Saturday, 25 August 2012

Whinchat Influx



On arrival at Grove Ferry this morning the sky was clear and the stars were out with Jupiter and Neptune both on show. Alan was already parked up and as we got ourselves ready the cloud rolled in and on the way to the Ramp little drops of rain were felt. We decided to go straight to Feast hide and wait until nearer 5.45 to go to the Ramp and wait for the Heron, on passing the Ramp a voice called out to ask if we were wimping out on the Ramp. Norman McCanch was already in place long before we arrived so we joined him, missed most of the light showers and waited for the target bird. The Ruff was still present on the spit and was later joined by a Greenshank while 2 Black-tailed Godwits were feeding on the far side, 3 Little Egrets came out of roost and flew over and now 6 Garganey were feeding with the assorted Teal, Shoveler, Gadwall and Mallard plus the 2 Wigeon Still. Norman got on a small bird weaving in and out of the reeds in front of the Ramp but, as the light improved it proved to be a young Water Rail. With Norman and I looking towards the back of the pool we almost missed the prize, luckily Alan was looking toward Stodmarsh when he picked up the juvenile Purple Heron flying across the Feast hide pool and we all watched it fly out towards Marshside. After this Norm went home for breakfast. Alan and I popped in to Feast hide where a 3rd Black-tailed Godwit was in residence plus 2 Green Sandpipers and another Water Rail. As we reached Harrison’s Drove we spotted 5 Whinchats along the fence line, it looks like it could be a good year with 3 two days ago and 3 in the spring, but the hide revealed only a close Green Sandpiper.
Green Sandpiper at Harrison's Drove hide

Green Sandpiper at Harrison's Drove hide
Now joined by Sue Morton we headed toward the river and at 7.47am noticed, what we thought was a, Marsh Harrier being mobbed by a pair of Kestrels. On closer inspection, though, it turned out to be a nice Honey Buzzard the drifted low over the Oxbow bushes and disappeared out of sight. We had hoped it may have perched up but we could not relocate it by the time we got that far round. Very little in the way of small birds apart from several parties of hirrundines, notably several Sand Martins. There was almost nothing on the Water Meadows except 3 Green Sandpipers and a short time at the lake in Stodmarsh only gave us a Hobby, with no sign of the Great-white Egret. This bird is probably still around as it does like to get in the pool/bay in the far left corner (looking from Tower hide). The rest of the journey round gave us little except  5 Stock Doves and back at Feast hide just a Kingfisher livened up the morning. We missed all the showers and managed to stay dry and all three of left just before midday.

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