Sunday, 1 March 2020

The Stour Valley list for 2020stands at 170 species so far.
Please send your sightings to

November 26th

There were 350 + Grey lag Geese in the field above Collard's this morning plus 2 Pied Wagtail. In the Alder wood there were 30+ Goldfinch and 20+ Siskin's .On the lake were 200+ Shoveller & 200+ Teal. There was a Green Sandpiper on the new scrape near the old boathouse and a Goldcrest and 2 Bullfinch in the jungle. Quite a few Stonechat's around the reserve and the Dartford Warblers were still present on Monday.23rd.     
(Bryan East)
Stonechat - Bryan East

November 11th

I had a couple of hours at Grove this morning. After the mist had cleared it was a bit quiet, but plenty of Redwing, Song Thrush and Blackbirds round the paddock. Visibility was not brilliant from the ramp, but i did see a flyover Jack Snipe and a Water Pipit. On to Harrisons Drove where there was a ringtail Hen Harrier which got up from the field just west of the drove and flew off towards the Marsh Hide. i managed to find two Dartford Warblers along the drove just past the gate leading to the Marsh hide. They appeared to be a male and female, with possibly a third bird lurckng nearby.  A nice Kingfisher and a male Marsh harrier finished off the morning nicely.
(Norman McCanch)

November 10th

I ringtail Hen Harrier to roost and 9-10 Marsh Harriers.
Barn Owl hunting by the river from 4.30 pm.
(Chris Cox)

November 6th

Perfect weather at Stodmarsh this morning with blue sky warm sun and no wind ,the lake was like a mill pond and i counted 50 Great crested Grebe's, 2 G W Egret and one Little Egret. Nothing exciting among the waterfowl at the moment. There was a Grey Wagtail at the jungle and 2 male Stonechat's along the river path. Earlier this week Nigel had a Glossy Ibis for company while digging out the ditches. On the 2nd Nov there were 3 Cattle Egret's in the field at middle drove and on the 4th Nov there were 2 Siskin with a small flock of Goldfinch in the Alder wood plus 3 Greenfinch. Marsh, Harrison's and Reed bed hides have all been demolished and  the car park will be closed for 3 or 4 days possibly next week.
(Bryan East)

3 of the 5 Cattle Egret's that have been present for the last few week's were at Middle drove this morning

October 30th

I spent a few hours at the ramp today between 10-12:30pm in a strong SW wind where I was joined for a while by Richard Collins. Birds noted included 1 Water Pipit, 1 Raven flying north over the ramp, 1 Cetti's Warbler, c150 Lapwing, 2 Grey Heron, 15 Greylag Geese, 1 Kestrel, 3 Cattle Egret seen in flight in fields with cattle at Undertrees Farm and 2 Marsh Harrier. I managed to hear the Dartford Warbler calling near the base of the ramp in a sheltered area and both Richard and I had nice views and managed a few record shots. There were also 2 Stonechat, 1 Water Rail, 1 Little Egret, c30 Teal, 7 Skylark and 157 Cormorant.
(Marc Heath)
Dartford Warbler - Marc Heath

Dartford Warbler 27th by the finder Shane Vale

October 28th

Stodmarsh and Grove today, 4 Tawny Owl, 1 Barn Owl, 6 Cetti's Warbler, 3 Water Rail, 1 Wigeon, 2 Grey Heron, 1 Kingfisher, 3 Kestrel, 5 Marsh Harrier, 50 Mute Swan, 1 Grey Wagtail, c160 Lapwing, 1 Little Egret, 2 Cattle Egret, 2 Great White Egret, 1 Dartford Warbler found yesterday was still in the bushes at the ramp although elusive, 4 Chiffchaff, 2 Bullfinch, 3 Stonechat, 6 Bearded Tit, 1 ring tail Hen Harrier, 1 Snipe, 1 Sparrowhawk, 18 Long tailed Tit, 2 Cattle Egret in fields with cows at Undertrees Farm, 4 Water Pipit, 2 Buzzard and plenty of Fieldfare and Redwing around the reserve.
(Marc Heath)

Cattle Egret and Dartford Warbler - Marc Heath

October 26th

Stodmarsh and Grove this morning produced 7 Tawny Owl, 2 Little Owl, 1 Snipe, 3 Cetti's Warbler, 6 Water Rail, c300 Greylag Geese, 3 Kingfisher, 3 Marsh Harrier, 1 Kestrel, 1 Stonechat, 2 Buzzard,  1 Black-tailed Godwit, c25 Lapwing, 44 Mute Swan, 35 Linnet, 3 Water Pipit, 3 Jay, 14 Reed Bunting, 1 Great-white Egret, 3 Bearded Tits, 5 Skylark, 2 Yellowhammer, 1 Sparrowhawk, 5 Goldcrest, 2 Grey Heron, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Egyptian Geese, 30 Great-crested Grebes, 1 Little Egret and 1 Beaver seen.
Grove Ferry tonight from 3.30pm produced, 3 Marsh Harrier, 1 ringtail Hen Harrier, 1 1st winter Grey Phalarope was present briefly from the ramp where it was performing its spinning feeding action when flushed by the Hen Harrier. Also 1 Great-white Egret, 1 Cattle Egret, 1 Barn Owl and a nice Starling murmuration to end the day.
(Marc Heath)

October 15th

 I did the circuit this morning and 2 of the 3 Great White Egret's that seem to be present every day were at the lake edge. There were 100+ Fieldfare and 4 Redwing at the top ( river ) end of Harrison's, not much else of note just 2 Kestrel and 1 Snipe. On the 13th at Stodmarsh there were 50 + Swallow and a similar number of Sand Martin's. While counting them they all flew high up as one flock spooked by a Sparrow Hawk that was flying low across the lake which also sent up 7 Ruff from the reed bed hide. Latest news re the hide's is that David Feast hide, Tower hide and the observation hide ( opposite the ramp ) will open soon with social distancing measures implemented in each hide which means 3 people in the larger hides and 2 in the observation hide but with my experience of twitchers and the general public this year i cannot see them obeying the distancing. Other news is that Marsh hide and Reed bed hide will be demolished in November with Nigel doing some landscaping at Marsh hide before the new hides are erected in December. There will be a lot going on in the next few months.  Plus a lot more of the new comfortable benches have been put up.
(Bryan East)

October 1st

I did the circuit mid morning and the mud bank has reappeared ( opposite boat house/nature trail) with 2 Black tailed Godwit, 2 Green Sandpiper, 1 Ruff and 1 Water Rail present. Also around the lake were 200+ Grey lag,1 Wigeon, 2 Great White Egret and the usual Gadwall, Teal and Shoveller. Also seen 1 common Buzzard, 1 Little Egret and 2 Stonechat's. There seem;s to be an influx of Bearded Tit's at the moment, possibly continental visitor's or local dispersal anyhow they are pinging all over the reserve. I saw David and he had 1 Barn Owl, 1 Tawny Owl, 1 Dunlin and 2 Redwing over early doors. It does not look like the hides will be opening any time soon which is a bugger now the weathers on the change.
(Bryan East)

September 25th 

Very strong North/Westerly wind at Stodmarsh this morning with some rain and the exposed mud and low water level at the lake edge opposite the old boathouse has gone which is a shame because it was starting to attract some wader's. Apart from the 2 Avocet's i had there on the 17th there was a Black-tailed Godwit, a Greenshank and a single Dunlin there on the 23rd also 2 Great-White Egret's,1 Water Rail and 3 Snipe, also at the ramp were 60+ Sand Martin's and a Little Egret. Today there were 5 Marsh Harrier's ( 2 adults and 3 juvenile's ) and 2 Great-White's. Duck number's are increasing especially Shoveller and Teal, with quite a few Gadwall as well. Nigel has been busy the last week clearing tree's/scrub and ditches in the reed bed's near the slag heap/jungle and D.E.F.R.A were due at the reserve this week regarding opening the toilet's and hides but no news yet.
(Bryan East)

September 21st 

Three yellow-browed warblers along the river and three great whites on the lake plus two Greenshank.
(Chris Doyle)

There was a Cattle Egret and two great White Egrets at the lake by the ramp near Grove.
(Mark Mullen)

There were 3 Great white Egrets at the lake edge this morning with 12 Grey Heron. Also a flock of 12 Bearded Tit along Harrison's and a smaller flock of 5 opposite Newborn's.
(Bryan East)
Great-White Egrets - Bryan East

September 17th 

There were 2 Avocets at Stodmarsh this morning.
(Bryan East)
Avocet - Bryan East

September 13th 

Noted at Stodmarsh and Grove Ferry this weekend were a large movement of House Martins with 400+ on Saturday but over 1200 at Stodmarsh lake on Sunday oddly though, just 2 Swallows and 30 odd Sand Martins. Also there were 2+ Garganey from the Ramp 4 Green Sandpipers a single Pink-footed Goose with 440 Greylags, 3 Great-white Egrets in the Cormorant tree at Stodmarsh, 6 Little Egrets, 1 Common Sandpiper, 5 Black-tailed Godwits, at least 8 calling Water Rails, 1 Stonechat, 2 Whinchats and a Wheatear. There were 12 plus Chiffchaffs, 2 or 3 Willow Warblers, 21 Common Snipe, 5 Marsh harriers, 3 Common Buzzards and 21 Great-crested Grebes including 2 'stripy heads'. Also of note, several Common Pipistrelle Bats, 2 Noctule Bats, 1 Badger, 1 Beaver and a Fox or two plus several Willow Emerald Damselflies and Migrant Hawker Dragonflies. No Sign this weekend of the 'silver' White-cheecked Pintail.

Migrant Hawker, Wheatear and Willow Emerald

September 11th 

There was a Spoonbill and a Great white Egret at Reed bed hide this morning. On Tuesday 8th there was a Clouded yellow near the metal bridge and a common Lizard near the river path. Some reserve news, apart from the new board walk at the nature trail being done this autumn/winter, Harrison's hide is being removed and replaced with viewing screen's. Marsh hide and reed bed hide are being removed and replaced with larger improved hides.
(Bryan East)

September 5th 

Weekend 4th/5th September. Very poor at the Grove end due to a rise in water levels covering all available mud, 2 Greenshank that couldn't find a landing spot, 2 Green Sandpipers and 1 Common Sandpiper were the best for waders. At the Stodmarsh end on Sunday however, was far better. With 2 Curlew Sandpipers on the mud in front of Reed Bed hide, viewable only from the Lampen Wall as all hides remain closed, 4 Dunlin, 1 Ringed Plover and 1 Green Sandpiper plus, 5 Little Egrets, 1 Great-white Egret and 7 Grey Herons. There were 5 Common Terns present incuding 1 juvenile that were being harried by a young female Peregrine Falcon until one Tern turned the tables and chased the Falcon off. At least 7 Water Rails were calling and the silver mutation White-cheecked (Bahama) Pintail seen by Norman in the week was still present. Only other bird of note was a Wood Sandpiper from the Ramp at Grove otherwise much as expected with the commoner birds.
Silver mutation Bahama or, White-cheeked Pintail

September 3rd 

Cloudy with a strong Westerly wind this morning at Stodmarsh but still warm. There were approx 360 Grey lag Geese at reedbed hide and on the lake with 1 Great white Egret and 8 Grey Heron along the reed edge. Still a few Swallow's and small flock's of Sand and House Martin present.. Standing on tower hide steps i saw 2 Turtle Dove's fly from the river area over to Newborn's, also 1 Marsh Harrier and 2 Kestrel
Bryan East)

September 1st

A good start to the month with 2 Redshank, 2 common Buzzard, 1 Kestrel and 1 Grey Wagtail ( Grove Ferry end) and 3 Spoonbill at reed bed hide and 1 Wheatear in fields outside the village. Also 1 Peacock, 1 Speckled Wood and several Small White's.  
(Bryan East)

August 28th

 A good morning's birding at Grove Ferry  with 6 Green Sandpiper's, 1 Curlew, 2 Black tailed Godwit, 1 Little Egret and 12 Ringed Plover at the ramp. The plover's were on the far mud bank and were flying from there to the hidden far pool and back. Also what looked like a very brown juvenile Black headed Gull. A lot of activity at the metal bridge with 6 Whitethroat, 1 Yellow Hammer, 5 Corn Bunting, 3 Meadow Pipit, 2 Skylark, 7 Reed Bunting and 2 Cetti's Warbler.
(Bryan East) 

Yellowhammer and juvenile Black-headed Gull - (Bryan East)

August 18th

A mixed bag of weather at the reserve so far this week with Monday warm and sunny, a strong Westerly wind Tuesday and Wednesday and warm and sunny first thing today ( Thursday ) with the highlight of the week watching a Peregrine Falcon today hunting over the fields at Middle Drove while also watching a Turtle Dove land in a tree. On Monday 24th i saw 2 Spotted Flycatcher's ( Norman had 4 and a Lesser Whitethroat ) 3 Kingfisher's, 200 approx Grey lag Geese,1 Little Egret,1 Common Buzzard, 3 Whitethroat  1 Blackcap and 1 Treecreeper. The 25th and 26th had the usual mix of Great ,Blue & Long tailed Tit and Chiffchaff. Also some small flock's of Sand & House Martin and a few juvenile and adult Swallow. Today 27th apart from the Peregrine and T Dove i had 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 male Blackcap 14 Linnet,1 Green Sandpiper 1 Kestrel, 2 Marsh Harrier and some flock's of Goldfinch feeding on the Thistle seed, While standing on the Tower hide steps i noticed the reeds below were full of Ladybird's and their larvae.T hey were Harlequin ladybird's, apparently the most invasive insect in the world. 
(Bryan East) 

Ladybird, Ladybird lavre and Turtle Dove - Bryan East

August 18th

The Wood Sandpiper was showing well this morning at the ramp as well as a Curlew and a Green Sandpiper but fairly quiet otherwise with just a few Goldfinch's, 1 Bearded Tit and a few Reed Bunting. Yesterday i did the circuit and as Martyn had said about the weekend very few calling bird's and not one single Marsh Harrier seen. I saw Ben and he said the same. with just a Robin calling near the Alder wood. On Sunday 16th i had 9 Little Egret's and 1 Spoonbill at the lake and also 20 Great crested Grebe with one pair with 2 chick's the first i have seen this year.
(Bryan East) 

Great-crested Grebe chicks, Greenshank and Curlew - Bryan East

August 16th

A very strange weekend, when Dave and I arrived on Saturday morning (4.15) there was not a singe sound, no Blackbirds, Robins or Dunnocks singing, no Geese or Lapwings calling not even a Mallard. There were birds from the Ramp and later on and around the Ramp but, the rest of the reserve was deafly quiet and very hard work. Sunday didn't fair much better but a few birds were calling and singing. Still very quiet around the reserve except at the Ramp and at the lake at Stodmarsh. From the Ramp were 8 Green Sandpipers, 4 Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Common Sandpipers, 1 Greenshank and 1 eclipse Garganey plus loafing Mallards, half a dozen Gadwall, 40 Teal and 100 lapwings. Around the Ramp bushes were at least 3 Lesser Whitethroats, Common Whitethroat, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Linnet, Goldfinch Blue and Great Tits. On the lake at Stodmarsh were 11 Great-crested Grebes at least 18 Common Terns (several fledged juveniles) and a very smart juvenile Black Tern. Oddly not a single Marsh Harrier seen all weekend or last weekend, we did manage to see 2 Kestrels and 1 Common Buzzard and a possible Sparrowhawk but a very poor raptor weekend.

Juvenile Black Tern in the mist over Stodmarsh lake 16/08/20

August 14th

There were 11 Little Egret's in the Cormorant tree's this morning, also seen 1 Kingfisher and 2 Sparrow Hawk's
(Bryan East)

August 13th

Very hot at Grove Ferry this morning and the water level at the ramp is very low compared to it's normal level but it seems to be attracting some wader's with 1 Wood Sandpiper, 3 Green Sandpiper, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Grey Heron and 1 Little Egret along with the usual Mallard and Lapwing. Also 4 Whinchat in the usual field near the metal bridge. Not one Butterfly on the Buddleia bushes, very strange. Nice to watch a Song Thrush using an "anvil" on the river path to smash open Snail's. Yesterday at Stodmarsh were 5 Little Egret, 1 Spoonbill, 1 Hobby and a Grass Snake ( 15" approx ) on the river path.
(Bryan East)

August 2nd

On July 20th a Whinchat was seen and photographed at Stodmarsh by Janie Fagg, this is probably our earliest returning date, we usually get them from the second weekend of August. The last couple of weeks has seen an increae in other autumn returners with a couple of Spoonbills seen for several days, several Green Sandpipers showing and an influx of Willow Warblers, Steve Aston counting 30+ along the Lampen Wall on the last day of July while Neil Framton had 20+ along the river also on 31st. Yesterday The Wood Sandpiper that first turned up last Saturday was still present as were 10 Green Sandpipers and 6 Black-tailed Godwits. Thanks to Tony Swandales sharp eyes our first Golden Plover of the year was seen flying over to the north west. Also this weekend the 2 drake Garganey were still showing from the Ramp and several adult and juvenile Water Rails along the reed margins trying to pretend to be Spotted Crakes! Several Common and very very smart Lesser Whitethroats around and today Sue and I had upwards of 30 Willow Warblers along the river, 20+ between the Paddock and the first bend and 10+ in the trees next to Tower hide. Still 2 or 3 Turtle Doves present, 2 Hobbies, 1 Peregrine Falcon, 3 or 4 Common Buzzards, 2+ Kingfishers, a stunning male Yellowhammer along Middle Drove, 100+ Sand Martins over Stodmarsh lake, 2 Swifts still present and a dozen Little Egrets. Beavers still being seen from the Ramp early mornings but surprisingly low numbers of Butterflies and Dragonflies although numerous Gatekeepers are present and the odd Green-eyed Hawker, Brown Hawker and Willow Emerald Damselfly. Plus the usual expected Stour valley inhabitants.

Willow Emerald Damselfly and Willow Warbler

July 30th

At the ramp this morning was a Spoonbill which was having  a good old scratch, also 1 Black tailed Godwit, 1 Little Egret and 70 Lapwing. Yesterday at Stodmarsh there was a Spotted Flycatcher near Basil's bench 
(Bryan East)

Spoonbill - Bryan East

July 17th

Nice and hot at Stodmarsh this morning and i was watching a young Cuckoo feeding on some quite large caterpillar's in the reed's near the tower hide.
(Bryan East)
Juvenile Cuckoo -Bryan East

July 15th

I have been watching some awesome raptor display's over the last week at the reserve with food passes made between the adult and juvenile Marsh Harrier's. This morning one of the 3 juveniles at the Reed bed hide area flew under the adult male and locked talon's then tumbled down about 10 feet before parting. In the sky above Harrison's drove one of a pair of adult common Buzzard's was roller coasting and calling, as they pair for life i think it must be a bonding thing. On Monday there were 5 Buzzard's over Middle drove,3 juvenile's and 2 adult's and one of these was roller coasting, there were also 3 juvenile Marsh Harrier's near David Feast hide. The Common Tern's fledged over the last week or so and this morning i counted 26 adult's and young on the wing. Also on Monday there were 17 juvenile Coot's in the " Otter ditch" at the jungle the most i have seen together for a while. Also seen today were 1 Kingfisher, 3 Blackcap, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Reed Warbler, 3 Sedge warbler, 1 Water Rail sunning itself and 1 Oak Eggar moth caterpillar.
(Bryan East)
Water Rail - Bryan East

June 30th

It was fairly quiet at the reserve this morning birdwise but lot's of insects including a pair of Rutpela maculata ( Longhorn beetle ) and it was nice to see a Water Vole in the stream near the car park.    
(Bryan East)
Longhorn Beetle - Bryan East

Water Vole - Bryan East

June 2nd

The female Red Footed Falcon was near the Marsh hide this morning and 2 Red Kite's were between Grove Ferry and Sarre.   
(Bryan East)

June 1st

There was a Black Winged Stilt at Stodmarsh this morning, also seen were 1 Bittern,1 Red Kite and yesterday 31st May the female Red Footed Falcon at Middle Drove and 2 Turtle Doves and 3 Cuckoo

Had a quick look around this morning and found an adult Black-winged Stilt at the top end of marsh hide (Chris Doyle)

May 31st

What would have been the undoubted highlight of the past few days had it stayed around was the Spoonbill and a at dawn on Sunday, 2 Crossbills east also Sunday picked up by the exceptional hearing of Brendan Ryan, 2 booming and one flying Bittern, the pair of Red-crested Pochards, 3+

Bearded Tit


Brown Hare

Red-footed Falcon

May 29th

Went to Grove Ferry tonight and the pair of Red Crested Pochard are still there.Also i saw something you don't see everyday 3 young Lapwing's swimming from the middle of the ramp pool to the edge..

(Bryan East)

Swimming Lapwing Chicks - Bryan East


May 27th

Had a nice evening at Stodmarsh today with a Nightingale singing near Reed bed hide, a

(Bryan East)
Fox cub - Bryan East

May 20th

I did the circuit this morning and the Little Owl was showing well at Undertrees . A Bittern flew from the old slag heap over to Marsh hide area ( 9.20 am ) and apart from the usual there was 1 Little Egret and 1 Turtle Dove. A Small Skipper was also seen .I went to the Ramp this evening ( 7pm ) and there were 7 Green Sandpiper's and the male Red Crested Pochard.

(Bryan East)
Red-crested Pochard - Bryan East

May 17th

At Stodmarsh/Grove Ferry this weekend was another

Bittern at Grove
Garden Warbler

May 11th

IIt has been a really interesting few days in the Stour Valley with the undoubted highlight being a second calendar male

Little Tern with Common Tern - Sue Morton

Red-crested Pochards in the early morning mist

Willow Warbler in full song

May 7th

I took a walk along the top road, overlooking Collard's, at midday on to the Bluebell woods and a Nightingale was singing away next to the road. I have heard this bird in the same spot for the last 2 weeks and it can be heard any time of the day. Most of the young Rook's in the rookery are perched next to the nest and ready to leave. and a pair of Yellowhammer's were near the Gorse bushes.  

(Bryan East)
Yellowhammer - Bryan East

May 3rd

The undoubted highlight of this weekend was the adult male

Red-footed Falcon

April 30th

A few odds and ends from last few days.New for year Ruff Wood Sandpiper Turtle DovePink-footed GooseGarganey
Plus 2 Little Gulls Collard's on Monday. Pair of Garganey at Marsh Hide today as per PPhil also had a Siskin the week before. 
(Brendan Ryan)

A strong westerly wind this morning at the reserve so it was a bit quiet when i went to the marsh hide with just a few
(Bryan East)
Greenshank - Bryan East

April 26th

Not long after arriving at Grove Ferry Saturday morning (5.00am) the first


April 24th

April 22nd  Did the circuit this morning on a lovely hot sunny day. Birds seen today were 27 Mute Swan at the ramp, 3 Whitethroat, 2 Sparrowhawks, 1 Cuckoo, 7 Marsh Harrier, 4 Linnet, 2 Redshank, 2 Greenshank, 6 Wigeon, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 male Bullfinch, 1 male Blackcap, 2 Chaffinch, 1 Treecreeper, pair of Tufted Duck, Chiffchaff, 3 Common Tern, 6 Swift, 1 Goldfinch, 2 Bearded Tit and plenty Sedge Warblers and Cetti's Warblers calling. There was a Common Darter near the Alder wood and elsewhere 10 Peacock ,6 Small White, 2 Small Tortoiseshell and 1 Orange Tip.   This morning April 24th, there were 23 Mute Swan, 1 Snipe, 3 Pochard, 2 Shelduck and a pair of Grey Lags with 4 Goslings at the ramp, on my way around the reserve i saw 7 Linnet's, 1 Whitethroat, 2 Redshank, 3 Gadwall, 2 Cuckoo, 6 Marsh Harrier, 1 Common Buzzard, 4 Common Tern, 2 male Blackcap's, plenty Sedge and Cetti's Warbler 2 young Marsh Frog's and 5 Mallard duckling's.

(Bryan East)

April 20th

Saturday was extremely wet with a blustery east north east wind lightning and claps of thunder one of which put every bird in to the air. Sunday was very sunny but with a chilly north east wind. The better of the two days was the wet and windy one! Two

Hobby on Sunday morning

April 17th

Added to the valley list today by Brendan were Osprey, Wheatear and Garden Warbler while Tony Swandale had 3 Ring Ouzels near Blue Bridge.

I did the circuit again this morning and it was very much like yesterday ( minus the Cuckoo ) there were 3 Black Tailed Godwit and 2 Shelduck at the ramp.At Marsh hide were 4 Wigeon, 2 male and 2 female, 3 Green Sandpiper, 1 Greenshank, 2 Gadwall and a calling Redshank. There were 2 Small White,19 Peacock, 1 Orange Tip and a nice male Brimstone. In a hole in the barn was a Little Owl.

Little Owl - Bryan East

April 15th

As well as Bryan sightings below Brendan today had House Martin and Yellow Wagtail new for the year as well as 10 Green Sandpipers and 33 singing/calling Water Rails.

With the other half having to do her NHS work from home and the air turning blue 'cause the internet keeps dropping out every 20 minutes i legged it to the reserve for some sanity, it was a lovely warm sunny morning and  again i had the whole reserve to myself. The ramp had just 1 Little Egret, 2 Shelduck and some Teal and Shoveller. As i approached David Feast hide area i saw a pair of Marsh Harrier's food passing and the female then dropped in the reed's farthest from the hide, despite all the hides being shut there was still a lot to be seen and heard with 6 Linnet's near the metal bridge,1 Swallow, 2 Common Buzzard, 3 Kestrel and 2 Skylark. There were Reed Bunting everywhere and the path from the cattle crush to Marsh hide was alive with Sedge Warblers with 1 Reed Warbler seen.. From the path i could just see the far pools at Marsh hide and there was 1 Green Sandpiper and 1 Greenshank. Nearing the Alder wood i heard a Cuckoo and a Nightingale calling briefly. One of the friendly robins approached me on the bridge in the Alder wood but i forgot to bring some feed ( next time) there was also a Stock dove there. Not much on the lake today apart from 1 Shelduck near Reedbed hide Some idiot's had lit a large fire on the path in front of Basil's bench with beer cans thrown every where and silver paint on part of his bench.Very little along the river but all in all a lovely morning stroll.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Sedge Warbler - Bryan East

April 12th

Weekend news included lots of singing birds with 16

Avocets and Little Egret

There were 4

There were also 2 Mammals included Fox, Beaver, Water Vole and a dead Pipistrelle Bat.
Dead Pipistrelle

April 8th

While the only new addition to the Valley list at the weekend was

Avocet with Teal


April 4th

Recent additions from Sue and Brendan are Swallow and Red Kite (Sue) and Sedge Warbler (Brendan) taking the total slowly to 114 

April 1st

I had a quick look at the ramp pool this morning and there were 22 Black Tailed Godwit's and 4 Shelduck and i had the place to myself which was great.

(Bryan East)

Black-tailed Godwit - Bryan East

Black-tailed Godwit - Bryan East

March 25th

The car park at Stodmarsh is now closed because of this virus but the reserve itself is still open for the time being. Taking every precaution, nitrile gloves and bacterial wipes, i did the circuit this morning as my daily exercise and had the reserve to myself apart from a dog walker and another birder. Marsh hide was busy again with a female Ruddy Shelduck with 2 Shelduck's and the usual Teal, Shoveller, Gadwall and Tufted Duck. Also 3 Snipe and 1 Little Egret. There were 2 Shelduck on the lake. 5 Marsh Harrier's 1 Kestrel and 1 Common Buzzard plus 1

(Bryan East) 

Ruddy Shelduck - Bryan East

Dunlin - Bryan East

March 23rd

Went to the Marsh hide this morning and had to smile as a Little Egret kept approaching the Grey Lag Goose sitting on it's nest on the small island, after being chased away for the third time the goose let the Egret stay while it preened it's self. It has been quite busy at the hide recently with 2 Green Sandpiper's flying in, joining the Lapwing's and the usual duck's. 

(Bryan East) 

Little Egret - Bryan East

March 21st/22nd

A weekend visit to the Stodmarsh National Nature reserve in rather cold east north easterly winds was quite raw but at least the sun shone. Highlights include a pair of

Today (23rd) Chiddy discovered an Avocet on the Ramp pool.

March 19th

Took a walk to the Marsh hide from the Stodmarsh end this morning and there were 50+ Grey Lag's in the field opposite the car park. At the hide were 16 Mute Swan, Gadwall ( 3 pairs ),Tufted Duck ( 1 pair ), Shoveller, Teal, 9 Lapwing and 1 male Sparrowhawk .A Grey Lag is building a nest on the small island in front of the hide. Ben saw a male Hen Harrier 6.25 am and Michael had a pair of Gargany at Reed bed hide yesterday morning also there are now 11 Belted Galloway's as a new calf was born on Tuesday

(Bryan East)

March 15th 

Another weekend of strong wind and drizzly weather making any birding hard work. Duck numbers are dropping as are the Greylags but nothing new is coming through. Highlights on Saturday were 4 Kingfishers, 3 seen at Feast hide, a dozen Marsh Harriers, 6 Shelduck and a Great-white Egret happily downing large Pike, of the two it caught while we were watching the second (Jack) Pike was two times the length of the Egrets bill, maybe slightly more. On Sunday 7 pairs of Tufted Duck were present and, bucking the trend, 3 Pochard included just one drake. Three Water Pipits were present at Marsh hide and although we didn't see any Hen Harriers 3 ringtails and a single male are still being seen.

March 13th

It may be Friday the 13th but i had a lovely morning at Stodmarsh.  It appear's a pair of Grey Heron's are nesting on the ground at the edge of the reed bed near Reed bed hide. I watched some display behavior and attempted nest building and i must say i have never seen this before.I saw 1 Chiffchaff at the jungle and watched a Weasel for 15 minutes zig zagging around in the Alder wood.

(Bryan East)
Weasel - Bryan East
Grey Hero - Bryan East

March 12th

I went to the Marsh hide this morning from the Grove Ferry end and there were 4 Shelduck at the ramp. At David Feast hide were 1 pair of Gadwall, 1 pair of Tufted Duck and a few Teal. At the Marsh hide were 2 pair of Gadwall, 7 pairs of Shoveller, 3 pairs of Tufted Duck, 50 + Teal, 1 Cetti's Warbler, 5 Lapwing, 6 Snipe, 1 Stock Dove and 1 Great White Egret.  On Monday 9th March at Marsh hide were 12 Lapwing with 2 males displaying and 2 Redshank

(Bryan East)

 March 7th

At last a day without strong westerly winds and, or, rain. A nice light northerly breeze becoming more westerly through the morning but, nice and sunny. A perfect day for bird watching except, someone forgot to tell the birds. A very quiet morning with n sign of any Owls, no Great-white Egrets and no sign of any Hen Harriers 14 Marsh Harriers did leave roost but were less active than last week. Small birds were also no as prevalent as one would expect Wrens and Chaffinches being the exception. Notable birds however were 7 calling Water Rails, 1200 Cormorants, 2 Kingfishers, 7 Cetti's Warblers, a Treecreeper by the Tower hide and at Marsh hide 14 Snipe and 11 Water Pipits. Also a male Greenfinch singing near the Boathouse represented the first for the valley this year, a full 67 days later than usual.

March 1st
The first day of a new month and with much better weather, albeit still quite windy. Signs of spring were in evidence with displaying and mating Marsh Harriers, displaying Great-crested Grebes and plenty of singing. Nothing new to add to the year listing today but still a few nice birds seen. A Barn Owl was hunting over the reed bed between 0600 and 0650, 15 Marsh Harriers left roost as did 3 Hen Harriers including the adult male. Cetti’s Warblers were more vocal today with at least 7 birds encountered and 5 very vocal Water Rails. Wrens appear to be everywhere at the moment and the Marsh harriers are very active. Small birds were much in evidence today with plenty of Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Reed Buntings and Chaffinches seen and heard. Duck numbers appear to be dwindling with just 300 Shoveler, 120 Teal and 4 Tufted Ducks noted although, 34 Gadwall flew in bringing  lone drake Wigeon with them. Also noted were 1 Great-white Egret, 5 Common Buzzards including the one that resembles an Osprey (be wary of any reports!!), Goldcrest, Treecreeper, Fieldfare and of course several tame Robins. Also one Tawny Owl still making use of the old Woodpecker holed tree in the Alder Wood. Five Little Egrets were in a field at Cow Corner.