Sightings can be Emailed to:
Martyn Wilson - firstname.lastname@example.org
Marc Heath - Heathym007@aol.com
Grove Ferry river trips visit here.
Number of species seen so far this year = 97
I made a 30 minute visit to Grove Ferry at lunchtime. The sun was threatening to come through but never quite managed it during the visit. Birds noted from the ramp and Feast hide were c30 Golden Plover, 2 Grey Heron, 19 Black headed Gull, c200 Lapwing, 1 Water Rail, 1 Bearded Tit, 1 Wigeon, 4 Tufted Duck, 2 Pochard and 3 Cetti's Warbler. There were 20 Mute Swan, 1 Water Pipit, c200 Teal, 13 Greylag Geese and 1 Marsh Harrier.
In a biting cold wind this morning, I ventured over to Grove Ferry arriving at 7.20am where as usual I spent 40 minutes watching from the ramp and trying to keep my fingers from not falling off. Birds noted were 6 Bewick's Swans including 5 adults which flew east from the back pool, 4 Reed Bunting, 1 Bullfinch, 44 Mute Swan, 45 Linnet out of roost, 9 Marsh Harrier, 7 Greylag Geese, 1 Water Pipit, 1 Pheasant and c100 Cormorant out towards Reculver. There were 4 Shelduck, 3 Corn Bunting, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Water Rail, 2 Tufted Duck, 1 ring tail Hen Harrier appeared quite close behind the screens before flying towards Stodmarsh and c110 Lapwing were present on the main pool with a few Teal.
I made 2 visits in the valley today, one before work at 7.20am for 40 minutes and another look at Grove between 3.30 - 4.30pm. Birds seen this morning included 33 Mute Swan, 4 Marsh Harrier, 1 ring tail Hen Harrier passed quite close to the ramp, 2 Cetti's Warbler, 17 Greylag Geese, c100 Lapwing, 1 Water Pipit, 61 Fieldfare, 5 Corn Bunting, Linnets were quite numerous with 39 seen flying south in small groups, 1 Great spotted Woodpecker, 1 Pied Wagtail, 1 Green Woodpecker, 1 Bearded Tit, 1 Kingfisher and c200 Cormorants out of the reserve. This afternoon there was glimpses of the sun but not enough to encourage any photography. Birds seen were 1 Jay, 21 Snipe, 1 Sparrowhawk, 8 Marsh Harrier, 1 ring tail Hen Harrier towards Stodmarsh, 2 Water Pipit, 18 Corn Bunting into roost, 1 Kestrel, c20 Linnet, 2 Cetti's Warbler, c200 Fieldfare and the first 2 Ring necked Parakeets of the year flew high east calling over the main car park.
Back for another day yhis time without the shower dodging with, Mark C, Alan Ashdown and 'Telephone' Bill. Two Snipe were heard calling in the dark and these were the only ones all day. Only 51 Mute Swans out today but there were 7 Bewick's Swans (6 adults) plus a Tawny Owl called near the river. There were 286 Lapwings, 17 Marsh Harriers, 1 Barn Owl, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 3 Bitterns (all from Feast Hide), 2 Redshanks and 6 Corn Buntings. There was 1 Kingfisher, 4 Pochards, 4 Gadwall, 5 Tufted Ducks, 1 Cetti's Warbler, 1 Curlew and 1 Little Egret. Unlike on the 15th there were only 4 Water Pipits at the Marsh hide plus other bits recorded were, 2 Sparrowhawks, 1 Pintail, 2 Grey Herons, 300 Fieldfares and 1 Kestrel.
A short session at Grove this morning, with Mark Chidwick and I dodging sometimes heavy rain showers. 99 Mute Swans left roost but no sign of any Bewick's. The first Corn Buntings of the year were seen with 15 leaving the reed bed just to the side of the viewing ramp. There were 172 Lapwings, 5 Marsh Harriers, 2 Hen Harriers (1 male), 1 Redshank and 1 Little Egret. From the Feast Hide with the assembled Mallard and Teal were, 4 Pochard, 3 Gadwall and 5 Tufted Ducks plus 2 Bitterns showed within the reeds for half an hour, though mostly obscured. There were 3 Cetti's Warblers, 1 Shelduck and 1 Dunlin while a brief visit to Stodmarsh only added, 12 Siskin, 1 Great-crested Grebe, another Bittern flushed from beside the lampen Wall and another 5 Shelducks.
I was out of the house this morning at 5.30am and drove over to the valley to see if any Owls could be heard. Not long after I arrived the wind picked up and rain began to fall. Needlees to say I did not have any joy with this. I then drove down to Stodmarsh where I walked up to the Lampern Wall to watch the Harriers out. In dull conditions I noted 5 Shelduck, 3 Cetti's Warbler, 87 Greylag Geese, c70 Fieldfare, c30 Redwing, 4 Water Rail, 12 Marsh Harrier, 2 ring tail Hen Harrier out of roost towards Grove, c250 Cormorant, 2 Water Pipit, 1 Snipe and c100 Lapwing. There were 8 Mute Swan, 1 Green Woodpecker, 2 Great crested Grebe, 1 Pochard, 1 Barn Owl hunting along the Lampern Wall, 3 Great spotted Woodpecker, 7 Long tailed Tit, 4 Siskin, 7 Pheasant, 1 Jay and as I walked back to the car via the nature trail path, 1 Bittern flew up from the small pond near the car park. Near Collards there were c60 Chaffinch feeding in the field.
I called in at Grove Ferry at 7.15am this morning and spent 45 minutes from the ramp in pleasant conditions but the mist slowly crept in. Birds noted were 51 Mute Swan, 63 Greylag Geese, 2 Cetti's Warbler, c120 Lapwing, 22 Fieldfare, 6 Bewick's Swans including 5 adults appeared from the back pool and made there way east towards their daily feeding grounds, 5 Marsh Harrier, 3 Water Pipit were flying around the main pool, 1 Green Woodpecker and 18 Cormorant. There were 5 Linnet, the first this year, c70 Teal, 2 Goldfinch, 1 Mistle Thrush, another year tick and back in the car park 7 Long tailed Tits fed high up in the trees.
I made a visit to Grove Ferry before work arriving at the ramp at 7.25am. The mornings seem to be gettiing lighter slowly now which will hopefully mean more birding time! I watched from the ramp until 8am and noted 61 Mute Swan out of roost, 2 Cetti's Warbler, 4 Marsh Harrier, 3 Shelduck, a year tick, 75 Greylag Geese, 6 Pied Wagtail, 1 Green Woodpecker, c60 Lapwing, 11 Fieldfare, 3 Water Pipit, 2 from the main pool on the mud, 1 Pheasant and 5 Cormorant. There were 2 Grey Heron, 1 Kingfisher, year tick number 2 today, 1 ring tail Hen Harrier and 1 Bittern flew in front of the ramp and landed in the reeds. On the way to work I added another year tick in the form of a Feral Pigeon!! I then made a second visit lunchtime for 30 minutes. Not much was around but 1 Bittern was on the newly cut area from the main pool. Although quite distant I rattled off a few shots. Also noted were c250 Lapwing, 1 Pochard, 8 Tufted Duck and back in the car park 3 Siskin fed with a few Goldfinch.
After work tonight I called in at Grove Ferry for an hour in surprisingly pleasant sunshine and little wind. I met Ben Ring at the entrance who was in the process with others of trying to move the Konik ponies to the newly cut area next to the ramp. I think they gave up on this one but nonetheless, hopefully the ponies will do their thing and keep the area open and well grazed. Birds noted from the ramp tonight were c60 Greylag Geese, 2 Bittern seen in flight, 1 near Harrisons and 1 near the Feast hide, also c440 Fieldfare, 2 Cetti's Warbler, 15 Mute Swan with c40 birds which may have contained Bewick's as I was leaving the reserve in dull light. There were c250 Lapwing, 1 Bearded Tit, 1 Greenfinch, 1 Goldfinch, 2 Marsh Harrier, 5 Water Pipit, 19 Corn Bunting into roost, 1 ring tail Hen Harrier, 1 Barn Owl hunting distantly behind Harrisons hide, 1 Great spotted Woodpecker and 1 Water Rail calling. All in all, a pleasant visit with a few more year ticks.
After a rather dull start first thing, the sun came out and we had an enjoyable walk around Westbere Lake before going on to Fordwich. Although we couldn’t add anything new to the Valley year list, there was a good variety of birds to be seen. At the Westbere end these included 14 Great Crested Grebes, 31 Mallard, 22 Pochard, 46 Tufted Duck, 82 Gadwall and a drake Goldeneye. We also saw small numbers of Greylag Geese, Teal and Shoveler and a flock of about 150 Lapwings across the river. Other birds noted included 2 Bitterns, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Stonechat, 3 Cetti’s Warblers, 2 Treecreepers, a flock of about 20 Siskins, 2 Reed Bunting, 1 Kestrel, 2 Herons, several Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 2 Green Woodpeckers and 2 Goldcrests. At Fordwich Lake we saw 6 Goldeneye (1 drake and 5 females) another 8 Great Crested Grebes and 20+ Teal. Because of the flooded footpaths, we weren’t able to walk right round Trenley and Stour Lakes. In fact everywhere was extremely wet and muddy underfoot, but it was so nice to be out on a calm day in the sunshine.
(Sue Morton and Pauline McKenzie Lloyd)
An hour at dusk produced 2 male Hen Harriers,4-5 ringtails and a Sparrowhawk.The wind and the fact that all the harriers roosted against the old colliery tip meant that it was impossible to count the incoming Marsh Harriers.
It was pretty quite today as it was so windy. We firstly went through the woods and saw 2 possible Siskins then we moved on to the lake as another birder told us that he saw a Black Necked Grebe but we never found it. We did see a lot of ducks though and this is what we saw Tufted Ducks, Wigeons, Goldeneyes, Mute Swans, Mallards, Teals, Shovelers, Pochards, Gadwall, 2 Great Crested Grebes, 4 Marsh Harriers and 2 Shelduck. Cormarants and Greylag Geese covering the far side of the lake. Also we saw a Bittern briefly as it flew over the reeds.
Not much of a birding day today as three (yes just three) of us sent the day in a voluntary work party clearing scrub between 10.00am & 4.00pm. Before that, from 7.00am Chiddy, Steve Ray and I watched the Harriers out of roost. There were 23 marsh harriers out and 3 ringtail hen Harriers with all but four Marsh harriers coming ot from the Collard's side of the reserve. Also today there were several Wigeon over plus with the usual Mallard, Shoveler and Teal there were 22 Pochard, 5 Tufted Duck and 1 Shelduck. There were 163 Greylag Geese on the lake. Steve and I went to Marsh Hide where we added 2 Bitterns, 1 Little Egret and 31 Water Pipits (possibly more!) . Two or three Cettis Warblers made thier presence known and during the work hours several Fieldfare were seen and a Common Buzzard flew over. I met Brendan Ryan and John Cantelo in the car park at 10.00am with Dave Rogers (reserve warden) and we made our way to where we would be working. Joining in with helping out with scrub clearing helps you realise just how much effort is put in by the management and volunteers to help maintain this reserve, it is a big reserve with too few people helping out. Below are some pictures of Brendan and John hard at it with Dave Rogers.
Another day of wind and rain, will it ever pass! I made a couple of brief visits into the valley today to hopefully pick up a few more year ticks. I left home in the rain this morning at 7.10am and drove over to Grove, the rain battering the car so I parked at the entrance track and aimed the car down the entrance track. With the windscreen wipers doing their best I managed to see 3 Woodcock coming into roost and Bewick's Swans could be heard calling in the slowly increasing light. c30 Mute Swans flew out which may have held some Bewick's but it was hard to make out through the rainy windscreen. Later in the day I had a quick drive around the Valley in a free lesson, stopping at Collards and a fleeting look at Grove. Birds noted were 1 Grey Heron, c100 Lapwing, 8 Greylag Geese, 13 Tufted Duck, 1 Goldeneye which was a year tick for me, 2 Marsh Harrier, 9 Pochard, 2 Pintail with another 2 at Grove, year tick number 2 today for me, 6 Siskin, c33 Shoveler, c60 Chaffinch feeding near Stodmarsh Court Farm, 5 Goldfinch and 45 Fieldfare.
I paid Grove Ferry a visit before work this morning arriving at 7.15am in the dark. Only a few Thrushes called as I walked up the track and no Woodcock were seen coming into roost. I spent 50 minutes from the ramp noting 15 Bewick's Swans leaving Grove and flying out towards Sarre to feed, c40 Greylag Geese, 3 Cetti's Warbler, 233 Fieldfare, 83 Mute Swan, 11 Marsh Harrier, 78 Cormorant, 1 Green Woodpecker, 1 Great spotted Woodpecker, 1 Redshank was new for me for the year, 1 Grey Heron and 3 Redwing. There were c120 Lapwing, 1 Sparrowhawk displaying, 1 Little Egret, c200 Teal and as I walked back up the entrance track to leave, I heard a a familiar trilling sound and looked up to see 2 Waxwing flying west over the paddock. They didn't hang around and were watched as they continued flying down the valley, another year tick for me.
Dusk again at Stodmarsh. No count for Marsh Harriers as they were all over the place and some came in very late,but 1 male Hen Harrier & 5 ringtails together. 2 Bitterns.
Four of us made an early start at Grove Ferry hearing Snipe, Grey Heron, Teal, Curlew, Wigeon, Lapwing and Redshank before we'd entered the reserve. On the Ramp we had 2 Woodcocks fly past and 10 Bewick's Swans were visible int the semi-darkness with Mute Swans. A Bittern flew low across the pool and dropped into the reeds alongside the Ramp. At 7.13am the 10 Bewick's Swans flew out of the reserve and out towards Sarre and at 7.21 another 9 Bewick's Swans flew down the reserve from the direction of Stodmarsh and carried on out towards the Ash Levels, a total of 19 Bewick's Swans plus, 63 Mute Swans out. Also at Grove were, 2 Cetti's Warblers, 7 Marsh Harriers, 1 Peregrine, 1 Shelduck, 1 adult female Hen Harrier and a Kestrel plus also noted were 6 Tufted Ducks, 2 Pochards, 1 Water Rail and a few Fieldfares. We then moved on to Fordwich and birded the Fordwich lakes, Trenleypark Woods and lake area noting a pair of Bullfinches in the village along the riverside and the first Greenfinches of the year with two by the church. Fordwich lakes were fairly quiet but there were 14 Pochard, 5 Goldeneye (1 drake), 1 Great-crested Grebe and several Gulls plus a few each of Mallard, Teal Shoveler and Tufted Duck. Trenleypark Wood was also quiet noting Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits plus 1 Coal Tit (another new one for the year) plus Several Redwing, 1 Kestrel, 1 Marsh Harrier, 6 Great-spotted Woodpeckers, 1 Green Woodpecker and a Woodcock. On the edge of Westbere Marshes and Trenleypark Lake were 1 Green Sandpiper, 78 Coots, 2 Grey Herons, 3 Little Grebes, 1 Bittern, 40 Siskins and 2 Treecreepers. A Mistle Thrush was in the fields above Fordwich and over at Stodmarsh Pauline McKenie-Lloyd had a couple of Redpolls.
(Martyn Wilson, Sue Morton, Mark Chidwick & Steve Ray)
Stodmarsh at dusk had, 25 Marsh Harriers in the air together on the colliery tip side,and at least another 5 on the Grove side. 1 male Hen Harrier & 3 ringtails, 1 Bittern & a Barn Owl.
Mark Chidwick added Canada Goose to the year list today with five off the ramp and, on Sunday 2nd Alan Ashdown added Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail. Both seen at the Reedbed Hide at Stodmarsh.
In pouring rain I made a visit to Grove Ferry before work at 7.15am noting 2 Woodcock along the entrance track which flew into the paddock in the slowly increasing light. Also plenty of Redwing and Fieldfare heard coming out of roost. I tried my best to shelter from the rain unsuccessfully at the ramp but a few new year ticks for me brightened up a dull morning. The highlight were the first 16 Bewick’s Swans of the year from the ramp which consisted of 11 adults and 5 juveniles. They stayed around for a while before 5 flew east and the others were still present although very vocal when I left. Other bits seen were 41 Greylag Geese, 2 Cetti’s Warbler, a few Shoveler and Teal, 90 Mute Swan and as I arrived at work 1 Waxwing was heard calling over the car park. I later managed a drive around the outskirts of the Valley at lunchtime in heavy rain, only really adding 1 Common Buzzard sat in trees near Higham Farm.
Unfortunately it was back to work today but luckily the children are not in until tomorrow! This gave me a chance to do a few hours birding late afternoon were I made my first visits of the year into the Stour Valley. I had a walk at Westbere lakes up to the river and later I cycled down to Grove for 30 minutes. I managed to log 57 species which gets me underway nicely. Birds noted were numerous Blue and Great Tits, 5 Jay, 33 Fieldfare with 18 at Grove, 3 Great spotted Woodpecker, 15 Tufted Duck, 15 Gadwall, 26 Pochard, 1 Great crested Grebe, 30 Redwing, 10 Long tailed Tit, c35 Siskin, 10 Cormorant, 1 Marsh Harrier with another 5 seen at Grove later on, 1 Snipe with 3 at Grove, 2 Goldcrest, 2 Cetti's Warbler with 2 at Grove and 3 Treecreeper. There is still quite alot of ice on the lakes and c1000 Gulls were present including Black headed, Herring, Common, Lesser and Great black backed Gulls. There were 3 Shoveler, 3 Teal with c300 at Grove from the ramp, 2 Grey Heron, 4 Water Rail, 4 Bullfinch, 2 Green Sandpiper seen near the river in the dykes, 3 Mute Swan, 2 Pheasant, 2 Wigeon with 11 at Grove, 1 Bittern flushed from close range as I entered a swim to scan the lakes, 1 drake Goosander, 4 Pied Wagtail, 2 Little Egret, 1 Kestrel, 7 Greylag Geese and 1 Green Woodpecker.
Stodmarsh and Collard's were watched today by myself and Mark Chidwick. I arrived first at Trenleypark Wood then Higham Farm listening for Owls before 6.00am but was only able to connect when I stopped at Collard's at 5.55 and heard 2 Tawny Owls calling. Mark met me in the carpark at 6.20 and we made our way along the Lampen Wall and did the morning watch from the Tower Hide. Birds today were 1 Peregrine Falcon seen on three occasions, one time when just 20-30 feet above us it took out a Redwing. There were 17 Marsh Harriers, 1 ringtail Hen Harrier, Wigeon, Teal, Fieldfare, 1 Water Rail, 1 Snipe and a Barn Owl. A Great-spotted Woodpecker dropped into the trees beside us and there was 1 Great-crested Grebe on the lake along with Shoveler, Gadwall and Mallard and a Merlin flew low over the lake and perched in a dead tree. Along with Blue Tit, Great Tit, 18 long-tailed Tits, 1 Green Woodpecker we added Song Thrush and 85 Siskin for the year. Walking through the village we had a Woodcock on the outskirts, a Shelduck flew over towards the reserve as we walked towards Collard's and a drake Pintail flew towards Seaton as we walked back. There were 135 Eurasian White-fronted Geese in the fields at Collard's while on Collard's were numerous Wigeon, Pochard, Shoveler and Tufted Duck plus several Teal and Gadwall plus 4 Goldeneye (1 drake) while a Common Buzzard was sitting on a nearby fence post. There were 4 Yellowhammers in the bushes alongside the carpark as we returned. Dropping in at Grove on the way through we looked from the ramp where we added 1 Water Pipit, 1 Bearded Tit and 22 Golden Plover.
Another half day in the Valley with just Mark Chidwick and I watching Grove, Collard's and Cow Corner. No sign of any Hen Harriers this morning but 18 Marsh Harriers out. New for the year was a Barn Owl hunting of the Feast Hide reedbed rom 7.10-7.30am and both Redshank and Grey Heron were new to the year list. Several Teal and Wigeon present plus a few Shoveler, a Cetti's Warbler called as did a Water Rail and 2 Sparrowhawks, 1 Bearded Tit and a Woodcock found by Norman McCanch were all new for 2011. Little Egret, Reed Bunting, Long-tailed Tit, Fieldfare, Redwing, 3 Green Woodpeckers and 89 Mute Swans were all noted plus Mark had a Bullfinch as we left. At Collard's there were 4 Goldeneye (2 drakes), 124 Eurasian White-fronted Geese and 20 Stock Doves plus Wigeon, Tufted Duck and Pochard as well as several hundred Gulls of 5 species. We added Rook and Jackdaw at Cow Corner. Meanwhile Brendan had 3 Water Pipits and a Peregrine at Stodmarsh.
A half days birding at Grove Ferry, Collard's and Westbere with Sue Morton, Mark Chidwick and Brendan Ryan recorded a mere sixty four species, they were. Little Grebe, Great-crested Grebe, Cormorant, 2 Bitterns, 2 Little Egrets, Mute Swan, 117 Eurasian White-fronted Geese and a drake Mandarin. There were, Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal Mallard, Shoveler, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, 1 drake Goosander, 19 Marsh Harrier, 1 adult female Hen Harrier, Kestrel and Pheasant. Also, Water rail, Coot, Moorhen, Lapwing, Dunlin, Snipe, Curlew, 1 Green Sandpiper, Black-headed, Common, Herring, Lesser Black-backed and Great Black-backed Gulls as well as, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Green & Great-spotted Woodpecker, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, 3 Waxwings, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, 1 Stonechat, Blackbird, Fieldfare and Redwing. Finally there were, Cetti's Warbler, Goldcrest, Long-tailed, Blue & Great Tit, Jay, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Chffinch, Goldfinch, Yellowhammer and Reed Bunting.