The Stour Valley list for 2022 stands at 100 (101) species so far.
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There were 5 Oystercatchers on the Tern raft today
An early drive around the valley produced 4 Tawny Owl and after parking up at Grove Ferry, I met Martyn and we had a few hours walking around the circuit, being joined by Alan Ashdown at the Marsh Hide. Birds noted today included 2 ring tail Hen Harrier out early morning, c8 Marsh Harrier including a couple of displaying males, 3 Pochard, 3 Great White Egret dropped down near Harrisons and 2 Little Egret were near the river. There were 3 Water Pipit, 3 Linnet, 1 Bearded Tit, 3 Grey Heron, c15 singing Cetti's Warbler, c10 Reed Bunting, c500 Fieldfare, 2 Raven, 2 Bittern (1 briefly booming at Stodmarsh and 1 from the ramp) c7 Tufted Duck, 2 Treecreeper, 2 Bullfinch, c10 Long tailed Tit, 1 Chiffchaff and 1 Stonechat. Martyn had the female Ring necked Duck still present on Stodmarsh lake.
I did the circuit this morning and the highlight was a glimpse of the Long-eared Owl tucked away among the ivy. Luckily its location is still a fairly well guarded secret as the undergrowth around the roost tree has not been disturbed. Other birds seen were 14 Chaffinch on the path by the Alder wood and 2 Goldcrest.1 Little Egret and around 30 Lapwing at marsh hide.
Three Bitterns were seen and heard by Chris Gibbard and Russ Blackman this evening.
Sonogram of Brent Geese flying over Stodmarsh.
I had a three and a half hour walk around the Grove Ferry/Stodmarsh circuit from 06:40 in cloudy conditions where I manages to see or hear 60 species. Birds of note included 128 Shoveler, 96 Gadwall, 1 male Pintail, 204 Teal, 3 Pochard, 1 female Ring necked Duck still on Stodmarsh main lake with Tufted Ducks. There were 37 Coot, 1 Great crested Grebe, 52 Lapwing, 2 Common Gull, 750 Cormorant, 16 Tufted Duck, 1 Little Egret, 5 Marsh Harrier including a displaying male, 1 ring tail Hen Harrier, 1 Tawny Owl, 1 Kingfisher, 2 Raven, 1 singing Skylark, 13 Cetti's Warbler, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Mistle Thrush, c700 Fieldfare, 1 Stonechat, 1 Water Pipit, 12 Linnet and 7 Reed Bunting. 'Nocmig' recording on the night of the 15th in the valley produced a female Long eared Owl calling at 21:30.
In thick fog this morning, I had a brief drive around the lanes from 06:00 and recorded 1 Little Owl and 5 Tawny Owl. Then on to Stodmarsh where with the fog still quite dense, I spent a couple of hours in the Reedbed hide noting 3 Marsh Harrier, 6 Gadwall, 11 Tufted Duck, 1 female Ring necked Duck appeared out of the fog and spent some time quite close in feeding for a while. There were a pair of Goldeneye which briefly appeared from the fog before swimming further out. Also seen or heard were 2 Water Rail, 1 Snipe, 1 Bearded Tit and 2 Cetti's Warbler. With the fog very slowly lifting occasionally I then had a brief walk in Trenley Woods unsuccessfully trying to connect with Lesser spotted Woodpecker but had more luck on my way back with 5 Cattle Egret SE of Collards in fields with cattle.
I was out of the house early this morning where I had a drive around the lanes noting 7 Tawny Owl calling. Then on to Stodmarsh for a few hours where I saw 1 female Ring-necked Duck still on the main lake along with c10 Pochard, c14 Tufted Duck, 6 Marsh Harrier, 2 Egyptian Geese, 41 Shoveler, 2 Shelduck, 31 Gadwall, 1 Little Grebe, 1 Little Egret, 4 Water Rail, 2 Treecreeper, 2 Grey Heron, 2 Bearded Tit 1 Kestrel, c500 Cormorant, c200 Fieldfare, 3 Water Pipit and 6 Cetti's Warbler. A drive up to Trenley Woods produced 3 Firecrest, 2 Nuthatch and 2 Coal Tit whilst on the way back there were 3 Cattle Egret in the fields south of Collards.
Watching from the Tower Hide from 16:30 for an hour produced 1 Ring necked Duck (female) 10 Tufted Duck, c10 Pochard, up to 3 ring tail Hen Harrier, 4 Marsh Harrier, 1 Kestrel, 4 Water Rail, c500 Fieldfare, 1 Little Egret, c150 Lapwing, 1 Treecreeper and c10 Long tailed Tit. Walking back produced 1 Barn Owl, 1 Woodcock and 1 Tawny Owl calling near the car park.
A lovely morning at the reserve today with blue sky a hard frost and no wind so i was surprised to have the place to myself. Which might have been why i had excellent views of the Ring-neck Duck right in front of the Tower hide before it flew over to the far side of the lake.
Due to gale force winds and heavy rain, Saturday morning was spent in the Reedbed hide where the Ring-necked Duck was seen briefly. Also noted were 4 Marsh Harrier, c50 Pochard, 2 Egyptian Geese and 1 Pintail. Thankfully Sunday dawned sunny but still windy. I started off at Grove Ferry where I birded from the ramp down to the Marsh hide and back. Birds seen included 4 Marsh Harrier including a displaying male, 1 Kestrel, 6 Linnet, 1 Shelduck, 2 Bullfinch, c20 Gadwall, 3 Little Grebe, 2 Stonechat, 1 Little Egret c800 Cormorant and 1 Snipe. I returned late afternoon at 16:30 where not long after at dusk, 13 Woodcock were seen coming out of roost.
Strong Westerly wind and persistent rain this morning so not expecting to see much but meeting Martyn in the reed bed hide we had fairly good views of the Ring-necked duck that has been here for the last week or so.
With news breaking Friday of a Ring-necked Duck being found at Stodmarsh, I was keen to try and see this as it would be a valley tick. Thankfully a text Saturday morning from Martyn brought good news as it was still present. We were able to obtain good scope views of a female bird feeding with Tufted Ducks. An excellent long-awaited tick (25 years!). Other birds seen Saturday included 2 Little Egret and 3 Cattle Egret just South of Collards in fields with cattle.
I was out early this morning at 05:45 where I had a drive around the valley and despite the still quite strong wind, I heard 5 Tawny Owl calling. I then called into Grove Ferry where I noted 2 ring tail Hen Harrier going out east, 5 Marsh Harrier, 2 Linnet, 1 Pied Wagtail, 3 Pintail (1 drake) 2 Kestrel, c700 Cormorant and 1 Little Egret. Moving on to Collie Corner and Trenleypark Woods, I found 2 Firecrest, 1 Coal Tit, 1 Mistle Thrush, 2 Bullfinch, 2 Sparrowhawk and driving back through the lanes I saw 2 Cattle Egret near Collards and 1 Yellowhammer. This evening at dusk I had 11 Woodcock coming out of roost at Grove Ferry.
A good start to the new year when on new year's day we saw an Otter cross the path near the Birch benches. Jan 4th and there were 20+ Siskin in the Alder wood,300+ Lapwing and 1 Little Egret at Marsh hide..Yesterday,5th there were 9 Marsh Harriers over the old Coal tip area with 1 pair displaying. Also a Cormorant in breeding plumage on the raft and a male Goldeneye. Also seen 1 Stonechat, 22 Meadow Pipits, 1 Egyptian Goose and 1 Tree Creeper.
Great to be back birding the Stour Valley again. Birding at various sites within the boundary between 07:45 - 16-45 in cloudy and very windy conditions produced a respectable 68 species. Birds of note included 2 ring tail Hen Harrier, 3 Woodcock out of roost at dusk, 1 Nuthatch, 1 Great White Egret, 2 Little Egret, 2 Egyptian Geese, 2 Pintail, 104 Shoveler, 21 Wigeon, 49 Pochard and 3 Water Rail. There were 602 Cormorant, 6 Marsh Harrier, 1 Merlin, 1 Chiffchaff, 423 Fieldfare, 3 Stonechat, 2 Bullfinch and 9 Siskin.