Sunday, 1 March 2020

The Stour Valley list for 2020stands at 114 species so far.
Please send your sightings to

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 Fox were also seen.

(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 Egyptian Geese chasing a Shelduck over Feast pool then disappearing up the valley. A male Blackcap along the Grove entrance track in part song and a pair of adult summer Mediterranean Gulls on the fields at Collard's. Also 3 Ruff flying through Middle Drove towards Harrison's 14 Sand Martins at Westbere and a brief pair of Greenfinhes (very rare here now) along the Grove entrance. Most of the usual and expected birds were present including Great-white Egret, 10 Marsh Harriers, 6 Shelduck 14 Tufted Duck a pair of Wigeon, Kingfisher, 8+ Skylarks, Sparrowhawk, 5 Buzzards and a pair of Bullfinches. The tame Robin still feeding from the hand in the Alder Wood at Stodmarsh.

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.