For more of Kent's Bird & Wildlife photography visit -
Sightings can be Emailed to:
Martyn Wilson - firstname.lastname@example.org
Brendan Ryan - email@example.com
Marc Heath - Heathym007@aol.com
Marc, Martyn & Brendan
Number of species recorded in the valley this year so far = 167
What a day, if I can use that phrase again after just a week?. What started of as a dull, damp, drizzly morning was brightened up by the appearance of yet another addition to the valley list during this recent purple patch, with some good quality birds being noted. At 11.30am at Collard's, Steve Ray pointed out a male Marsh Harrier flying towards the wooded area at the top of the road south of Greater Puckstone Farm, TR207600, when I noticed another raptor circling not far beyond. This bird was a Black Kite, seen well by myself, Brendan, Steve Ray and David Brown, as it circled above the wood drifted of west and then north/west over Westbere. Then at 1.30pm I picked out the sub-adult male Red-footed Falcon in a dead tree in Collard's Lake and at 2.25 the adult female Red-footed Falcon was located, with both birds together in the same tree for a short while. Also 3 Hobbies were there and several hundred+ Swifts. Leading up to these great moments in valley birding, during my 12 hour stint (3.25am-3.40pm), we also had recorded, 1 Long-eared Owl, 1 Tawny Owl, 5 Grey Herons, 2 Sparrowhawks, 3 Great-crested Grebes (at Grove), 8+ Common Terns, 11 Tufted Ducks, 3 Shelducks and 6+ Cettis Warblers. There were, 2 Water Rails, a pair of Pochards, 1 Kingfisher, 3 drake Teal and a cracking drake Red-crested Pochard on the main pool at Grove. While sitting out the drizzle in (new) Green Hide it was evident many birds had chicks as Reed Buntings and Sedge Warblers were watched just out to the front of the hide, carrying food in and faetal sacs out, plus a family of 5 Bearded Tits between this hide and the ramp. Also at Grove today were, 2 Green Sandpipers, 2 Little-ringed Plovers, 2 Ringed Plovers, 4 Black-headed Gulls, 1 drake Garganey, 1 Pied Wagtail, 7 Marsh Harriers and 1 Lesser Whitethroat. While at Stodmarsh, additions to the days tally were, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Jay and several hirundines that were mostly Sand Martins with just a few House Martins and Swallows, although more of the last two were seen later at Collard's.
(Martyn Wilson, Marc Heath & Steve Ashton)
Out to a dull, damp and drizzly Stodmarsh this morning. Few birds inevidence - a mixed flock of 30 odd hirundines and a handful of Swift low over the water, 3 Marsh Harrier, a couple of Cuckoos and the usual cacophony of warblers. A particularly sharp downpour meant a hasty retreat to shelter in the Tower Hide. At 10:40 an egret flew over the main pool - a quick check in the bins proved it to be a Great-white Egret not the expected Little! The illusion that the rain was lifting sent us off to the Stodmarsh road to check Collards, but by the time we got there it was clear the rain wasn't about to give up its grip. After several careful scans a only few Common Terns, but no Hobby, were seen. With the drizzling continuing, we stopped off at 'Cow Corner' in the optimistic hope that the Great White Egret mightjust be in view - astonishingly it was! It was hulking in a distant drainage ditch, but not too far to prevent seeing the yellow bill.
This is turning out to be some year as far as quality goes. I received a text from John mid morning alerting me to the news of the Egret. At lunchtime I checked the phone again and another text from John had me rushing for the car keys and driving up to cow corner. I only had binoculars with me but the Great white Egret was easily picked out on the water meadows, although views were somewhat distant. The locals were all contacted including Sue Morton who thankfully took her camera to record the occasion (see below).
After a text message from John Cantelo hat he'd had a Great-white Egret over the lake at Stodmarsh and another later to say it was at Cow Corner, I left work at 1.45 and headed into the Valley. At 2.00pm I was at Cow Corner (in the rain) scoping a distant breedding plumaged Great-white and watched it for 45minutes before it took flight and towards Fordwich where it appeared to drop down at the back of Fordwich lakes where it backs onto Westbere marshes. A short stop at Collard's (still raining) I connected with the adult female Red-footed Falcon sitting in a dead tree at 3.00pm before it joined 3 Hobbies hawking the east end of Collard's Lake. Thanks for the text John.
A tour around the valley this evening was a little quiet compared to recent days. Highlight was a drake Red-crested Pochard on the lake at Stodmarsh. Bitterns were heard booming in 2 locations, there were 2 Hobbies at Collard's and Stodmarsh and 3 at Grove, 2 Grey Partridge at Grove plus LRP and Wood Sandpipers heard in the dark
A brief visit to Collards this evening (19:00 - 20:00) produced distant views of 2 Red-footed Falcons ( female and not fully Ad male) hawking over the reedbed and occasionally perched in the dead trees. Alslo present up to 10 Hobbies and a distant Barn Owl hunting along the slopes beyond the tip on the Hersden side of the river.
At 13:10 today I had a White Stork high over Canterbury City Centre. It circled slowly heading NE over the Cathedral and heading along the valley. It was being casually mobbed by a couple of Herring Gulls.
The Stour Valley birding just keeps getting better and better. I spent a few hours in the valley today visiting Collards and Stodmarsh reserve. The Whiskered Tern was seen prior to my arrival on Collards until 7.30am but was not seen again during the day. The adult female Red footed Falcon showed well on and off for most of the morning although quite distant. c15 Hobby were also in the area along with 1 Kestrel, 1 Common Buzzard, 3 Marsh Harrier and 1 Sparrowhawk. At 12.40pm I picked out a large bird flying West, It was a cracking White Stork. The Stork gave good scope views before gaining height towards Canterbury.This was a Valley tick for both myself and Phil Parker. With people turing up for the bird feast it was not long before I located a Red Kite which flew in over our heads and headed North, then East down the valley. The Kite was seen again a little later high over Grove before departing. I had arranged to meet Steve Ashton late afternoon at Stodmarsh so I positioned myself on the Lampen Wall to check out whatever flew over. There were c10 Hobby flying over the Lampen Wall, I started scoping them when suddenly it happened. A superb 1st summer male Red footed falcon was just over my head, I got good scope views before chucking my rucksack off my back and grapping the camera. Without checking any settings I clicked away. I got a few 'record' shots of this beauty but you can just make out that its a Red foot I think ( see below). Had Steve been 5 minutes earlier the photos I'm sure would have been better! Other birds seen included 2 Garden Warbler, 2 Sparrowhawk, 7 Blackcap, 7 Chiffchaff, 2 Cuckoo, 3 Turtle Dove, 15 Common Tern, 6 Cetti's Warbler, 1 Bittern, 2 Jay, 6 Shelduck, 1 Nightingale plus the usual common species. Magic, Magic and Magic.
I was out early this morning leaving home at 3.45am and arriving in the Valley just before 4am. I must be mad as I have a full day at work ahead of me! Birds noted at Stodmarsh and Grove Ferry included the adult Whiskered Tern on the main lake at Stodmarsh, which stayed on the posts on the far side of the lake in the drizzle and hardly moved for an hour or so. 4 Hobbies were hawking over the Lampen wall at 4.27am, 1 Bittern, 3 Cuckoo, 12 Common Tern, 2 Little Egret, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Grey Heron, 2 Jay, c15 Long tailed Tits and 1 Shelduck. There was 7 Tufted Duck, 6 Pochard, 1 Green Sandpiper, 3 Marsh Harrier, 1 Water Rail, 5 Great crested Grebe, 5+ Cetti’s Warbler, a few Blackcap singing and c10 Sand Martin seen. With new of the Red footed Falcon being seen again at collards, I decided to spend my lunch hour there. I joined a handful of birders and saw c10 Hobby, 1 Common Buzzard and the highlight was a Honey Buzzard that I picked out flying West at 1.30 - 1.37pm. Most of the other birders got on this and this continued the excellent raptors seen lately in the Valley.
2 Red footed Falcon's were seen mid afternoon at collards, a first summer male and the adult female along with 37 Hobby as reported on the RBA pagers
The Whiskered Tern spent the morning commuting between Collard’s Lake and the main lake at Stodmarsh. It spent quite some time at lunchtime sitting on the posts at the far side of the main lake. Also present were two Hobbies at Collard’s and 23 together over the Lampen Wall about 1.30. Also a Common Buzzard and three Marsh Harriers.
(John van der Dol)
The Whiskered Tern was reported early on from the main lake at Stodmarsh before moving on to Collards for the rest of the day. The female Red footed Falcon was seen again from Collards as reported from the RBA pagers.
The adult Whiskered Tern was again present at Stodmarsh, this time on the main lake. Picking it up in flight over the raft at 5.45 where it then landed at the back of the lake behind the 'Cormorant' tree on a small post. It spent the best part of an hour here before having another little fly round and then back to the post. It showed very well over the Lampen Wall, the main lake and occasionally going as far as Paddy's Bench and back with a great deal of time spent on this far away perch between 5.45 and 10.30 when we headed back to the Ramp. Although the Whiskered Tern showed very well at times, the drizzly dank weather made taking decent photographs was nigh on impossible. Also noted at Grove/Stodmarsh today were, 2 Hobbiesby the new hide (no longer green) at 4.22, 4 Cuckoo's, 3 Turtle Doves, 4 Little Egrets, 3 Chiffchaffs, 6 Whitethroats,, 3 Garden Warblers, 5 Blackcaps, 7 Cetti's and several Reed and Sedge Warblers. There were, 5 Marsh Harriers, 14+ Common Terns, 5 Great-crested Grebes, 4 Shelduck, 16+ Long-tailed Tits (one flock), 3 Grey Herons 1 Bittern, 2 Jays and a Great-spotted Woodpecker. Also today were, 2 Bearded Tits, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Kestrel, 1 Snipe and a small amount of hirundines and Swifts plus all the usual Common stuff.
(Martyn Wilson, Marc Heath, Steve Ashton, Alan Ashdown, Steve Ray & Pete Solly)
The adult female Red-footed Falcon was again present at Collard's this afternoon, also the adult Whiskered Tern was hawking at distance over Collard's.