Marc, Martyn & Brendan
Marc Heath - Heathym007@aol.com
Number of species recorded in the valley this year so far = 154
Non Avian sightings
An early start was made today at 3am with the intention of checking out some Owl sites before it got light around 4am. The Bittern was heard at 3.19am and it continued to call on and off for a few hours. On the Owl front, 1 Tawny Owl was heard and 5 Little Owls noted, 2 of which showed very well together. I eventually drove to Grove and visited the ramp, Green hide, Harrisons hide and a wander around the general area before leaving for a brief look at Stodmarsh triangle for Corn Buntings etc. I eventually went home at 8.30am, the following were noted: 1 Hobby, 2 Kestrel, 2 Marsh Harrier, 1 Greenshank, 5 Cuckoo, 3 Nightingale, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Goldfinch and 3 Linnet. There were good numbers of Reed and Sedge Warblers singing with the odd Bearded Tit seen. Also 1 Kingfisher showed well at times from the Green hide causing some serious camera action, 1 Great crested Grebe, 4 Tufted Duck, 3 Pochard, 3 Grey Heron, 2 Water Rail, 1 Green Woodpecker, 1 Great spotted Woodpecker, 2 Pied Wagtail and the usual assortment of Ducks from the ramp. I made a brief visit to the triangle at Stodmarsh just above the reserve and noted c8 Corn Bunting, 2 Yellow Wagtail and a few Skylark, Goldfinch and Greenfinch. I met a birder at Grove who had a probable male Montagu's Harrier high West over the tree line at 6.30am.
The problem with pagers is not the temptation to chase after lots of rare birds all over the country, rather it is that they generate a level of optimism that never is matched by the reality. And so it was today. The pager reported the arrival of rarities and scare migrants in all parts and they were for the most part birds that could easily have turned up in the valley. So I abandoned thoughts of domestic chores and duties and set off into the valley this evening. 15 minutes later I was on the ramp counting duck again ( for the record there were 111 Mallard, 59 Gadwall, 8 Tufted dick, 2 Pochard, 3 Teal, 1 Shoverler and 1 Ruddy Duck). The Hepatic Cuckoo showed well around the ramp and a "normal" Cuckoo spent some time sitting on Harrison's Drove occasionally diving into the reeds to collect large hairy caterpillars. There were 3 Little Egrets and a single Hobby in the area and a Greenshank at the Marsh Hide. The Bittern was again very vocal. Herring Gulls were much in evidence with 200 in fields just south of Grove and another 300 near Collard's. Finally I spent some time watching 3 fox cubs in fields near the Marsh Hide
At Grove Ferry today were, 2 Greenshanks, 5 Turtle Doves, 5 Cuckoo's including the hepatic bird showing well again and many Reed & Sedge Warblers and Whitethroats. Only two Lesser Whitethroats were noted. An unusual sound that had been eluding us for several weeks was finally tracked down to a Water Rails song (you learn something everyday), while the familiar sound of the booming Bittern was still evident near marsh hide. Bird of the day was undoubtably a fine, if not, soggy looking Short-eared Owl at 7.25 that flew down middle drove north and over the oxbow. There were 4 Little Egrets, 1 Redshank, 2 Jays, 5 Common Terns, several each of Meadow Pipits, Skylarks and Swifts as well as Sand Martins, whilst only 5 Swallows were seen and 8 House Martins. A drake Garganey was on right hand pool and there were, 2 Snipe, 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker, 1 Mistle Thrush, 6 Shelducks, 7 Tufted Ducks and 5 Pochards. A Hobby flew over main pool at 10.10 and again at 10.37 and 2 Yellow Wagtails were behind Harrison's Drove hide. Also there were, 3 Teal, 1 Green Woodpecker, 1 Great-crested Grebe and 4 Lapwings.
(Martyn Wilson, Marc Heath, Alan Ashdown & Steve Ashton)
Arriving at the ramp at 4.45 on a beautiful still calm morning with, no wind and none of that promised rain. Shame then, that there weren't any birds other than the usual bits that can be found here most days, although 2 Greenshanks and the Ringed Plover were still present. I had the one, and only Hobby at 4.58 and the Bittern was still booming away near marsh hide. There were 2 Little Egrets on the reserve and then 6 flew in from the east over Collard's and settling on the right hand pool. There were, 2 Redshanks, 5 Marsh Harriers, 1 Kestrel, 1 Sparrowhawk, 18 Common Terns, 6 Stock Doves and good numbers of, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Linnets and Goldfinch. Wildfowl included, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Shoveller, Gadwall, Mallard, a drake Ruddy Duck, 2 Teal and 6 Shelducks plus there were 8 Great-crested Grebes. Warblers were represented by, Cetti's, Reed, Sedge, Whitethroat, Blackcap, Garden Warbler and Chiffchaff and there were many Swfts and a few Sand Martins. Also Today were, 5 Turtle Doves, 4 Jays, 1 Green Woodpecker, 2 Lapwings, several Bearded Tits, 2 Great-spotted Woodpeckers, 1 Kingfisher and 1 Little Grebe. Marc had 3 Yellow Wagtails and 3 Corn Buntings at Stodmarsh Triangle.
(Martyn Wilson, Pete Solly, Steve Ashton & Mike Gould)
A quick look at Collard's in the afternoon produced 15 Common Terns, 250 Swifts and a Hobby
A 4.00am start in the drizzle and it appeared that a few waders had dropped in overnight with, 3 Greenshank, 4 Redshanks, 4 Dunlin, 1 Ringed Plover and a Common Sandpiper all on show, still to much water and no mud though! There were at least 4 Cuckoo's including the superb hepatic, rufous, individual that allowed many photographs to be taken (see below). Also today were, 5 Canada Geese, 8 Common Terns, 6 Marsh Harriers (4 males), 2 Water Rails, 1 Great-crested Grebe, 4 Little Egrets and 2 Lapwings plus 9 more that flew east. There were 2 drake Garganey on the main pool all morning, 2 shelducks, 2 Teal, 8 Tufted Ducks, 4 Pochards, 3 Ruddy Ducks (1 female) and the Bittern was again booming near marsh hide. Second highlight of the day, following the Cuckoo, was a superb Honey Buzzard that circled over the ramp from 12.15-12.25, to high for a decent photo?, while all usual suspects were noted, 1 Great-spotted and 1 Green Woodpeckers, several Bearded Tits, half a dozen Swifts and several hundred Sand Martins. There were 6+ Turtle Doves, 1 Kestrel, Reed & Sedge Warblers, Whitethroat, Cetti's, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Garden Warblers and Blackcaps. Also a few Long-tailed Tits, a handful of Swallows and House Martins and a single Hobby as I was departing.
(Martyn, Marc, Alan, Steve & Brendan)
A brief visit to Grove in the evening wasn't desperately productive and I ended up having to count the duck which is fairly sad in January let alone May! There were 94 mallard ( of which 79 were drakes), 2 Ruddy Duck, 25 Gadwall, 10 Pochard and a drake Garganey. Fortunately it started to rain before I counted the Teal and Shoveler. The only other thing of note were a pair of displaying Gt-cr grebes.
I visited the Grove Ferry reserve this morning, from 05.30am until 09.45 am. I noted a party of Long-tailed Tits passing through the trees as I entered the reserve with 3 Goldfinches, a singing Nightingale, Chaffinch, Wren, 1 female Blackcap, 2 Robins and 2 Blackbirds. The normal wildfowl were seen from the ramp, being Mallard, Teal, Gadwall and Shoveller, but a drake Garganey was showing well, albeit from the far side of the main lake. Also noted were 4 Mute Swans, Reed Buntings, and Cettis Warblers were in song all around the Grove end of the reserve. The path to the Harrison’s hide produced 2 fine looking Linnets, Skylarks, 3 Meadow Pipits, and a pair of Redshank flew over, and landed in the pool to the front of the Harrison’s drove hide. Nothing else of note at the hide, bar a few far off Shoveller ducks, and 1 Little Egret. The rest of the time was spent in the turf field hide, where Pochard, Common Tern, Kingfisher and 1 Little Grebe were added to the list. Other birds either seen or heard were Collard and Turtle Doves, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Jackdaws, 1 male Ruddy Duck, and 2 Great-crested Grebes, along with Bearded Tit, Reed and Sedge Warblers. A Cuckoo and 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker flew across the pool in front of the turf field hide.12 + Swallows were noted as were 4 House Martins but only 1 Swift. No sign of any Sand Martins whilst I was there.
Just to let you know that during this brief visit I heard a Bittern booming about 2000 close to the Tree Hide, also counted 27 Common Terns on or near the raft, saw a couple of Turtle Doves, 3 Marsh Harrier and at least 5 'singing' Cettis. Was a brilliant evening and I think I even made a new birding convert of a mate.
Yet another pre work visit to the ramp at Grove, this time in glorious sunshine. Again not that much around but being May you never though! The following birds were logged 7.30 - 8am: 3 Common Tern, 3 Cetti's Warbler, 3 Turtle Dove, 1 Green Woodpecker, 2 Redshank, 2 Great crested Grebe and 1 Grey Heron. There was 6 Tufted Duck, 1 drake Ruddy Duck, 1 Pochard, 2 Shelduck, 2 Goldfinch, 2 Whitethroat, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Little Egret, 1 Skylark and good numbers of Sedge Warbler singing with the odd Reed Warbler heard also. 2 Swallows lingered around the ramp and showed well in the morning sunshine.
I visited the ramp before work every day last week but saw nothing worthy of a note on this site. The high water level has restricted the wader habitat in a period when we might have hoped to pick up Sanderling or Turnstone both of which seem to pass through inland sites at this time of year. In fact a single Lapwing on Friday was the only wader I saw all week. The wader situation improved a little last night with single Greenshank and Redshanks. Also present were 2 Little Egrets and a Red-legged Partridge which dropped into the reedbed! The Bittern was booming regularly from 8.30 onwards. A Little Owl was seen by John Cantelo near Stodmarsh village as we drove home.
I took a brief walk around lunchtime at Fordwich, taking in the footpath along the river and then back along Westbere Canal. After 5 minutes the heaven's opened so not surprisingly not alot was seen or heard. However with soaking clothes I managed to see the following: 6 Chiffchaff, 2 Jay, 5 Blackcap, 2 Green Woodpecker, 7 Long tailed tit, 1 Cuckoo and 4 Cetti's Warbler. A few Swifts were overhead and the occasional Reed Warbler was heard.
A glorious day brightened further with the company of Dylan on a full circuit on this once (see 1999 KBR) bird abundant reserve! Recorded today were, 1 Bittern still booming, 3.25 until at least 9.30, 1 Little Owl, 1 Tawny Owl, 5 Cuckoo's including a fabulous rusty red hepatic individual (shame about the photo?) and the first of 28 Hobbies seen at 4.10. There were 5 Marsh Harriers, 9 Turtle Doves, 2 Great-crested Grebes (Grove), 11 Tufted Ducks, 6 Pochards, 6 Shelducks, 18 common Terns and just 2 Redshank and 2 Lapwings representing the Wader corner!!! Three Little Egrets flew out of the reserve early while 4 more were present all day, 1 Kestrel was seen and there were, 11 Nightingales, several each of Blackcap & Whitethroat, 4 Lesser Whitethroats, 3 Garden Warblers and many Reed and Sedge Warblers. Only a handful of Swifts today (all probably feeding high up in the glorious sunshine) 12 or so, 8+ Swallows but no House or Sand Martins. Also today were, 10 Long-tailed Tits, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Yellow wagtail, a female Ruddy Duck, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Yellowhammer, 1 Peregrine and 3 Great-spotted Woodpeckers.
(Martyn Wilson, Dylan Wrathall, Alan Ashdown, Steve Ashton & Marc Heath)
The morning started at 4.00am with the Bittern still booming, while Marc was recording 2 Little and 1 Tawny Owl during his early wanderings. Plenty of Nigtingales were in song as were Reed & Sedge Warblers, several Blackcaps and a couple of Garden Warblers with just one Lesser Whitethroat recorded today. There were 3+ Cuckoo's, 2 Great-crested Grebes, 2 Redshanks and 4 Hobbies were hunting around green hide at 4.29 whilst, another 14 were later at Collard's Lake. An immature Spoonbill flew in at 5.20 and left again at 5.40 (not allowing any photographs to be taken). There were, 14 Common Terns, a drake Ruddy Duck, 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Kestrels and 6 Marsh Harriers, one being a migrant young male. Today saw at least 1000 Swifts feeding at chasing each other everywhere you looked but, only a handful of Swallows & Sand Martins and just half a dozen House Martins. A Common Buzzard flew west mid mornig whilst a Red Kite hung around over the ramp for at least 20 mins at a very great height. A distinct lack of Waders once again, despite suitable places at Harrison's and Marsh hides?
(Martyn Wilson, Marc Heath, Alan Ashdown & Pete Solly)
With the weather slightly better I made my way up to the ramp at Grove for 30 minutes before work in the anticipation that something good would have dropped in overnight, sadly it hadn’t. The following were noted before the clouds once again rolled in: 1 Turtle dove was purring from the paddock, 3 Cetti’s Warbler, 2 Robin, 1 Marsh Harrier, 38 Gadwall, 8 Pochard, 1 Chiffchaff, 3 Common Tern noisily chasing each other around the reserve and 1 Green Woodpecker. There was 1 Grey Heron, 2 Linnet, 1 Skylark, 1 Shelduck, 1 Little Grebe called, 1 Cuckoo and good numbers of Swift still present with lesser numbers of Sand, House Martins and a few Swallows.
Has winter returned! I had a brief 45 minutes at the ramp at Grove tonight sheltering from the gale force wind and driving rain. Not that much noted but the following seen between 3.45pm - 4.30pm: 34 Gadwall, 8 Tufted Duck, 2 Marsh Harrier, 9 Shelduck, 1 Hobby showing well in a tree out in the reedbed, 2 Cetti's Warbler and 2 Cuckoo. There was 1 Pochard, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Green Woodpecker, 2 Ruddy Duck, 3 Goldfinch, 1 Greenfinch, 1 Pied Wagtail, 3 Cormorant and only a couple of Reed Warblers heard in the wind. There was c250 Swift over the area with a few Sand and House Martins and 2 Swallow.
A Bittern was heard booming from the marsh hide area tonight, from 6.00pm until we left at 7.30pm.
Typical! You spend a whole day trying to locate a very common bird, REDSHANK, during the big day and then two turn up large as life the very next day, also a Ring-necked Parakeet was heard today, another omission from yesterdays big count. Oh well! there's always next year. Unfortunatley it was a bit of a washout today so not a very exciting read but, noted today were, 1 Tawny Owl calling along the river between 4-4.30am, 3+ Cuckoo's including a hepatic morph, and as its only the females that appear in this form, easy to sex. There were, several singing Nightingales, 1 Water Rail, 4 Marsh Harriers, 7+ Turtle Doves, 3 Chiffchaffs, 2 Blackcaps, 2 drake & 1 female Ruddy Ducks and a female Wheatear (around the ramp all morning). At the Grove end were, 3 Common Terns, 41 Gadwall (only 3 females), 4 Pochards, 1 Green Woodpecker, 4 Cetti's Warblers, 8 Tufted Ducks and 2 Great-crested Grebes. Reed and Sedge Warblers were all very vocal before the rains and a passgage of Swallows were moving north with 150-200 at Grove and Brendan recording 600+ between 6.15 and 6.45 at Stodmarsh, plus he had the Bittern "booming" between 6.15 and 8.00am. There were, 6 Shelducks, 2 Great-spotted Woodpeckers, 1 Ring-necked Parakeet, 2 Redshanks, many Swifts, 2 Lapwings and 1 Little Grebe. Thats about it for today.
(Martyn Wilson, Brendan Ryan & Steve Ashton)
12th May (footnote) ?
Feral Pigeon was seen today but not added to the list so, technically we reached 97 but, we would only really of added it if we had been stuck on 99 and it was the only way of reaching the Hundred mark.
With the "Big Day" upon us and the task of counting One Hundred species in the middle Stour valley, during the course of the day. Everything started fine with Marc out at 2.00am and us reaching 95 sp by midday then adding number 96 at 12.10 and, well, that was it, no more additions, in the words of Phil Collins "We missed again, i think we missed again", missing out on Redshank, Grey Partridge and Common Buzzard, three species although not all easy, are expected. Neither of these three were seen by anyone today. Here follows the list of all seen and/or heard between 2.00am and 4.30pm:- Little Grebe 1, Great-crested Grebe, Cormorant, Bittern 1, Little Egret 4, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Shelduck, Gadwall, Teal, Mallard, Garganey, Shoveler, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Ruddy Duck, Marsh Harrier, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Hobby 5, Red-legged Partridge 6+, Pheasant, Water Rail, Moorehen, Coot, Avocet 2, Lapwing, Ruff 1, Snipe, Greenshank 1+, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Common Tern, Stock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Turtle Dove, Cuckoo, Barn Owl, Little Owl, Tawny Owl, Swift, Kingfisher, Green Woodpecker, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Skylark, Sand Martin, Swallow, House Martin, Meadow Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Nightingale, Wheatear 2, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Cetti's Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Goldcrest, Bearded Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Coal Tit 1, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Treecreeper, Jay, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Bullfinch, Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting and Corn Bunting 12+. Many thanks to all the people who came along and helped out with all sightings today and we hope to see you all back in the valley soon. This also includes Mark & Liz who came all the way from East Grinstead who, we took on a tour of the valley showing them some of the sites often mentioned in these pages.
(Martyn, Marc, Brendan, Steve, Alan and also Tony Witts as well as Tony Swandale, Ray Turley, Chris Abrams, Dylan Wrathall et al.)
A brief visit was made to Grove this morning before work at 7.30am for half an hour to see what had arrived overnight. If we are to attempt 100 species on Saturday there needs to be a good selection of waders present, there was not many this morning. The following were noted from the ramp until 8am: 2 Blackcap, 1 Skylark, 2 Nightingale, 2 Cetti’s Warbler, 2 Great spotted Woodpecker, 2 Linnet, 19 Gadwall, 3 Shelduck and 6 Little Egret. There was a fine drake Garganey showing well from the ramp, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Ruddy Duck, 1 Great crested Grebe, 1 Cuckoo, 2 Tufted Duck, 2 Common Tern, 3 Pochard, 1 Green Woodpecker, 2 Marsh Harrier, 1 Chiffchaff, 5 Swift and a few Sand Martins. The usual Reed and Sedge Warblers were very vocal in the reeds.
Todays birding was hindered by rain showers and strong south/westerly winds, making decent counts and full circuit walks untenable. A Tanwy Owl was calling at 4.30, 3 Nightingales sung around the Paddocks, Reed and Sedge Warblers were very vocal and the first of just 3 Hobbies was seen at 4.48. There were 5 Marsh Harriers, a drake Ruddy Duck, the usual pair of Great-crested Grebes from the ramp plus, another outside Green Hide. Ten Shelducks were counted, 2 Common terns, 5 Little Egrets, 2 Redshanks, 2 Snipe and a Kestrel. Wader numbers were very low with no sign of any Wood Sands, just 1 Ruff, an elusive Ringed Plover, but, we did see the first Temminck's Stint of the year (nice find Steve) that showed well but, to distant for photographs, until flushed by a Hobby at 10.40, not to be seen again! A Great-spotted Woodpecker flew over the main pool, large nunbers of Sand Martins and Swifts fed low over the whole reserve with a small number of Swallows and House Martins. A Common Buzzard flew up river at 10.00am (thanks for the call Brendan), a Little Grebe call 3 times in front of Green Hide plus 11 Tufted Ducks and 6 Pochards were noted. Alan and I saw a Stoat on the entrance track as we left at 1.00pm.
(Martyn, Brendan, Alan, Steve and Pete)
One other addition today was a Common Buzzard over this afternoon. The Wood Sandpiper still showed on and of from the ramp plus 2 Hobbies and 5 Marsh Harriers.
The biggest suprise of the morning was finding Brendan already on site (3.45am) before either Marc or I had arrived!! Birding until 1.00pm with Brendan to add further news when returning this afternoon, making the note book today were, 1 Tawny Owl, the "booming" Bittern, 3 Cuckoo's, 5 Hobbies, 1 Water Rail, 3 Turtle Doves and 5+ Marsh harriers. There were 3 Little Egrets, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 13 Common Terns, 1 Jay, 1 Corn Bunting, 1 Lesser Whitethroat and 5 Bullfinches. Numerous Whitethroat, Reed & Sedge Warblers, 9 Cetti's, 5 Chiffchaffs and several Blackcaps were the best of the Warblers while 7 Nightingales were also noted. Our first 2 Common Sandpiers of the year were on the raft at Stodmarsh, following Brian Shorts flyover yesterday. There were 2 Great-spotted Woodpeckers, 4 Grey Herons, 1 Meadow Pipit (needed for Brendans big weekend count),11 Shelducks, 6 Pochards and 7 Tufted Ducks. Today there was only 1 Wood Sandpiper and 1 Ruff plus an elusive Ringed Plover that Brendan didn't quite connect with (maybe later!). Again the Swifts, Swallows and Martins were low, in similar numbers as yesterday. The Bearded Tits were busy flitting across the reed tops while 1 Little Grebe called from within the reeds to the right of the ramp and the pair of Great-crested Grebes showed as well. There were 2 Redshanks, 1 Snipe, 1 Green Woodpecker and 38 Gadwall were on the main pool.
(Martyn Wilson, Brendan Ryan & Marc Heath)
I think that Marc started his stint in the valley today before I actually went to bed and as a result I arrived in the valley some 7 hours after Marc started and I felt obliged to stay on for the afternoon shift to ensure that I had done my bit for the day! The overcast conditions and cold north easterly winds made it hard work but I managed to add the following to the mornings sightings already reported by Martyn. 2 Greenshank ( Harrison's and Marsh Hide), 4 Hobbys ( Marsh Hide and Collard's), 19 Common Terns at Collard's plus 18 at Stodmarsh, a Whimbrel, east at 3.30, Ring-necked Parakeet and 2 Red-legged Partridge. I recorded 85 species for the day and with the additional species seen by Marc or Martyn and other common resident species like meadow pipit that I failed to see means that the day total for the valley is likely to have been around 100 species
The only nocturnal notings today was the Bittern booming at 3.17, although it could also be heard somewhere behind Marsh Hide between 6.45-7.30, and 12 Nightingales were counted. A probable Long-eared Owl was seen coming from the Paddock, over the road then over the bridge at 4.30 and 1 Tawny Owl squeezed out a couple of hoots just after 5.00am. Todays counts were, 16 Shelduck (from ramp), 2 Hobbies (first at 5.08), 6 Marsh Harriers, 1 Garganey, a pair of Great-crested Grebes, 5 Little Egrets and 1 Canada Goose. Waders this morning included, 1 Greenshank, 2 Redshanks, 4 Ruff, 3 Wood Sandpipers, 1 Ringed Plover and 1 Little-ringed Plover, the latter two being extremely scarce this year! There were, 6+ Cetti's Warblers, 2 Kestrels, 3 Yellow Wagtails, 2 Great-spotted Woodpeckers and several Bearded Tits. Other Warblers included, many Whitethroats but just 1 Lesser Whitethroat, several Reed & Sedge Warblers, 2 Blackcaps and 4 Chiffchaffs. The not very nice, typical Bank Holiday weather kept hirundines low with large numbers of Sand Martins, several Swallows and a small number of House Martins plus, there were 400+ Swifts. Also today were, 3 Common Terns, 2 Mistle Thrushes, 2 Snipe, a cock Bullfinch, 1 Turtle Dove and 1 Little Grebe. Supporting cast included, a drake Ruddy Duck, 12 Tufted Ducks, 8 Pochards, 1 Pied Wagtail, 2 Grey Herons, 3+ pairs of Linnets and 1 Green Woodpecker.
(Martyn Wilson, Marc Heath, Brendan Ryan, Steve Ashton & Pete Solly)
I have just got in after my exertions of a 24 hr non-motorized listing attempt. The weather scuppering any real chance of setting a new record. At Grove/Stodmarsh/Trenley Park Woods I recorded 1 Ring Ouzel, 1 (summer plum) Wood Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank, 1 Green Sandpiper, 5 Tawny Owl (family party? - they all responded to my whistled imitation, en mass, giving great views), 2 Little Owl, 1 Coal Tit, 1 Treecreeper, 3 Hobby and a "booming" Bittern. It started across the far side of the main lake (00.46hrs) but was calling from the area of the Marsh Hide when I left (03.45hrs) It had gone quiet when I returned, from Trenley, just after 07.00hrs. Plenty of common migrants present, but I didn't see a single Swift over the reserve! I started at King George VI Park at 17.00 hrs on Thursday and finished at the same time on Friday at Reculver Towers, walking via Pegwell, the Ash Levels, Grove/Stodmarsh/Trenley before heading north to Chislet, Marshside & Reculver beyond - my meagre return for this mammoth effort being just 109 species! - I think I've finally learned my lesson.
I received a phone call from Brendan tonight alerting me that the Bar tailed Godwit was still present at Grove. I didn't need much persuasion and took a slow drive over there to see the Godwit. I met Brendan at the ramp, he had already logged the Bar tailed Godwit, 2 Greenshank, 2 Wood Sandpiper, 1 Dunlin, 5 Ruff and a drake Wigeon. We was chatting about expectant waders when Brendan shouted out 'Black Tern'. The cracking summer plumaged bird was watched for 10 minutes feeding over the pools from the ramp, occasionally passing near enough for some photos ( where are the big lens guys when you need them ). A very pleasant but brief outing with some quality valley birds seen.
(Brendan Ryan & Marc Heath)
Another pre work visit to the ramp produced, a single Bar-tailed Godwit in the company of 6 Black-tails, one Wood Sandpiper and 10 Shelduck. Meanwhile the Ruff flock has now increased to 5
A brief stop over on way back from work revealed 3 Wood Sandpipers and the same 4 Ruff that were present in the morning
An Osprey was seen at 11.40 a.m. this morning over Westbere Lake. It flew slowly eastwards in the direction of Stodmarsh, pursued by two crows.
Single Wood Sandpiper and 4 Ruff seen from ramp in brief pre work visit this morning.
The Spotted Crake was still singing this morning at Grove Ferry at 4.05am.