Sunday, 7 April 2013

Weekend at Bernie's

Or Sunday Morning With Bernie.


Saturday 6th
Another cold and grey start with Chiddy in the early hours at Grove Ferry where we were joined by Alan Ashdown and later Steve Ashton. We started at the Ramp as usual noting the first of 12 Marsh harriers, a Barn Owl hunting the Paddock and Ramp side fields and 6 Tufted Ducks on the pool. We watched as 5 Hen Harriers made their way east out of the reserve including 1 male and a second male was seen later in the morning. While still on the Ramp a few Lapwings started coming in and 3 adult summer Mediterranean Gulls noisily passed overhead but didn’t stop, 2 Shelduck were on the pool and a nice female Sparrowhawk cruised through, a male and a another two were seen during the morning. On approaching the Marsh hide a flock of some 40+ Redpolls passed over on an eastward passage while from the hide there were 5 Redshanks, 2 more Shelducks, 2 Dunlin, 3 Water Pipits and 13 Snipe. There was, sadly, no sign of yesterday’s Common Crane. On our way round we encountered 5 Cetti’s Warblers and at Stodmarsh lake there were 43 Pochards, 5 Tufted Ducks, 4 Great-crested Grebes, 1 1st/winter Herring Gull, and 6 Great Black-backed Gulls including 2 adults. A couple of Chiddy’s friends came past as we left Tower hide with little to report from along the river except a single Bittern and a pair Ring-necked Parakeets so, we decided to head back the way we came via Marsh hide. On our approached to Marsh hide Steve spotted the Common Crane flying over the hide and we watched as it landed in a field behind Harrison’s before eventually taking flight again and flying high east.

Common Crane
 
Common Crane

Common Crane
 
Back at the Ramp there were 2 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 26 Linnets flew over and a Common Buzzard drifted east.
Sunday 7th
Yesterday the temperature was plus 3 degrees this morning however it was minus 3 with a heavy ground frost and a layer of ice on the cars. The clear night sky started to cloud over during the breaking dawn but eventually broke to a beautiful sunny day, yippee, the first for a long time. Chiddy and I were on the Ramp at 5.50am being joined by Bernie Weight and Sue Morton a little later. One of the first birds in the notebook today was a Water Rail screaming from the main pool although another 2 were seen at Marsh hide later and a further 2 heard. Only 3 Cetti’s Warblers were encountered today but, we did only get as far as Marsh hide before turning back. Marsh Harriers noted today were only eight but once again there were 6 Hen Harriers, only this time there was one male and 5 ringtails. Two Barn Owls were seen with the usual very white bird hunting around Middle Drove whilst a very nice dark winged bird flew past us while on the Ramp At 6.35am a noisy flock of 43 Waxwings flew close to the Ramp heading east towards the boathouse and beyond, most unexpected! There was a nice male Yellowhammer at the bottom of Harrison’s Drove near the ‘White House’ but very little else was noted until we reached Marsh hide except a lone Sparrowhawk. On the approach to Marsh hide the Common Crane could be seen standing in the pool to the left of the hide but was not viewable from within the hide. There were 4 Redshanks outside the hide as well as 22 Snipe a pair of Bearded Tits and 13 Water Pipits (as counted by Phil Bereat. The Common Crane eventually walked out from its hiding place giving some fantastic views in the sunshine but, as the hide started to fill with paparazzi we felt it was time to leave.
Common Crane
 
Common Crane

Common Crane

 
We walked to the gate at the end of Middle Drove in hope the Crane would fly past but only 2 Little Egrets di and on leaving Mr Ashton there to wait Sue Chiddy and I headed for Trenleypark Woods. No sign of the desired Lesser-spotted Woodpecker here but we did have a nice Red Kite drifting high over to the east whilst 4 Common Buzzards and a Kestrel were also noted. A Little Owl was at Stodmarsh Court Farm and several parties Chaffinches were seen flying east.
Red Kite

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