I didn’t write about anything last week due to the fact the valley was shrouded in fog and birding was utterly useless although, to be fair, we did get our earliest Sedge Warbler on Saturday beating mine and Chiddies from last year by two days. Found by Brendan it was chirruping away along Harrison’s Drove where the paths cross over. Chiddy and I had three there on Sunday, also there were 10 Pink-footed Geese between Middle Drove and the Marsh Hide, a good record for the Stour Valley. As is always the way while back at work from 6.00am on Monday the Sun decided to show and what followed was a week of blistering sunshine while I toiled away cursing the lucky few who could get out. Typically the weekend arrives and all the nice weather has gone and It’s back to wintery overcast conditions with a cold north easterly, perhaps I should work weekends and have tow days off during the week!!!.
|Corn Bunting Collard's 25/03/12|
So back to the last day of March and despite the awful weather it didn’t turn out to be a bad day, I met Chiddy at the gate at Grove and although yesterday’s Avocets never showed we did have our one and only Sedge Warbler from the Ramp where there was also 3 Garganey (2 drakes) and small numbers of other duck including Teal, Gadwall, Shoveler, 3 Wigeon, 10 Tufted, 1 Pochard and 1 Shelduck. Joined By Alan Ashdown and Steve Ashton we took a tour of the whole circuit adding 75 Mute Swans (57 on the lake at Stodmarsh), 56 Tufted Duck on Stodmarsh lake, 5 Great-crested Grebes and 8 Sand Martins that put in an appearance for 5-8 minutes. At least 25 singing Chiffchaffs and 12 singing Cetti’s Warblers were noted while several Pied Wagtails were seen but as yet no Yellows recorded but in all fairness it is still a little early. While at the Water Meadows we had 3 Green Sandpipers along with 7 Ruff (a couple coming into plumage and looking smart), a single summer plumaged Black-tailed Godwit, a Ringed Plover and a Little Egret, a phone call from Brendan who was on the Ramp, alerted us to a Red Kite passing through the south side of the reserve, as many as five have been seen in the Grove/Stodmarsh area now in the past week. Back on the Ramp, after a natter with Brendan along Harrison’s, we were rewarded with 2 Swallows heading west plus, 2 Common Buzzards, 5 Sparrowhawks, 1 Kestrel, 35 in then out Golden Plovers and 1+ Ring-necked Parakeet. A flock of 90 Fieldfares were also quite mobile around the reserve. After everyone but Alan and I had left I thought I caught sight of A Common Crane dropping in to the Water Meadows area so we decided to go and have a look but all we could find was 3 Grey Herons, oh well, then thought we’d carry on and complete the circuit again in the opposite direction where we added 2 Canada Geese near Marsh Hide, a pair of Blackcaps and a Treecreeper through the Nature Trail and a showy, but distant, two Jack Snipe at Marsh Hide along with at least 27 Common Snipe.
|Jack Snipe no. 1 showing crown pattern at distance|
|Jack Snipe no.2 distant shot|
|Jack Snipe no.2 distant shot|