redshank, 3 Green Sandpipers and the single Knot still. There were 154 Black-headed Gulls, 2 Mediterranean Gulls (adult & 2nd winter), 4 Jays, 2 Kestrels, 3 Common Gulls, 2 Blackcaps, 4 Grey Herons, 1 Little Grebe and 2 Water Rails. Also, 2 Arctic Terns (from the ramp), 2 Great-spotted Woodpeckers, 8 Bearded Tits, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Green Woodpecker and the imm CEC rung Cormorant again. The only non avian were, 2 Peacock and 1 Speckled Wood Butterflies and 2 Common Darters.
A much better morning at Grove today following the recent NNE weather conditions with, several Geese leaving just after dawn (non worth a mention), 12 Ruff, 5 Cetti's Warblers, 6 Marsh Harriers and 300+ Sand Martins leaving roost plus 80+ Swallows with many of each hanging around all morning. There were, 7 Grey Herons, 1 Curlew, 40 Snipe, 5 Green Sandpipers, 1 Little Egret, 1 singing Chiffchaff, and 1 Kingfisher.A Wheatear was at Harrison's Hide and a Golden Plover flew over the ramp while waders consisted of, 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Dunlin, 2 Little Stints and a Knot, a valley first for Marc and mine & Pete's second since 4th September 2004. There were 251 Black-headed Gulls, 3 Jays, 950+ Teal, a Peregrine Falcon at 9.00am, at least 10 Redwings and many migrant Song Thrushes and Blackbirds. Also, 14 Long-tailed Tits, 9 Blue Tits, 12+ Greenfinches and 8 Goldfinches. The immature colour-ringed Cormorant (CEC) was again on the main pool and a smart male Sparrowhawk shot through at 9.30. There was 1 Stock Dove with, later, another 48 at Cow Corner, the first Autumn Merlin, 2 Water Rails, 1 Tufted Duck, 3 Pintail, 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker, 2 Kestrels, 2 Common Gulls and 2 Grey Plovers that, flew round the pools three times calling before heading up the valley. A quick look at Stodmarsh revealed nothing in the Alder Wood and on the lake were several hundred Shoveler and Teal and 7 stunning Little Gulls (1 juv), while at Collard's Lake were 2 adult Arctic Terns (new for the valley for both Marc, Brendan & myself) and a further 2 Little Gulls there as well. What a fantastic morning!!
(Martyn Wilson, Marc Heath & Pete Solly)
A brief visit to a blustery Grove after work tonight. 3 Spotted Redshank and 2 Pintail were the highlights from the ramp. I flushed 5 Green Sandpipers from Ballion's pool as I made my way to a bird less Harrison's Drove. As I returned to the ramp 14 Pink-footed Geese flew NW battling into the northerly wind. Presumably these were the same 14 birds seen at Sandwich earlier in the day
Most of the morning was spent conversing with various birders between 6.00-11.00, with Marc Heath, Pete Solly, Norman McCanch, Steve Ashton, John Cantelo, Dylan Wrathall and Ned Muller. Birding was also managed with the following recorded, 3 Water Rails, 3 Marsh Harriers ,various Geese out in the fog, 6 Little Egrets, 1 Curlew Sandpiper and 75 Black-headed Gulls. There were, several Swallows heading south/west with the occasional Sand Martin but, no House Martins though. Also today were, 2 Green Sandpipers, 1+ Ring-necked Parakeet, 25 Snipe, 7 Ruff, 2 Greenshanks and two of each Green Woodpeckers, Great-spotted Woodpeckers, Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps and Kestrels. There were, 3 Jays, 1 Cetti's Warbler, 8+ Bearded Tits, 1 Kingfisher, 2 Pochards, 3 Sparrowhawks, 2 Ringed Plovers and my first Little Stint of the year. A Peregrine Falcon flew east at 9.45 and there were, 25 Golden Plovers, 1 Spotted Redshank, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull as well as another colour ringed Cormorant (CEC), just what Dylan loves to see.
A bit of raptor watching around Stodmarsh and Collard's this afternoon, produced 2 sparrow Hawks, 3 Kestrels, 2 Marsh Harriers, a Hobby and Red kite ( over Collard's at 5.pm seen by Phil). The only other birds of note were 5 Little Egrets moving East up the valley, plus one in the reeds at Collard's and about 70 Wigeon on Collard's
(Brendan Ryan and Phil Chantler)
Bird of the day was the immature Red Kite that showed well again over Marsh Hide and Grove Ferry betwen 9.40-10.15, and at one point in the air with 3 Marsh Harriers and a Hobby together and, again over Stodmarsh between 10.40-11.00 with a Common Buzzard. Also at Grove Ferry today were, 1 Tawny Owl, an unkown amount of Canada Geese leaving in the fog (20+?), 5 Water Rails, 3 Sparrowhawks, 4 Cetti's Warblers and 9 Marsh Harriers (4imm, 3f & 2m). There were, 4 Chiffchaffs, 2 Greenshanks, 3 Black-tailed Godwits, 12 Ruff, 14 Snipe, 1 Kingfisher, 4 Grey Herons, 1 Kestrel and 3 Wigeon with, 34 over. House Martins were still moving through but in lesser amounts but, more Sand Martins and 30+ Swallows today. There were, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 1 Pied Wagtail, 2 Sedge Warblers, 3 Jays, 7 Green Sandpipers, 1 Whitethroat, 2 Reed Warblers and a flyover Golden Plover. Other bits and pieces today included, 2 Great-spotted Woodpeckers, 6+ Linnets, 1 juvenile Curlew Sandpiper, 5 Long-tailed Tits, 1 Skylark, 12 Bearded Tits, 2 Little Egrets, 42 Black-headed Gulls and of course the Red Kite, 1 Hobby and a Common Buzzard. While non-avian produced 5 "white" Buttereflies, 1 Large White, 3 Peacocks and a probable Small Heath as well as several Migrant Hawkers and many pairs of Common Darter mating.
(Martyn Wilson & Marc Heath)
Roll on some North/Easterlies we need some migrants in. The juvenile Curlew Sandpiper was again showing from Harrison's Hide but, this time when it flew it did show a "white" rump so, appologies to anyone reading yesterdays report. When I arrived today I met at the gate an old Sandwich Bay ringer who had moved to the Calf of Man, Tim Bagworth who stayed until 8.10 and John Cantelo arrived at 8.10 and stayed until 10.15, so some great company and conversation for a good part of the morning. The few things noted today were, 5 Marsh Harriers, 15 Ruff, 1 Greenshank, 3 Black-tailed Godwits, 4 Green Sandpipers and the afore mentioned Curlew Sandpiper. There were, 16 Snipe, 1 Pied Wagtail, 1 Kestrel, 3 Cetti's Warblers and 15 Canada Geese flew west. House Martins are still around in high numbers moving NW with a few Sand Martins and the odd Swallow. There were, 58 Black-headed Gulls, 1 Common Gull, 2 Water Rails, 3 Stock Doves, 8 Bearded Tits, 2 juvenile Ringed Plovers and 38 Wigeon flew west while 2 were on the main pool.
Again, very quiet here at Grove Ferry with several hours spent trying to add species to the days birding. Today there were 14 Snipe, 1 Green Woodpecker, 1 Greenshank, 17 Ruff, 5 Little Egrets, 3 Water Rails, 3 Wigeon and a female Pintail. Only 3 Marsh Harriers seen today (1m, 2f), 5 Green Sandpipers, 2 Cetti's Warblers, 1 Kestrel, 6 Stock Doves and 2 juvenile Ringed plovers again. The oddest and most bizzare bird was a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper that had a dark rump, it was also present yesterday and I marked it as a C Sand but when it flew showing dark rump I re-wrote as Dunlin. Geoff Burton and Mike Gould also saw this bird today from 10.30-12.00 and, have no doubt it's a Curlew Sand although Geoff muted the name Cox's Sandpiper, a name given to hybrid waders such as PectoralxCurlew Sandpiper!. Also today were 800+ Teal, 1 Chiffchaff, 4 Spotted Redshanks, 1 Common Buzzard, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Black-tailed Godwits and a very smart adult male Wheatear. Just as I was about to leave the ramp a Peregrine came straight at me putting up everything and, a Great-spotted Woodpecker was by the car at the entrance gate.
Another very quiet day at Grove with a stuggle to add anything to the note book but, a few bits got in with 3 Marsh Harriers (1m & 2f), 2 Chiffchaffs, 18 Snipe, 3 Black-tailed Godwits, 8 Green Sandpipers, 11 Ruff and 2 Water Rails. The monotony was only broken when Ben Ring popped by and later Steve Ashton for half an hour. There were, 4 Wigeon, 1 Greenshank, 1 Sparrowhawk, 4 Bearded Tits, 4 Grey Herons, 10 Little Egrets and a second summer Mediterranean Gull that dropped in at 7.13 stayed for less than a minute before taking flight and carried on up the valley. There were 2 juvenile Ringed Plovers from Harrison's Hide and a juvenile Dunlin plus also recorded today were, 3 Cetti's Warblers, 2 Little Grebes, 1 Kestrel, 2 Kingfishers, 1 Jay, 1 Stock Dove, 1 Pied Wagtail, 3 Common Gulls, 43 Black-headed Gulls and 7 Canada Geese flying west. There was a constant stream of House Martins and SandMartins moving north/west with the odd Swallow amongst them.
To-day we carried out the first of the new round of WeBS counts for Stour, Trenley, Fordwich and Westbere Lakes. It was a beautiful sunny morning, but there was not much to cause any real excitement. We saw a total of 54 Great Crested Grebes of which 38 were on Westbere Lake. Mute Swans totalled 25 and the only ducks present were Gadwall (31), Mallard (59), Tufted (17) and Pochard (3).
Other records of interest were 3 Kingfishers, 4 Common Sandpipers, 7 Cetti’s Warblers, 5 Grey Herons, 65+ Long-tailed Tits, 5 Chiffchaff, 7 Jays, 3 Green Woodpeckers, 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers and a Stonechat. There were several small parties of Swallows, House Martins and Sand Martins which all passed quickly through. In all we totalled 41 species.
(Sue Morton and Pauline McKenzie Lloyd)
A bit of a waste of time today, there must have been some kind of clear out over night with not much to see except loads of Teal and a few Gadwall, Mallard and Shoveler. I did see the Red Kite again today over Stodmarsh and lost to view behind the tree line in the Marsh Hide area at 8.20. Four Spotted Redshanks flew across from Green Hide/Egret Pool area and disappeared onto an unaccessable, unwatchable back pool and the rarest bird today was the first Redshank since way back in early spring. These birds should breed here but, due to lack of management they no longer do. Talking of management, two of them spent two and half hours in front of Green hide yesterday and except for the encroachment of reeds from the left being cut little else was noticeable, perhaps I should go down with my nail scissors I have a spare half hour tomorrow!!! Birds noted today with a lot of patience and making trips to Marsh, Green and Harrison's hides on more than one occasion were, 4 Marsh Harriers (3 fems & a juv), 17 Ruff, 3 Black-tailed Godwits, 9 Green Sandpipers, one off these showing an extremely large eyering but, try as might I could not turn it into a Solitary! There were, 2 Garganey, 3 Little Egrets, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Little Grebe, 2 Cetti's Warblers, 1 Kestrel, 2 Stock Doves and only 11 Snipe. A steady trickle of House Martins were moving north/west and half a dozen Swallows as well. There was 1 Greenshank (Marsh Hide), 1 Common Gull, 1 Jay, 1 Green Woodpecker, 8 Black-headed Gulls, 1 Sparrowhawk and a single adult Hobby. One for Dylan, there was a juvenile Cormorant on the main pool spit bearing a plain white plastic ring on its right leg and a green plastic ring with letters CED on its left leg.
I had an hour tonight at the ramp until dusk in chilly conditions. The following were noted: I picked out 2 probable Little Stint flying with 2 Dunlin over the right hand pool from the ramp, they circled a few times before flying high towards the Marsh hide area. 1 single Dunlin was noted soon after on the right hand pool. Also: 3 Garganey, 5 Ruff, 2 Spotted Redshank, 1 Great spotted Woodpecker, 1 Green Woodpecker, 2 Marsh Harrier, 1 Cetti's Warbler and 3 Yellow Wagtail. There was 8 Snipe visible feeding, 2 Grey Heron, 2 Greenshank, 1 Green Sandpiper, 2 Kestrel and c100 Swallow East over the ramp at dusk.
After all the excitement of yesterday, I thought I would have another go at trying to locate the elusive Pectoral Sandpiper. Again without success, oh well. Bird of the day today went to a superb juvenile Red Kite that showed from 10.35 over Harrison's until 11.15 between Grove and Sarre, unfortunately light conditions didn't allow any decent photo's! The last couple of hours were spent on the ramp in the pleasant company of Roger Lawrence, Peter Laslet and Tony Holkham. Also at Grove Today were a work party of two who spent 2.5 hours in front of Green (Turf fields) Hide cutting down a reed. Birds seen today were, 2 Chiffchaffs, 3 Greenshanks, 20 Ruff, 14 Green Sandpipers, 35 Snipe, 3 Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Dunlin and 5 Grey Herons. A flock of 50 House Martins flew north/west over the ramp accompanied by 2 Swallows plus half a dozen more House Martins over the ramp midday (ish). There were, 3 Common Gulls, 2 Yellow Wagtails, 5 Water Rails (3 juvs), 3 Marsh Harriers (2 males), 3 Sparrowhawks, 2 Spotted Redshanks, 9 Cetti's Warblers including a family of four near Marsh Hide and 7 Canada Geese flew west. There were just 4 Little Egrets today, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 4 Wigeon, 1 Green Woodpecker, 43 Golden Plovers 2 Kestrels and 2 Garganey. Also today were, 1 Herring Gull, 3 Bearded Tits, 1 Stock Dove, 2 Common Buzzards and 244 Black-headed Gulls.
A quick visit to the viewing ramp this evening,resulted in good views of the Pectoral Sandpiper, which was resting on the small spit, close in from the ramp on the righthand side of the main pool. Also 3 Spotted Redshanks dropped in to the main pool as I was leaving. There were 3 Dunlin on the right hand pool, with 4 Green Sandpipers, 7 Common Snipe and 2 Ruff. There were 3 Green Sandpipers on the main pool, as well as 5 Ruff, and 6 Black-tailed Godwits.
What more can be said? The highlight of the year was just before 11.00 this morning when Norman McCanch located a pale morph Booted Eagle passing over the ramp which John Hollyer and I managed to get onto along with several other birders. We watched as the bird flew towards Stodmarsh gaining height before turning left and heading out over Seaton before losing height and appearing to drop in the Preston marshes area being pusued by Corvids. The unfortunate thing about this was that Marc and Steve had only vacated the site 10 or so minutes before! (Norman McCanch, Martyn Wilson, John Hollyer et al)
Noted before the "Eagle" excitment were, 2 Tawny Owls, 3 Cetti's Warblers, 2 Water Rails, 5 Grey Herons, 6 Marsh Harriers, 7 Little Egrets and 17 Wigeon (13 flew west). There were, 23 Ruff, 9 Green Sandpipers, 3 Greenshanks, 16, Long-tailed Tits, 1 Kingfisher, 5 Yellow Wagtails, 2 Chiffchaffs, 4 Sparrowhawks and 11 Snipe. At least 1 Ring-necked Parakeet was heard and there were, 14 Swallows, 3 Black-tailed Godwits, 1 Little Grebe, 4 Jays, 4 Spotted Redshanks, 3 Great-spotted Woodpeckers, 8+ Meadow Pipits and 2 fly over Grey Wagtails. Other bits and bobs included, 1 Kestrel, 3 Goldfinches, 1 Green Woodpecker, 1 off each Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Goldcrest, Blackcap and Stonechat, 3 Dunlin, 3 Golden Plovers, 2 Hobbies and a 300+ flock of Gulls that included 3 Commons, several Herring and the rest were Black-heads.
(Martyn Wilson, Marc Heath, Steve Ashton & Pete Solly)
At Grove Ferry Today were, 1 Tawny Owl, 1 Bittern, 4 Wigeon, 19 Ruff, 11 Green Sandpipers, 1 Black-tailed Godwit and 22 Little Egrets. There were, 3 Greenshanks, 4 Yellow Wagtails, 13 Snipe, 2 Water rails, 6 Marsh harriers, 4 Sparrowhawks and 5 Dunlin. Highlight of the day came at 6.35 when a juvenile Red Kite flew past the ramp around us and out towards Reculver at 6.42 giving excellent views in somewhat poor light conditions. This was Marc's first ever Valley Red Kite and even better Pete's first in Kent, what a great morning. Marc and Pete had to leave early, Marc at 8.30 and Pete at 9.30 but I did encounter several other birders including John Tilbrook, Tony Swandale, Brendan Ryan et al, and added to the mornings list were, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 8 Sedge Warblers, 1 Reed Warbler, 2 Kestrels, 4 Spotted Redshanks (3 juveniles),1 Kingfisher, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Cetti's Warblers, 5 Ring-necked Parakeets and 2 Little Grebes. A flock of 50 Golden Plovers circled the reserve a couple of times before heading back out and there were, 2 Stock Doves, 1 Green Woodpecker, 3 Grey Herons, 3 Stonechats, 2 Whitethroats, 1 Curlew, 1 Hobby, 6+ Bearded Tits and 1 Common Buzzard. Tony Swandale had at least one Grey Wagtail over and in amongs a flock of 325 Black-headed Gulls John Tilbrook picked out a juvenile Mediterranean Gull while at the same time Tony Swandale located a second summer of the same species, 2 Mediterranean Gulls in the scope at one time, excellent. Also seen were 1 Weasel, 2 Foxes, 6+ pairs of Common Darter and a few "White" Butterflies.
Unfortunately I was tied up at work yesterday and couldn't get down to look for Marc's Pec, so I paid an unusually early morning pre-work visit to Grove. It was a glorious morning but a combination of early morning mist and a rising sun meant that viewing conditions were appalling. Harrison's was devoid of birds apart from 5 Green Sandpipers and the Marsh Hide only contributed 2 Lapwings to the days totals. I finally scraped together 6 Green Sandp, 7 Ruff, single Spotted Redshank and Ringed Plover, 2 Black- tailed Godwits, 2 Little Egrets, 4 + Water Rails and a Sparrow Hawk. I decided to have a final check from the ramp before I headed off to work. I quickly located three Dunlin on the right hand pool and The Pec Sandpiper wandering around amongst the flock of Lapwings. It looked like a classic juv but it was not close and the light conditions were poor. It was my 7th Pec at Grove but my first since 2003. I arrived at work feeling very content
I spent the afternoon at Grove ferry, after Marc Heath telephoned me to tell me he had seen a Pec Sandpiper at Grove this morning. I visited the ramp, the Turf Field hide and the Harrison’s Drove hide, without relocating the bird. I cannot remember what was seen from the ramp, as I spent 30 minutes engaged in conversation with the tattooed twosome, catching up on events since I last saw them, funnily enough which was on the ramp at Grove about 2 months ago. There was a distant Kingfisher to the rear of the Turf Field pool, hovering above the water surface, and there was also 3 Green Sandpipers present. Noted at the Harrison’s hide were 7 Dunlin, 12 Ruff, 3 Green Sandpipers and 7 or 8 Common Snipe. There were 5 Little Egrets in the pool while I was there. As Marc said the Pec flew off towards the Marsh hide, I decided to pay this hide a visit, as I have not been there for at least 2 months. On arrival, I was most surprised at how quiet the marsh area was in front of the hide. I managed to count 1 lapwing, 1 Crow and 5 Wood pigeons. One result was the Kingfisher perch had water around the base, and I spent 20 minutes watching a Kingfisher successfully catch 3 fish from 6 dives. There were 2 Stonechats in the bushes along the path from the Marsh hide on the way out. 2 Marsh Harriers, 2 Sparrow hawks, 2 Kestrels and 3 Hobbies were noted as I wandered around the reserve.
I made a visit to Grove this morning and it proved to be a good decision. The undoubted highlight of the morning was a Pectoral Sandpiper that I found from Harrisons hide. Although the water is receding faster than my hairline the Pec showed well from 10.35 – 10.40am before flying off towards the Marsh hide where it dropped down out of sight. A brief search at the Marsh hide did not turn up the bird but viewing the pools was difficult due to the ever growing reedbeds. Other birds noted: 13 Ruff, c30 Snipe, 4 singing Cetti’s Warblers, 2 Green Woodpecker, 9 Swallow, 9 Green Sandpiper, 3 Black tailed Godwit, 1 Little Grebe, 1 Kingfisher, 6 Water Rail including 2 showy juvenile birds from the Green hide and 2 Marsh Harrier. 6 Little Egret were noted along with 6 Dunlin, 3 Grey Heron, 1 Kestrel, 1 Greenshank, 3 Jay, 7 Chiffchaff, 1 Stonechat, 2 Great spotted Woodpecker, 1 Hobby, 3 Yellow Wagtail, 3 Wigeon, 2 Garganey from the main pool at the ramp, 4 juvenile Ringed Plover and c300 Lapwing. There was a scattering of juvenile Sedge Warblers around the Green hide, Blue, Great and Long tailed Tits were noted around the reserve along with the odd Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Goldfinch. C60 Black headed Gulls were loafing on the main pool with 1 Common Gull and c200 Teal were noted on the pools. On the Butterfly front, 1 Peacock, 1 Speckled Wood, c10 ‘Whites’ and a group of Peacock larvae were noted.
Called into Grove on way home from work. The usual range of waders were present, 2 Spotted Redshank, 2 Greenshank, 6 Green Sandpipers, one Dunlin, 3 Ruff and a single Little-ringed Plover. Judging from where birds were dropping in, it would appear that unfortunately much of the best wader habitat now seems to be in inaccessible parts of the reserve or on pools that are obscured by overgrown reeds resulting from Natural England's continued mismanagement of the reserve. Still it is the autumn and our time is better spent on the coast looking for migrants. That's where I intend to be until November!
The Spotted Crake was reported again at 3.55pm on the right hand pool from the ramp briefly.
In a morning visit, we watched 3 Common Buzzards circling together above the trees west of Grove Ferry Inn. 5 Spotted Redshanks were at roost together seen from the ramp. (Chris Abrams, Terry Laws)
A couple of hours this evening at Grove Ferry produced nice numbers of Waders, but very little else. From the ramp, 19 Common Snipe were seen, as well as 5 Green Sandpipers, 6 Ruff, and a solitary Black-tailed Godwit. There was also 1 Grey Heron as well as several Lapwing, Mallard and Teal. The Turf Field hide had 5 Common Snipe, 1 little Egret, 1 Grey Heron, and there were 2 Ruff feeding with 4 Black-tailed Godwits. Wild fowl were made up of Teal, Mallard and 3 Pochard. I then went onto the Harrison’s Drove hide, where I noticed that although the powers to be had cut rather nicely all the grass between the hide and the waters edge, they neglected to cut the reeds growing up against the hide, and obscuring views from the viewing windows. Well done English Nature. As viewing was obstructed from the hide, I remained out side of the hide, and noted 3 Spotted Redshanks, 12 Ruff, 7 Green Sandpipers, 5 Dunlin and 6 Common Snipe. There were also 2 Little Egrets feeding in the pool. The White House did not turn up much and all I noted was 1 Green Woodpecker, 4 Blue tits, 1 Great tit and a female Chaffinch. On the way out, 2 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Green Sandpipers and a Common Snipe were seen in the Egret pool. There seems to be plenty of waders feeding in the various pools at the moment, would it be too much to ask Natural England to cut the various hide viewing areas so that we can see the waders present at the pools. Thank you.
Meeting Marc at the entrance gate at 5.30 we headed straight to Harrison's to try and catch up with the Spotted Crake from yesterday. There was no sign by 7.45 when Marc had to leave so we walked back to the ramp so Marc could have ten minutes there before he left, then I located the Spotted Crake in the right hand pool on the back edge just to the left of the clump of reeds at the right side of the pool. Marc went home Happy. Also at Grove Ferry today were, 1 Sparrowhawk, 5 Water Rails, 2 Cetti's Warblers, 5 Marsh Harriers, 1 Wood Sandpiper (heard only) and a juvenile Little-ringed Plover. There were, 13 Snipe, 7 Green Sandpipers, 7 Little Egrets, 2 Spotted Redshanks (adult & juvenile), 1 Greenshank, 17 Ruff, 3 Black-tailed Godwits, 9 Dunlin and the juvenile Curlew Sandpiper Still. An impressive count of 148+ Yellow Wagtails left roost and there were 30+ Meadow Pipits, also the first Wheatears of the Autumn represented by three very showy individuals (see photo's) plus a fourth further down the Drove, nearer Green Hide, and the first Stonechat today as well. There were, 4 Grey Herons, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Pintail, 1 Whinchat, 1 Hobby, and 3 Garganey. Also today were, 2 Stock Doves, 1 Swallow, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Kestrel and 51 Black-headed Gulls. All this and the company of Sue Morton and John Pymm for some of the time as well.
(Martyn Wilson & Steve Ashton)
Called into Grove today early afternoon and again in the evening. The Spotted Crake showed well at Harrison's this evening but towards the back on the right-hand side and not where Martyn had seen it this morning. It raises the possibility of two birds. other birds recorded included 10 Dunlin, One Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank, 1+ Spotted Redshank, 15 Ruff, 2 Golden Plover, 3 Black-tailed Godwits and 9 Little Egrets. 13 Yellow Wagtails came into roost, sadly a sign of the times as only a few years ago counts of over 100 were commonplace at this time of year.
At last! a month later than expected we finally got one. A juvenile Spotted Crake was showing well up the left hand side of the pool at Harrison's Drove hide from 8.50 until at least 9.30, to distant for photo's though. Other decent birds at Grove today included the juvenile Curlew Sandpiper still, 3 Spotted Redshanks (2 juveniles), 8 Dunlin, 14 Ruff, 9 Green Sandpipers, 3 Greenshanks and 5 Black-tailed Godwits. A Peregrine Falcon came through at 5.58 and was mobbed by a Hobby a second Hobby seen later. There were 7 Water Rails, 5 Cetti's Warblers, 6 Grey Herons, 9 Little Egrets, 7 Marsh Harriers, 1 Wigeon, 1 Kestrel, 3 Green Woodpeckers and 5 Tufted Ducks. Warblers seem to be making their exit as just 6 Sedge Warblers, 1 Reed Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff and a male Blackcap were located today. A couple of House Martins were by the White House and late morning a flock of 60+ were over Harrison's. There were, 2 Little Grebes, 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker, 1 Jay, 6 Bearded Tits, 1 Whinchat, 3 Stock Doves and 46 Black-headed Gulls. Lapwing and Teal numbers are still rising with noticably more of the latter. Steve Ashton came down for an hour with his camera and occupied Green Hide for the duration. Also a Fox was at the north end of Harrison's Drove and there were 2 Small White Butterflies and 2 Migrant Hawker Dragonflies.
Called in at Grove on the way from work tonight. Apart from a single Black-tailed Godwit there was nothing of significance from the ramp and I was beginning to think I should have stayed at work a little longer. In contrast Harrison's was a hive of activity with a juv Curlew Sandpiper, a Wood Sandpiper, juv Spotted Redshank, 10 Ruff, 8 Dunlin and 9 Green Sandpipers. 5 Marsh Harriers, 2 Little Egrets and 12 Yellow Wagtails were the only other birds of note.
The srangest thing about today is that the reserve was completley devoid of birders until nearer midday, I had the whole place to myself although there wasn't a great deal to be look at either!. I arrived at 5.30 and stayed until 12.10pm. Bits and bobs making the note book today were, 1 Tawny Owl, 7 Water Rails, 4 Cetti's Warblers, 1 Greenshank, 1 Hobby, 11 Ruff, 7 Green Sandpipers, 4 Grey Herons and only 2 Marsh Harriers (both juveniles). There were c600 Lapwings, 419 Teal, 1 Wigeon, a handful of Shovelers, 3 Dunlin, 4 Little Egrets, 1 Green Woodpecker and 29 Snipe. Three Chiffchaffs were still at the White House plus a fourth on the ramp, also at the White House were, several House Martins, Blue & Great Tits a couple of Chaffinches, Starlings and House Sparrows. There was a Whinchat, 3 Tufted Ducks, 5 Reed Warblers, 3 Sedge Warblers, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Bearded Tits, and a Kestrel. A Peregrine Falcon flushed everything at 8.10am but I did see 2 Black-tailed Godwits and 2 Spotted Redshanks (1 adult & 1 juvenile) before they disappeared. There were 55 Black-headed Gulls, 4 adult & 1 juvenile Common Gulls, 3 adult & 2 juvenile Herring Gulls and 8 Lesser Black-backed Gulls (3 adults) and there were 9 Goldfinches, 1 Garganey, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Pochard, 1 Little Grebe and 1 Stock Dove. Plus 1 Red Admiral, 1 Gatekeeper, several Small Whites (especially along the river), 1 Black-tailed Skimmer and several Common Darters and Migrant Hawkers.
It is starting to feel a bit colder in the mornings now, so that should mean Autumn is now on its way and, with a bit of luck, there should be some decent migrants turning up. Hopefully Grove will get the "Mega". Birding at Grove Ferry today produced 2 Tawny Owls, at first light, 4 Grey Herons, 1 Hobby, 6 Marsh Harriers, 6 Little Egrets, 2 Pochards, and 1 Kingfisher. For anyone who may be interested there were 14 Bar-headed Geese, 22 Barnacle Geese and 6 Hienz type!, this is the last mention I will give these plastic interlopers. There were, 2 Greenshanks, 18+ Snipe, 7 Green Sanadpipers, 8 Ruff, 2 Water Rails, 11 Yellow Wagtails, 1 Stock Dove and 1 Turtle Dove. Several House Martins were around the White House with the occasional Swallow and Sand Martin in with them, although there were several showy Swallows by the car upon exit. There were, 3 Chiffchaffs, 2 Blackcaps, 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 2 Sparrowhawks, 1 Common Buzzard and a family of 4 Song Thrushes. Also today were, 2 Dunlin, 2 Jays, 1 Grey Wagtail, 2 Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 2 Common Gulls, 1 Whitethroat, 12 Goldfinches, 2 Cetti's Warblers, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 3 Bearded Tits and just one Reed Warbler. Non avian included, several Small Whites, 1 Holly Blue, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Gatekeeper, 2 or 3 Migrant Hawkers, several pairs of Common Darter, and a teeny weeny baby Newt.
(Martyn Wilson, Marc Heath, John Cantelo & Steve Ashton)