For those that missed it here is a rather nice picture of the Red-rumped Swallow found by Chiddy last week. Thanks Marc Heath for the photo. Also Geoff Burton added Mandarin to the year list with a handsome drake from the ramp on Friday 19th.
At the reedbed hide this morning a female Marsh Harrier with a beak full of reed/grass dropped down in the reeds in front of the hide to the right,t his bring's the number of nest sites i have noted over the reserve to 5 so far this year. Also at the hide were 2 Kingfisher's. I had 1 Hobby at the water meadow and on the 12th May there was a Barn Owl hunting along near the oxbow.
On the 8th Mark Chiddwick had yet another Red-rumped Swallow in the valley, I believe his third or fourth self found, which is new for the year and today Chris Gibbard had an Osprey, also new
May 9th at Grove Ferry, there were 5 Common terns at the ramp but still none at Feast hide, i may be wrong but perhaps the new island is not flat enough for them, also at the hide was a male Pochard. 2 Turtle Doves were near the river and also a singing Nightingale. May 10th Stodmarsh, still 10 Common Terns on the rafts and i saw 1 Common Sandpiper at the Lampen stream. High up over the tower hide were 1 Buzzard, 1 Marsh Harrier and a SparrowHawk all soaring within yards of each other. I noticed that predation of Coot and Moorhen chicks seems higher this year than the last couple of years with 3 seperate Coot families with 1 chick each and 4 Moorhen families also with 1 chick each. Mallard and Greylags seem to be doing ok. (Bryan East)
The 2 Avocets were at the ramp this morning and i saw a pair of Water Rails with 1 chick at David Feast hide also 5 Whitethroat near the river end of the path that goes from near the ramp to the river, otherwise it was fairly quiet.
You probably have already seen them there were four swifts over grove lake today.
May 5th Heard my first Grasshopper Warbler reeling this morning from Harrisons Drove, just SE from hide.
There were 10 Common Terns on both rafts at Stodmarsh this morning and around 30 Swift over the lake with a few Swallows. 4th May a male Marsh Harrier with nesting material dropped down in the reeds at Feast hide. Also seen were 1 Turtle dove, 3 Whitethroat, 1 Hobby and a Nightingale was calling up by the river. Earlier in the week i saw a Water Rail with 2 chicks opposite the tower hide. There have been 2 Common Terns at the ramp most of this week but i have not seen any on the new island at Feast hide yet.
The first day of the month started again with the cold south westerly and a much quieter morning for bird song, no sound of any Nightingales and again , no Turtle Doves although, another gentleman said he'd heard two. There were 4 Dunnocks feeding together along the entrance track and Whitethroats were everywhere. The Ramp held 8 Gadwall, 27 Teal, 1 Shelduck, 8 Shoveler, 2 Grey Herons, 2 Tufted Ducks and a few Mallards but no sign of yesterdays Avocets. There were 7 Marsh Harriers over the morning 2 Cuckoo's including a stunning hepatic female and 2 Kestrels. A Kingfisher was at Feast hide briefly, a Greenshank and Green Sandpiper heard and, at Harrison's there was a Little Egret and a Wood Sandpiper. On the lake were 6 Common Ternsand little else although Steve Ashton had a Common Sandpiper at Reedbed hide. There were 2 Wheatears along Middle Drove and with the oncoming rain a small flock of Swallows and SandMartins over the Ramp pool. A single Bearded Tit was seen, a Mistle Thrush by the entrance and a Lesser Whitethroat along the entrance track.
The wind had swung round tot an east south easterly making it much colder on site today and therefore less bird song, only 1 Nightingale heard, no sound of any Turtle Doves and yet again no Reelers. From the Ramp there were 2 Avocets and 3 Wigeon as well as the ducks present yesterday. David Feast added Common Sandpiper yesterday flying over the lake at Stodmarsh and today there were 2 Common Sandpipers from the David Feast hide. Sue and I walked the complete circuit without much reward, a single Yellow Wagtail at Marsh hide, 7 Common Terns on the lake, several Cetti's Warblers, Whitethroats Reed and Sedge Warblers. A sort of roaring/booming made me think I could hear a Bittern then realised it was the roar of a Lion, presumably the ones at Wingham Wildlife Park to the south east! Raptors included 2 Kestrels, 1 Sparrowhawk and 8 Marsh Harriers, left to early for Hobbies but 3 were seen later at Grove by Dave Dowell. The lone Greenfinch was singing at the Paddocks and a further 2 Greenfinches were at Collard's.
Raven over the Stodmarsh carpark at about midday, 5 Hobby from Reedbed hide.
An early morning walk around the reserve before dawn with the parabolic dish listening for any reelers, those you can't mention and Grasshopper Warblers. Sadly no sound of either anywhere on the reserve. Joined by Dave Sutton and Sue Morton the rest of the day was slow but enjoyable with a new bird for the valley this year and a couple of year ticks for all involved. There were 5 Nightingales singing, 27 Cetti's Warbler (probably more), plenty of Reed and Sedge Warblers, lots of Common Whitethroats now in and 1 Cuckoo, Sue adding 1 Lesser Whitethroat. A few duck from the Ramp included 36 Teal, 5 Shovelers, 6 Gadwall, a pair of Tufted Ducks, 1 Shelduck and half a dozen baby Mallards. Highlight of the morning was a summer plumaged Bar-tailed Godwit that flew in with a Greenshank. Bar-tails being a very scarce bird in the valley with single birds turning up infrequently. Other waders included 2 Green Sandpipers, 3 Snipe and 12 Lapwing. There were 2 Turtle Doves with one singing in the Paddocks and one along the river. Raptors were represented by 8 Marsh Harriers, 5 Buzzards, 2 Sparrowhawks, 3 Kestrels and 5 Hobbies, but very few hirrundines, 1 Sand Martin, 20ish Swallows and a 36+ Swifts.