Saturday, 1 January 2022

The Stour Valley list for 2022 stands at 156(155) species so far.

Please send your sightings to 

August 5th

An Osprey was seen this morning near marsh hide, I had 17 Little Egrets, 1 G W Egret and a Willow Warbler in the jungle it was completely yellow underneath so probably a juvenile. Quite a few sightings of the juvenile Purple Heron and a Bittern flew from Tower hide area and landed far end of Marsh hide.  

(Bryan East)   

August 2nd

Arriving at 5am in still conditions, I spent some time watching from the ramp, Feast and Marsh hide before returning back to the ramp. Birds noted included 2 Turtle Dove, 5 Little Egret, 3 Grey Heron, 2 Greenshank, 18 Green Sandpiper, 5 Black tailed Godwit, 8 Water Rail, 4 Garganey from the ramp in eclipse plumage, c20 Swallow, 3 juvenile Little ringed Plover, 7 Marsh Harrier, 2 Kestrel, 4 Cattle Egret (1 juv) from the Marsh hide, 4 Common Tern, 3 Yellow Wagtail, 5 Swift and 1 Willow Warbler    

(Marc Heath)

Little-ringed Plover - Marc Heath

August 1st

I arrived at a very misty Grove Ferry at 05:15 where I watched from the ramp and Feast hide until 8am. I had another brief session just after lunchtime. Birds noted included 18 Green Sandpiper, 3 juv Little Ringed Plover, 2 Greenshank, 3 Black tailed Godwit, 1 Redshank, 2 fly-through calling Dunlin, 3 Grey Heron, 1 Bittern seen flying down towards Stodmarsh and at 07:39, 1 juv Purple Heron flew in from the Seaton direction and landed near Harrisons. A while later it took flight again and landed on a Bush just outside the reserve. There were 7 Water Rail, 6 Marsh Harrier, c15 Bearded Tit, 1 Turtle Dove, 5 Common Buzzard, 3 Kestrel, c10 House Martin, 6 Little Egret and 4 Garganey in eclipse plumage. Recording during the night produced a few Green Sandpiper calls and 1 Oystercatcher over at 01:34.   

 (Marc Heath)

Oystercatcher - Marc Heath
July 31st

The month has come to an end and, as with last year the Herons/Egrets are breaking records. We have had a few Purple Herons in the valley over the years and occasionally 2 in a year as with both last year and this yearast year an adult spent time at Westbere during the spring and mature bird was seen for a day in late summer again an adult was present at Stodmasrh for a couple of weeks then a juvenile turned up last Saturday 23rd. On Tuesday evening Jonathon Dodds had 2 juveniles together flying towards Collard’s with both birds still present this weekend, although not always together. Record broken-2 Purple Herons together. The second record broken was only a new record last year when Norman McCanch and I had 8 Cattle Egrets at Stodmarsh when previously three was the highest number. On Saturday this record was smashed when 15 Cattle Egrets flew past marsh hide and on towards Grove Ferry and a 16th bird was in the Cormorant trees at Stodmasrh lake. The Mediterranean fell continues. Also present at least 2 Bitterns, up to 20 Grey Herons and 23 Little Egrets and 2 Great-white Egrets. 

July 27th

In contrast to yesterday's mostly wet session, this morning dawned sunny, quite warm and windless. I walked the Grove Ferry / Stodmarsh circuit again from 05:15 - 09:30 where I noted 17 Green Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank, 10 Little Egret, 5 Cetti's Warbler, 1 Turtle Dove, 1 Cattle Egret, 2 Green Woodpecker, 4 Water Rail, 8 Grey Heron, 1 Great White Egret, 2 Sparrowhawk, c10 Swallow, 9 Common Tern and 4 Marsh Harrier. Whilst sitting in the Marsh hide the juvenile Purple Heron appeared and landed on one of the small islands to the left of the hide where it got hassled from the Black headed Gulls. It then unbelievably flew towards the hide and landed in the tree. It sat there for a few minutes before flying off towards Grove. Other birds seen included 4 Chiffchaff, 3 Treecreeper, 18 Tufted Duck, 21 Great crested Grebe, 6 Pochard, 2 Common Sandpiper, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Blackcap, 46 Mute Swan, 3 Jay, 4 Bullfinch, 3 Sand Martin, 1 juvenile Little ringed Plover, 1 Kestrel, 3 Common Buzzard and at the junction to Harrisons, there was a juvenile Bittern standing on the pathway. It stood motionless for a few seconds before starting to run down the path away from me.      

(Marc Heath)

Bittern and Purple Heron - Marc Heath

July 26th

I walked the Grove Ferry / Stodmarsh circuit this morning from 05:30 where initially there was quite heavy rain for some time. Eventually it slowed down to a cloudy morning. Birds noted this morning included 1 Turtle Dove, 17 Green Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank, 1 Little ringed Plover, 7 Marsh Harrier, 7 Little Egret, 1 Cattle Egret, 6 Water Rail, 5 Cetti's Warbler, 1 Garganey, 6 Grey Heron, 1 juvenile Purple Heron seen initially landing in a tree from the Reedbed hide, then later flushed from near Paddy's bench where I watched it fly and land at Grove Ferry and then I saw it again in flight at Grove where it landed out of sight on the back pools. There were 10 Pochard, 14 Tufted Duck, 15 Common Tern, c80 Sand Martin, 1 Common Sandpiper, c30 Swift, 1 Black tailed Godwit, 4 Bearded Tit, c120 Black headed Gull, c15 Great crested Grebe, 2 Bullfinch and 4 Chiffchaff. Recording throughout the night only produced 1 Whimbrel and 1 Green Sandpiper of note.   

(Marc Heath) 

Purple Heron - Marc Heath

July 24th

The valley had a somewhat Mediterranean feel about it this weekend, not only was it hot sunny weather but the birds were more southern feel than the normal run of the mill British fayre. The highlights included 21 Grey Herons, 1 juvenile Purple Heron, 32 Little Egrets (highest count in many a year), 2 Great-white Egrets including 1 juvenile and 1 Glossy Ibis (an immature bird). There was also 22 Green Sandpipers, 5 Greenshank and 1 juvenile Redshank that showed the most unusual plumage, almost golden brown like a large looking Wood Sandpiper but, clearly not! Plus at least 24 Common Terns still present. The Purple Heron showed very well on Sunday, albeit somewhat distant on the far side of the lake but, was on show from just before 8.00am until 11.35am very un-Purple Heron like. Also, a couple of Garganey with one eclipse drake, the first Nightingale in several weeks was sub-singing near tower hide and 2 juvenile Little Owls were frolicking around Undertree's old barn. 

NB. The Purple Heron is the second one this year after the stunning adult bird in spring (18th April), as is the Glossy Ibis an adult bird was present on 26thMarch 

July 21st

With the very hot weather on Monday 18th and Tuesday 19th coupled with the Blue Green algae on the lake it was inevitable that there was going to be some dead fish and i counted 30+ at reed bed hide and another 30+ at the tower hide end but on Wednesday morning there were 47 at reed bed and i counted 130 + at the tower hide end, the majority seem to be common Bream and a few were good specimens. According to the E A there were no spare resources available to help, in other word's they couldn't be arsed. On Monday there were 2 males Pochard on the lake and the Tufted Duck family were also on the lake and the 5 chicks are still ok. Wednesday 20th there were 150 approx Black Headed Gull at reed bed the majority were juveniles also seen were 4 Little Egret, 1 Swallow, 1 Common Sandpiper, 4 Sand Martin, 3 juvenile Kestrel, 3 Blackcap and 2 Whitethroat. A Great Crested Grebe had 2 chicks on its back. Today 21st there was 1 Green Sandpiper and 1 Greenshank at the ramp, at David Feast hide were 7 Green Sandpiper and 1 Little Egret. At middle drove i saw 2 Turtle Dove's and the 3 young Kestrel's. At marsh hide were 8 Green sandpiper (these were probably from Feast hide as Ben and Stefan were about to cut the grass in front of the hide as i was leaving) and 1 Greenshank  

(Bryan East)   

Great-crested Grebe and young - Bryan East

July 8th

I did the circuit this morning and there were 8 Green Sandpiper's at reed bed hide also a Cattle Egret. The G C Grebe's have either fledged or failed because a pair of. Tufted Duck were sitting on the nest. Quite a few Common Tern juveniles about, look's like another good year for them. The water level at marsh hide has been raised which seem's to have got rid of most of the Water Fern that was clogging the pools up.  

(Bryan East)   

Common Tern - Bryan East

July 1st

It's Idiot season at the reserve again. Some cretins have trampled the reeds flat in 3 places opposite the Barn Owl box just to get 6 feet closer !.Zero consideration for the Water Voles living in the ditch or any birds nest's that might be in the reeds. There have been photo's on social media of the box and it's number which is not good for the owlet's safety. The female Tufted Duck with 8 duckling's i saw last Saturday and Monday now has 5. The 3 juvenile Marsh Harrier's have been pleasing the togger's with some aerial display's, really good to watch. Apart from the rarity seen this week it has been fairly quiet. 

(Bryan East)   

Tufted Duck and chicks - Bryan East

May 30th

I did the circuit this morning starting at Reed bed hide. There were 4 male and 1 female Tufted Duck and a pair of Teal, no sign of the Egyptian geese adults or goslings for over a week now. Along the river path overlooking the meadows i watched a Fox hunting for small mammals. Along Harrisons drove i looked up and saw a Red Kite and a Marsh Harrier soaring together. On the path to Marsh hide i found a couple of Drinker Moth caterpillars. Not much at Marsh hide except the pools are covered in some kind of Algae/weed.

(Bryan East)   

A little update on the birds at Stodmarsh over the last week or so. On Saturday 21st Sue and Dave had a Black Kite at close quarters at the Grove end while Sue added our first Red Kite of the year from her front room window on the same day. On Tuesday 23rd a big movement of Kites took place with a total of 105 Seen passing from the Collard’s viewpoint. On Thursday 26th an Eleonora’s Falcon was seen at Sandwich and with a lot of scanning and, just lucky enough to be in the right place, the very same bird performed in Front of me from the ‘S’ bends at Grove overlooking the marsh hide and Lampen Wall area. The Eleonora’s Falcon performed for roughly 15 minutes before I lost it and thought that would be the end of it, fortunately it reappeared at Worth near Sandwich the following morning. While searching of the Eleonora’s other birders were fortunate enough to seen a Caspian Tern fly over the lake and out over Collard’s. Bitterns seem to be fairly viewable this year with several sightings of birds in flight plus booming males being heard, Turtle Doves seem a bit low with only 3 birds apparently present and the Nightingales have all gone or, stopped singing. 

Fox, Red Kite and Drinker Moth - Bryan East

May 23rd

Some good news at Marsh hide this morning where at least 1 pair of Lapwing have managed to raise 3 Chicks which must be around 25 days old, they were hopping and flapping there wings. The end of last week i found 2 young Water Voles and a Mole near Paddy's bench along the river, there was no identifiable damage to the Mole but both Water Voles had been grabbed around the neck, they were all still soft and laid out on the path as in the photo. On Saturday morning i went to the Ramp ( 9.25 am ) and as i approached the benches a Bittern flew from Harrisons screen area to the left of the Ramp pool.  

(Bryan East)

Mole and Water Vole mysterious deaths and Lapwing chicks - Bryan East

May 6th

A Bittern was booming near Marsh hide this morning and there were 3 Lapwing chicks there among the Yellow Flag's. The Purple Heron was seen yesterday morning by David feast over Undertree's. Cuckoo numbers seem to be good so far, still no Turtle Doves in this part of the valley as yet. Someone or something has robbed the 3 eggs from the Mute Swan nest opposite Marsh hide.  

(Bryan East)

Linnet, Cuckoo and Lapwing chick - Bryan East

May 4th

Spent about an hour by the Hawthorn copse between the river and the paddock this morning hoping to hear or see a Turtle Dove, this area is always the first place i see these birds when they arrive mid April,but today not a sight nor sound of them which is not good. On a brighter note i did see 6 Whitethroat here. At marsh hide the pair of Little Grebe were very vocal and at 10.15 am a Bittern flew from the Grove end pass the hide and on to Stodmarsh. Other birds seen were 5 Swallow's, 2 Sand Martin, 3 Swift, 2 Cuckoo, 4 Linnet and 3 Bearded Tit. Yesterday May 3rd there was a Greenshank at Marsh hide and the 4 Egyptian geese goslings + the grey lag gosling are still doing well at Reed bed hide. 

(Bryan East)

May 3rd

A rather pleasant bank holiday weekend added another couple of new species to the year list when David Feast discovered a Garden Warbler at Grove on Saturday and by Monday there were several on site as well as the first Swift of the year over Collard’s on Sunday as well as a superb Osprey. On Saturday there were 2 very smart male Ring Ouzels between Harrison’s and Metal Bridge and a Little-ringed Plover flew in to marsh hide over the Greylag creche and then back out to Stodmarsh not to be seen again. Hobby numbers are building up with at least 16 birds on Monday. It is a bit worrying that no Turtle Doves have made to the Valley yet this year, lets just hope they are just later this year. A pair of Garganey seem to be frequenting the pool in front of reedbed hide often in the company of a second drake. Shoveler numbers have now dropped right off with just a couple of dozen birds left. The Common Tern colony on the lake raft is up to 14 and hopefully will be added to over the next few weeks and be as successful or better than last year. 

Erratum; I have it on good authority that Turtle Dove was seen on April 28th

April 29th

Had an Oystercatcher this am, initially seen by A N Other at marsh hide then I found it on Tern raft. First for year I think. M Garganey still Reedbed hide and possibly F too hidden in reeds next to it. Bittern booming NW of marsh hide and I suspect another towards Collards. 

(Richard Collins)

April 26th

There were 2 Ring Ouzels at the usual location this morning. Also 11 Common Tern around the raft, a pair of Garganey at Reedbed hide,2 Nightingales in full song near the Oxbow,1 Little Owl and 1 Swallow. Yesterday i had 1 Snipe and a pair of Black-tailed Godwit drop in at Marsh hide. 

(Bryan East)

April 23rd

I did walk from Stodmarsh to Marsh Hide via Lampen Wall 8.00-11.00am Thurs 21st April and had Little Owl sitting on old barn off the path to Marsh Hide. No Purple Heron ! , and everything else as expected, with 42 species in total. May be of interest to you is there were min of 4 Common Tern flying around the raft off Lampen Wall and M&F Bullfinch in Alder Wood area between the Boardwalk and path to Marsh Hide. Bittern heard booming briefly Tower Hide direction, and Cuckoo briefly calling from Grove direction. And pair of Egyptian Geese had 4 goslings, plus 1 Greylag gosling near Reedbed Hide. 

(Phil Poole)

April 19th

Although the long weekend was mostly warm and sunny, chilly starts though, the migrants just didn’t seem to appear. Very few Whitethroats, no Turtle Doves as yet (usually in by the 15th!) and our first Cuckoo was yesterday (18th). There are Plenty of Sedge Warblers this year and a marked improvement on the last couple of years when numbers of these dainty little warblers have been quite low. A few Reed Warblers are back on territory, 6-8 birds, maybe more. A pair of Egyptian Geese have hatched 4 goslings and somehow adopted a Greylag gosling despite the fact there are no other Greylag chicks around the reserve. This is also the first ever breeding of Egyptian Geese in the middle stour valley. A drake Garganey was showing very well from marsh hide on Monday and the first Hobby of the year was seen on Friday and the morning of the last day of the long weekend had us watching a superb adult summer Purple Heron at marsh hide, first seen just before 7.00 am and still present and showing well at 5.00 pm in the evening. 

Purple Heron

April 14th

The Little Ringed Plover and the pair of Garganey were showing well at Marsh hide this morning also a Black-tailed Godwit with what looked like at least 6 leg rings. 

(Bryan East)

Little-ringed Plover, Garganey and Black-tailed Godwit - Bryan East

April 13th

I made 2 visits into the valley today totalling about 8 hours. Birds of note from 05:30 - 10am included 1 Bittern booming, 1 Nightingale singing at Grove Ferry, 2 Raven, 3 Whitethroat, 27 Cetti's Warbler, 24 Sedge Warbler, 5 Reed Warbler, 1 Tawny Owl, 8 Water Rail, 5 Marsh Harrier, 3 Swallow, 3 Garganey (2 drake), 1 Little Ringed Plover at the Marsh hide and 2 Yellow Wagtail. 2 Beaver were also seen briefly early along the river as well as an Otter spraint seen. 

I returned at 12:30 with my dad where we spent a couple of hours walking up to the river before we parted and I walked back to Grove Ferry. Birds seen included 2 Common Tern over the main lake, 1 Little Owl and a brief view of an Otter swimming. Other birds seen included 2 male Wheatear, 1 at Marsh hide and 1 in fields at Grove, 1 Swallow and 4 Sand Martin. 

(Marc Heath)

April 12th

I had a ninety minute walk over at Stodmarsh with my wife at 10:30am where we wandered along the Lampen Wall far as the river and back. Birds seen or heard included 1 Great White Egret in the Cormorant trees, 2 Reed Warbler singing near the Tower Hide, 1 Garganey, 1 Kestrel, 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Common Buzzard, 4 Marsh Harrier, 2 Sedge Warbler, c10 Cetti's Warbler, 2 Water Rail, 3 Blackcap, 2 Bullfinch, 2 Chiffchaff, c100 Shoveler, 1 Shelduck and 5 Great crested Grebe. With warmer temperatures today, a few butterflies were on the wing including 3 Peacock, 2 Comma, 1 male Orange Tip and 1 Brimstone 

(Marc Heath)

Great-crested Grebe - Marc Heath

April 11th

Birding the Grove Ferry / Stodmarsh circuit from 05:30 - 09:45 in pleasant conditions produced 94 Mute Swan, 33 Cetti's Warbler, 10 Water Rail, 3 Shelduck, 7 Blackcap, 24 Greylag Geese, 12 Great crested Grebe, 4 Marsh Harrier, 10 Reed Bunting, 8 Sedge Warbler, 2 Skylark, 2 Linnet, 19 Chiffchaff, 2 Cattle Egret at the Marsh hide, 4 Tufted Duck, 2 Egyptian Geese on Stodmarsh Lake with 5 young goslings, 1 Little Grebe, 1 Little Egret and 1 Common Buzzard. There were 5 Water Pipit at the Marsh hide, 2 Grey Heron, 1 Little ringed Plover at the Marsh hide, 2 Sparrowhawk, 2 Raven, 1 Yellowhammer, 3 Bullfinch, 1 Great spotted Woodpecker, 1 drake Garganey from the Reedbed hide, 4 Snipe including one briefly drumming, 1 Ruff over Stodmarsh Lake, 1 Treecreeper, c200 Shoveler, 1 Jay, 1 Green Woodpecker, 1 Bittern briefly booming, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Kestrel and 1 female Pintail. 'Nocmig' recording at Grove Ferry produced 2 Little Owl, 1 Barn Owl, 1 Little Grebe, 1 Water Rail and best of all, a flock of Common Scoter flew over at 03:22. 

(Marc Heath)

Common Scoter -= Marc Heath

April 8th

I walked around the Grove Ferry / Stodmarsh circuit this morning from 05:45 - 09:45 in cloudy but windless conditions which produced 1 booming Bittern west of Stodmarsh, 1 ring tail Hen Harrier, 30 Cetti's Warbler, 2 Little Grebe, 7 Reed Bunting, 5 Skylark, 6 Snipe, 22 Greylag Geese, 5 Great crested Grebe, 2 Shelduck, 4 Marsh Harrier, c80 Mute Swan, 2 Sedge Warbler, 9 Water Rail, 5 Cattle Egret from the Marsh hide in with the cattle, 1 flew off east, 2 Green Sandpiper, 1 Sparrowhawk, 10 Tufted Duck and 3 Jay. There were 11 Chiffchaff, 1 Little Egret, 4 Grey Heron, 8 Blackcap, 2 Bearded Tit, 2 drake Garganey on the main lake at Stodmarsh, c120 Shoveler, 2 Common Buzzard, 2 Bullfinch, 4 Long tailed Tit, 1 female Pintail and 1 Brambling. Despite searching, not a single hirundine seen which is a bit worrying as is only a couple of Sedge Warbler. Hopefully the flood gates will open soon. Nigh-time recording only revealed a close Barn Owl and a Little Owl of note. 2 Beaver were also seen including one feeding briefly on the bank along the river. 

(Marc Heath)

Barn Owl - Marc Heath

April 7th

Very windy at the reserve this morning but I did see my first House Martin of the year at Marsh hide. Also there was a pair of Egyptian Geese. Yesterday a nice male Garganey was displaying and a couple of Lapwing were mating. Just 1 of the 6 Cattle Egret has been at Marsh hide for the last few day's.

(Bryan East)

 April 6th

A repeat of yesterday's visit where I walked to the Marsh hide and then returned back to Grove checking the bushes and pathways on the way back. Birds noted included c15 Greylag Geese, 9 Cetti's Warbler, 3 Water Rail, 1 Sedge Warbler, 2 Egyptian Geese, 2 Shelduck, 2 Garganey, 1 drake from the Marsh hide and 1 drake from the ramp. There were 2 Little Grebe, 1 Barn Owl, 4 Marsh Harrier, 3 Snipe, 2 Skylark, 1 Grey Heron, 12 Water Pipit, 1 Little Egret and just the 1 Cattle Egret in with the Cattle. Also noted were 37 Mute Swan, 2 Jay, 1 Bearded Tit, 2 Raven North, 4 Chiffchaff, 2 Pochard, 1 Tufted Duck, 1 Great crested Grebe, 1 female Pintail, 1 Canada Goose from the ramp, 1 Bullfinch and 1 Blackcap. 

(Marc Heath) 

April 5th

Birding in the valley from 05:30 - 09:30 this morning in rather drizzly conditions produced 2 Little Owl calling between the White house and the old Black Barn, 1 drake Garganey from the Marsh Hide along with 17 Water Pipit, 2 Cattle Egret, 1 Green Sandpiper and 4 Snipe. There were 7 Cetti's Warbler, 1 Sedge Warbler singing along the path to the Marsh hide, 3 Water Rail, 1 Little Egret, c30 Mute Swan, 2 Common Buzzard, 4 Marsh Harrier, 1 Kestrel, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Great crested Grebe, 4 Chiffchaff, 2 Reed Bunting, 4 Skylark, 2 Blackcap, 2 Raven flew west down the river, 1 Grey Heron, 4 Tufted Duck and 1 Mistle Thrush singing. 

(Marc Heath) 

March 28th

There were 2 Avocet's at Marsh hide this morning along with the Glossy Ibis and 6 Cattle Egret. In the Alder wood there was approx 20 Siskin and Richard Hills had a Little Ringed Plover at Marsh hide this afternoon.  

(Bryan East)

March 23rd

A nice sunny morning at Stodmarsh and the Marsh hide had the full compliment of Egrets with 1 Great white, 1 Little and 6 Cattle. Also a nice Glossy Ibis along with 2 Redshank. There were a few Siskin in the Alder wood and a Blackcap. The pair of Wigeon are still here and a Bittern was heard booming. On Monday 21st the 6 Cattle Egret were at marsh hide with 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Egyptian Goose and a Water Pipit  in Spring/Summer plumage. 

(Bryan East)

Glossy Ibis, Redshank and Great-white Egret - Bryan East

March 20th

A fairly decent weekend around the Grove-Stodmarsh circuit this weekend with the arrival of the much-anticipated summer teal known as Garganey on Friday where Bryan East had 2 drakes and 2 ducks from Reedbed hide early in the day and the 2 drakes were still present for Steve Ashton in the afternoon. On Saturday morning Sue, Dave, Bernie and I started the morning at Tower hide where we were fortunate enough to have a flock of 5 Garganey drop right in front of us that contained 4 drakes and 1 duck and the ‘Cricket’ like call was heard by all. Another highlight of the morning was an influx of Gulls that included 164 Black-headed, 64 Herring, 5 adult Lesser Black-backed, 2 Great Black-backed plus a first winter Mediterranean and a third winter Yellow-legged Gull Weirdly, Sunday was almost Gull-less. We also spotted from Tower hide the 7 Cattle Egrets that had recently been frequenting Ickham, Littlebourne and Bekesbourne roosting in some trees in the far distance at Collard's where 2 birds proceeded to leave roost and head towards Westbere Water Meadows while the other 5 flew past us and landed with the Belted Galloways in the Marsh hide area. Sunday did however have a little wader movement with 2 Dunlin, 2 Avocet and the first Redshank of the year at marsh hide while the first Ruff of the year was at the Ramp, Grove Ferry, on Saturday afternoon. Also on Sunday six of the Cattle Egrets came in from the Collard's direction and again landed with the Galloways, this time more over by the Water Meadows by the river.

Garganey at tower hide

March 15th

Another sunny and warm morning at the reserve as i went to the Marsh hide from the Grove end. There was a couple of Tufted Duck and 1 male Pochard at David Feast hide and at Marsh hide were a pair of Wigeon,5 Shelduck, 2 Tufted Duck and 1 Little Grebe that was showing well right in front of the hide now that the clump of reeds has been grubbed out. Lots of Lapwing, Teal and a few Shoveller here and a different Black tailed Godwit to the one that i  saw the other day. A Bittern has been heard booming the last few days as well. A good number of Chiffchaffs are calling all over the reserve. 

(Bryan East)

Wigeon and Little Grebe - Bryan East

March 13th

A few hours spent in the valley this morning visiting the ramp at Grove, the Feast and Marsh Hide and then up to the woods at Collie Corner produced c200 Cormorant, 4 Marsh Harrier, 3 Water Rail, 5 Cetti's Warbler, 2 Pheasant, c40 Mute Swan, 3 Skylark, 3 Shelduck, 2 Pochard, 2 Pintail, 4 Reed Bunting, 12 Tufted Duck, 4 Common Buzzard, 7 Gadwall, 1 Little Grebe, 4 Water Pipit, 4 Fieldfare, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Snipe, 2 Wigeon, 1 Ringed Plover flew east calling from the Marsh Hide and 2 Raven landed briefly in fields from the hide before flying off south cronking. The woods produced 1 Firecrest singing, 1 Treecreeper, 1 Coal Tit and 1 Nuthatch in song. Recording throughout the night near Stodmarsh produced 1 Water Rail, a flock of Pintail and Gadwall, 1 Grey Heron and a good number of Redwing calls throughout the night. 

(Marc Heath) 


March 11th

A nice warm sunny morning at the reserve today with 6 Cattle Egret near Birt's farm in the village and a single bird with the Galloway's .At marsh hide was a nice summer plumage Black-tailed Godwit. Also 1 Snipe and around 20 Lapwing. On Monday 7th a ring tail Hen Harrier was flying over the Black Currant bushes opposite DADS bench. There were approx 30 Siskin and 6 Redpoll. On the 5th there was a Woodcock along the Lampen wall and 1 Green Sandpiper. A Magpie was showing some lovely plumage in the morning sun. 

Magpie and Black-tailed Godwit - Bryan East

March 7th

Seems to be a very slow start to the year so far. We ended February on just 98 with the addition of Spoonbill and finally adding Barn Owl just this weekend takes the total to March the 7th to a heady! 99. By March 2nd last year the list was on 117. 

February 6th

Well, the start of February began the opposite way to the way January ended. No Bittern seen at all in January as previously mentioned however, on Sunday morning (6th) while scanning the ducks at Feast hide a smart Bittern flew across the back of the pool before dropping in to the reeds and promptly sulking of out of sight. Not much to write home about, mainly the usual birds that are seen most weekends but, the list has risen to 95 with the addition of Linnet as well as the Bittern. 

Pintail and Water Pipit Feast hide

January 31st

There were no more additions to the Stour Valley list this past weekend and last day of the month, therefore the list remains at 92. This is not as good as last year where the month ended on 95. This is also the first year in 22years that Bittern has not been recorded in January. What will February bring? 

January 17th

New additions over the past week have included Bearded Tit, Little Grebe and a stunning male Merlin.

January 12th

Very good weather this morning, sunny with no wind, as