Sunday 24 January 2010

100 up Reculver and Stodmarsh / Grove Ferry

I started the day at Reculver with 2 target species in mind  which were Snow Bunting and Barnacle Goose, overcast , misty and a little bit chilly was the weather , so on arrival i wrapped up warm and headed of towards the towers and straight away i had 25 Dark-Bellied Brent Geese fly over my head, wow what a sight , i carried on along the sea wall adding Common and Black Headed Gull to my days total at the same time dodging cyclist ( do they have to go that fast ? i nearly speared one with my tripod ....  )  and dog walkers who always shout " don't worry it don't bite " yeah rite !

Anyhow abit further along the seawall i scanned across the fields just beyond the oyster farm when i noticed a small number of geese in a field , getting better views through my scope i had connected with one of my target species in the form of 11 Barnacle Geese these superb little black and white geese always impress me so after looking at these for awhile with my spirits high i headed on my journey towards cold harbour along the seawall, still no sign of any Snow Buntings but i had plenty of waders to keep me interested such as Sanderling, Turnstone , Ringed Plover and Grey Plover with plenty of Lapwings constantly flying around.

I checked over the sea and added another 70+ Brent Geese and then i caught sight of 10 Common Scoter flying east towards Birchington ( i think that's east ? )  i carried on abit further and then i finally connected with the Snow Bunting 16 in total flew past me circled a couple of times and then flew high of into the distance i followed them until they went out of sight , wow what stunning birds they are i never tire of seeing them , i spent another hour there just adding Little Egret and even more Brent Geese plus 3 Wigeon on the sea otherwise the sea was very quite , so back to the car quick coffee and sarnie then of to Stodmarsh / Grove ferry.

I started of very well with great views of a Little Owl at its regular tree just outside of Stodmarsh village , then onto the reserve and bumped into Martyn who is a regular birder here and i got abit of an update of what is about and with that info my target birds were : Bittern , Hen Harrier , Siskin , Lesser and Mealy Redpoll ( Mealy would be a new Stour Valley tick for me ) cool i had a plan , Alder woods first for the finch flock then onto the reed hide for possible Bittern , i set of through the woods and could hear distant Siskin calling but i could not pinpoint them having got half way through i located a single Lesser Redpoll preening itself.

 I managed to get a picture of this, but that was it no other birds were with it, i carried on and then back tracked around the other side still no finch flock , i did have 5 Reed Bunting , 2 Great Tits and 3 Blue Tits feeding on the path along with 2 Robins .

Finally i reached the start of the woods again and located the finch flock , really great views of Siskin their were approx 10 of these and about 30 Redpolls were with them, after scanning through i came across 1 Mealy Redpoll showing a broad white greater wing covert and white braces on its mantle , i could not get anything on its rump but its overall appearance was whiter and bulkier compared to the Lesser Redpolls .

 I was soon joined by 3 other birders whom i put onto the Mealy and we all enjoyed good views of these fine birds, i just love the way they feed upside down its really great . so happy with my views i headed of to the reed hide in pursuit of Bittern and after about 30 mins ( not long i know ) i left Bitternless .

I headed of to Grove with the hope of adding the target species that i had missed at Stodmarsh , on reaching " the ramp " at Grove i bumped into another local patch watcher Mark, and we spent the next 2 hours scanning the marshes and came up trumps with  5 Marsh Harriers , 1 ringtail Hen Harrier ( yes ! ) and great flight views of a Bittern (an even bigger yes !) i also saw a male Stonechat sitting on top of a reed mace , 2 fly over Grey Herons and 75 Cormorants coming into roost were almost the last birds i saw , i said almost , on my way to visiting the toilets on the way back i heard then saw 2 Ring-Necked Parakeets flying over which brings my year list up to the 100 and my days birding to a very enjoyable end , great birding and good company too !

Lesser Redpoll


The top picture is of a Lesser Redpoll taken on my first walk through the Alder wood ,the second two pictures are of course of a Robin which kept me company whilst i was checking through the finch flock at the start of the wooded trail .