A clam mild morning this May 19th had me pulling up at the Grove entrance at 4.15am to a glorious dawn chorus the was only slightly tainted by the calls of Greylag Geese out on the pools. The first of 3 Nightingales was around the car park of the Grove Ferry Inn and Common Whitethroats sang from nearly every bush. The reed bed was alive with Reed Warblers plus Sedge Warblers and Cetti’s Warblers joining in with the musical repast plus, of course, Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps, and many other chorister of the morn. A Cuckoo was calling along the river and three birds were seen through the morning and a drake Pochard was on the Ramp pool with 2 Tufted Duck, 2 Shelduck and a few Gadwall and Shoveler. Approaching Feast hide 3 Greenshank took flight from the adjacent ‘Baillon’s Pool’ and headed up valley and a Common Sandpiper was the only bird of note from Harrison’s. From Marsh hide the male Bittern was booming just behind while at the same time another Bittern was creeping along the dyke line out in front of the hide, a third Bittern was seen in flight over the ramp pool late morning. Not a huge haul of avifauna other than the Lapwings and 4 Redshank but, a passing Marsh Harrier flushed Gadwall from the grazing marsh and 3 drake Garganey were seen before they dropped in to the pool left of the hide. A Grey Wagtail flew over as I made my way towards the Alder Wood where again the songs of Wrens, Blackcaps, Song Thrushes etc were filling the air. There were 12 Common Terns on the lake along with 3 Great-crested Grebes and 21 Mute Swans and several Swifts were feeding over it. A couple of Garden Warblers showed in the Jungle and by the time I reached the Water Meadows the theme was taking on a more Indian feel with at least 3 Ring-necked Parakeets noisily squawking about plus a Peacock calling from the north side of the river. On the Water Meadows were 7 Ringed Plovers and a Dunlin while just after here on the Grazing marsh the was a summer plumaged ‘black’ Ruff plus 2 of the drake Garganey fro earlier. Passing the Paddocks on the way to the Ramp there were 3 Turtle Doves and on the Ramp I met up with Brendan who was with Mike Buckland and Gary Howard. Within five minutes I noticed a raptor going over that turned out to be a nice dark phase Honey Buzzard the drifted north east circling before heading off strongly south then, ten minutes after that Mike picked up a second raptor coming in from the north east and, this time it was a light male Honey Buzzard that although high carried on to the west. A few Swallows and the odd House Martin were passing through and a Kestrel was hunting near Harrison’s, a couple of Bearded Tits flitted above the reeds, a second Common Sandpiper flew low over the pool and the drake Wigeon was still on the pool in front of the Ramp. A tatty looking Common Buzzard drifted west, an obvious local bird and later at Collard’s Brendan and I had a further 3 Common Buzzards before we moved down to the mound of earth by the fishing pools where we had superb views of at least 39 Hobbies.
|A poor over exposed dark phase Honey Buzzard|
|One of a party of 18 Long-tailed Tits seen along the river|
|Mother and 3 of her 4 chicks at Restharrow on the way home|