After hearing a Tawny Owl calling near Collard’s on Saturday morning I arrived at the Ramp at Grove hoping the forecast good weather would bring in a few migrants. Tony Swandale joined me on the Ramp for a while and we discussed several topics including the recent Beaver activity at Westbere. After Tony left I was then joined Sue Morton, Alan Ashdown & Adam Faiers and after a short time at the Ramp, hoping the sun would warm us enough to return our coats to the cars (it didn’t) we started a tour of the valley in pleasant sunshine tainted with a blustery west north westerly that moved to the north east during the morning. A typically joyous dawn chorus was heard while through the morning the common species were recorded in varying numbers including, Cetti’s Warbler, Reed & Sedge Warbler and Whitethroat though, strangely, no Lesser Whitethroats. The drake Wigeon was still present at the Ramp along with a scattering of Gadwall and Shoveler plus 2 Shelduck. No sign of any Teal today but I’m sure a few are still lurking about as, also, the Garganey probably are. A Cuckoo called in the distance and 6 or 7 Marsh Harriers, mainly males, were seen throughout our stay. Several hundred Swifts were feeding low over Stodmarsh Lake plus smaller numbers of Swallows and Martins while a studious search through them failed to locate a hoped for Red-rumped Swallow, 18 Common Terns were also over the lake. There were 3 Kestrels, 5 Hobbies (although more would surely be seen later), 16 Tufted Duck, a couple of Bearded Tits and a fly over Yellow Wagtail but a distinct lack of waders, with just 6 Redshanks and a few breeding Lapwings seen. By now there should be Wood Sandpipers, Common Sandpipers, the odd Ruff, a few Green Sandpipers, Little-ringed Plovers and the odd Spotted Redshank to name but a few. There were 2 Bitterns, one seen in flight from the Ramp plus the booming male near Marsh hide and 3 Common Buzzards plus a further 4 Common Buzzards seen from Collard’s mid-day but no sign of any Terns or Gulls on Collard’s which is most unusual at this time of year.
|Common Tern Stodmarsh|
|Coot with one of six chicks at Restharrow|
|Herring Gull with deformed bill at Restharrow|
|Lapwing at Restharrow|
|Reed Bunting near Mary Bax Stone|
Sunday morning and another fantastic dawn chorus on a beautiful still calm morning with a touch of ground frost. Pretty much the same as yesterday bird wise with still no waders of such, just Redshank and Lapwing. One Bittern was booming this morning and at least 3 Turtle Doves were in the Paddocks. Reed and Sedge Warblers in fine voice, plenty of Whitethroats and Blackcaps, one or two Garden Warblers and I did locate a Lesser Whitethroat today. Three Nightingales were heard, less than one would expect especially as there were six last weekend, 20 Common Terns were on the Lake at Stodmarsh, there were 5 Marsh Harriers, 16 Hobbies, 1 Little Egret, a pair of Bullfinches and 2 Shelducks. I met Brendan doing a breeding bird survey on the Lampen Wall and again along Harrison’s where, both times we stopped for a chat. After Seeing Brendan for the first time I met Dave Kirkaldie who was leading a Dawn Chorus walk at Stodmarsh for SBBOT (Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory Trust) but sadly, no one else turned up. Back on the Ramp late morning Tim Gutsel phoned to say a Red Kite was drifting my way from the Undertrees Farm direction but, I failed to locate it (blind, as well as deaf) shortly after the Kite Sue Morton joined me and we birded the rest of the morning from the Ramp with little else of note except for a flyover Ring-necked Parakeet. The drake Wigeon was still on the Ramp Pool and on my way to check Collard’s on the way home a Yellow Wagtail was on telegraph wires near Stodmarsh village. Once again Collard’s was devoid of Gulls and Terns, but 3 Hobbies were feeding low over the reed bed. Passing through Sandwich on the way home the Little Owl at the Chequers posed nicely for a shot.
|Konik in the earl morning mist at Stodmarsh|
|Reed Bunting at Grove Ferry|
|Girl on a bike passing Restharrow|
|Linnet near Mary Bax Stone|
|Little Grebe at Restharrow|
|Little Grebe at Restharrow|
|Little Owl the Chequers|