The Stour Valley list for 2018 stands at 153(+1) species so far.
The bank holiday weekend came and, for once it was not raining. In fact wall to wall sunshine with mostly a light north westerly breeze although, heavy mist hampered the early mornings until the sun got burning. Saturday was much as the previous week with nothing new to add, several Sedge and Reed Warblers now in song along with many Whitethroats and other commoner birds. On Sunday Nightingale and Cuckoo were singing as I exited the car at 03.50 and made my way towards Marsh hide. On the first corner before Harrison's Drove a ripple in the open water glistened in the moonlight and soon I was watching an Otter with a fish while at the same time a Long-eared Owl was calling from near the river opposite the Paddocks. At Marsh hide where the ghostly shapes of 14 Mute Swans were visible I stood outside looking along the dykes hoping again for Otter or a Beaver when at 0.430 a Cattle Egret flew over and appeared to drop in at Harrison's but, could not be re-located. Also during the morning Turtle Dove, Great-white Egret, 7 Marsh Harriers, a dozen Hobbies, 8 Common Terns, Greenshank and Redshank were all noted. Late morning at Collard's a kettle of 7 Common Buzzards circling south east was followed by another kettle of 4 and at 11.00 a Honey Buzzard had a little tussle with a male Marsh Harrier before gliding north west without a wingbeat. Corn Bunting, Yellowhammer, 2 Swifts and 2 Red-legged Partridges were at Collard's as well. Ray O,Rielly had a Spotted Flycatcher in Stodmarsh car park while leading a KOS tour. Monday was much quieter with the highlight being 54 Black-tailed Godwits west over Stodmarsh lake before turning towards Seaton/Wickembreaux, then turning back towards the industrial estate and then back east over mine and Chiddy's heads.
11 of 54 Black-tailed Godwits
I went to marsh hide this morning and due to the appalling weather we had yesterday it does not look good for the Lapwing nest's with the water level quite high. On a brighter note i had my first Turtle dove in the sanctuary field, also seen by Sue and 3 Wheatears at the far end of marsh hide along with the Great White Egret. There were 9 Grey lag
goslings plus parents on the island at Feast hide with another Grey lag on the nest. Also seen were Blackcap, Whitethroat, Swallow, Sedge warbler and 2 Grey Heron.
Sue Morton added Black Tern to the list on the last day of April with a single bird on Westbere in the afternoon/evening