Avery strong east north easterly wind greeted us on arrival at Grove Ferry this morning with strong gusts throughout and despite the sunny conditions, with white fluffy clouds, it was somewhat chilly. This morning Chiddy and I were meeting Natural England’s Ben Ring to show known breeding sites for birds covered in a breeding bird survey we are undertaking and also discussing the work carried out on the reserve so far and, that still to be carried out. It was difficult to hear birdsong properly but, several Sedge Warblers could still be heard. The Ramp pool had 5 Wigeon (3 drakes) plus 3 Tufted Duck and a few Teal, Shoveler, Gadwall etc etc and a quick look at Feast hide added a further 8 Tufted Ducks. Harrison’s Drove hide still had the single Greenshank as well as 2 Redshanks while the ‘Three Gates’ pool also had a Greenshank plus 1 Redshank. A Nightingale made a brief call near the moored boats opposite the Oxbow whilst at the Water Meadows there were 2 Redshanks, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Greenshank, 1 Ruff and the summer plumaged Black-tailed Godwit and overhead a trickle of Swallows and Sand Martins. Just as we passed Lake Tower hide Ben mentioned that “it should soon be time for Common Terns” when one flew past right in front of us and was watched bouncing around over the lake. Ducks on the lake included Teal, Shoveler, 52 Tufted and 1 female Pochard also, a smart looking variant Mallard.
|variant Mallard, possibly a drake|
No sight or sound of the Grasshopper Warbler in the car park at Stodmarsh and very little else of note, although still a high number of Chiffchaffs in voice along with Great Tits and Chaffinches, all of which seem to be in greater numbers than usual. From the Marsh hide there was a drake Garganey, a single Little-ringed Plover, 3 Redshanks, 1 Ruff and 1 Black-tailed Godwit. The latter two seen earlier on the Water Meadows. Also a Bittern was watched creeping along the water’s edge towards a clump of reeds in the middle where it spent much of its time before we left hardly moving.
As we approached the Ramp a couple of Bearded Tits were heard then seen and aver the Ramp were a hunting Kestrel (successful) a Common Buzzard and in the adjacent fields a Mistle Thrush. Two Ring-necked Parakeets were in the Grove Ferry Inn trees as we returned to our cars.