Awaking to a clear, very still morning I thought it was time to start early and have a listen for Nightingale around the Stour Valley stopping at Trenleypark Wood just after 4.35 but all that was heard was a calling Tawny Owl plus the odd corvid and Pheasant. Next stop was the pull in above Collard’s where a distant Cetti’s Warbler was singing out and the male Bittern could be heard booming from down in Stodmarsh, no Nightingales’ yet. Arriving at Grove at 5.45 I was surprised to find that Alan was not on site so made my way to the Ramp alone, as I passed by the last bus before the Paddocks a Nightingale exploded into song, a very pleasant sound. Many a Song Thrush and Blackbird were also in song and also well above 30 Sedge Warblers now on the reserve bring some life back in to the place. The Ramp pool had 10 Tufted Duck, 2 Shelduck, 4 Wigeon and the usual Teal, Mallard, Shoveler and Gadwall for company but no sign of any Garganey. The Feast hide held only 3 Tufted Duck a drake Pochard, 2 Greylags, 2 Teal and a Coot on its nest. I moved on to Harrison’s Drove hide where, I was joined by Adam Faiers where added a single Greenshank, 8 Snipe and 2 Redshank. From here we moved on to the Marsh hide adding Kestrel, 7 Marsh Harriers, several Skylark, Meadow Pipit and Linnet while at the hide there were 2 more Greenshanks, 1 Ruff, 2 Snipe and 4 Canada Geese.
Moving on we were hoping to add Willow Warbler to the list but by the time we had reached ‘Dads’ bench we hadn’t located any. Another birding couple said they thought they may have had a Grasshopper Warbler in the car park and, although not photographed the chap had sound recorded it on his camera. Sure enough it was one so we hastily made our way to the spot the had suggested and there we came across the Grasshopper Warbler in fine voice although at times difficult to see being in cover and a bit mobile , we did get good views of as it reeled we also had another (brief) Nightingale here.
A large flock of some 60+ Swallows and Sand Martins were feeding over the lake where 2 Great-crested Grebes and 23 Tufted Ducks were feeding. At the Water Meadows, where we were met by Chiddy, there were 3 Green Sandpipers, 1 Black-tailed Godwit and a Grey Heron.
Chiddy had discovered a Whitethroat on his way along the river that we hoped to pick up on our return and retracing our route we added 2 Sparrowhawks, a few Blackcaps a couple of Reed Warblers, 3 Wheatears behind Harrison’s and that , or another Common Whitethroat on the corner of the Paddocks where the path meets the river.