I really enjoy both Stodmarsh & Grove Ferry in the spring , the sound of newly arrived Sedge & Reed Warblers is a magical sound coming from the reedbeds.
We started at the Grove Ferry end and bird song was in full force starting with 3 Bullfinch along the entrance track, Cetti's, Sedge & Reed Warbler were in abundance all over the reserve, plenty of Blackcaps & Chiffchaffs in full voice made it a very pleasant walk.
Male & FemaleGarganey
After a successful walk around Grove Ferry we headed to Stodmarsh and had superb views of a pair of Garganey in front of the reedbed hide.
On the main lake there were 5 Common Terns making their presence felt , we also had superb views of a pair of Treecreepers near the path, i even attempted to digi-scope them !!!
18th April : STODMARSH
News of a Purple Heron (Great find by Martyn Wilson) near the Marsh hide had me heading there asap, and to keep a long story short i missed the Purple Heron by a few minutes as it had flown out of view before i got there.
Despite waiting for it's hoped for re-appearance for nearly 2 & half hours it never came back (but did appear later in the afternoon long after i had gone !!!).
We did see some really good birds whilst we waited in vain including a cracking Little Ringed Plover.
Little Ringed Plover.
I also heard my first Cuckoo of the year plus 2 Bittern's were heard 'Booming' , another close view of a male Garganey in front of the hide was most welcome to.
On the way back we also saw the Little Owl on the old farm building.
21st April : STODMARSH
Second time Lucky !!!
Purple Heron walking in the reeds.
And some great views of the Purple Heron in flight.
Purple Heron coming into land.
23rd April : STODMARSH
New Bird for my Valley Bird List
1 of 2 Bar Tailed Godwits.
After checking my bird records i was very happy to add Bar Tailed Godwit to my Stour Valley Bird List, in fact there were 2 birds present from the Marsh hide.
2 Bar Tailed Godwits.
It was also great to see at least 3Hobby on route to the Marsh hide including one bird perched on a distant fence post.
Hobby in flight.
We were also lucky to once again see the Purple Heron in flight between the Alder Wood and Marsh Hide.
Purple Heron in flight.
A quick look in the Reedbed hide produced a pair of Garganey sleeping and a very close Green Sandpiper.
I have to say Cliffe is not my favourite destination as everything always seems so distant to view there, no doubt it's a wonderful haven for birds and has a superb track record for turning up many scarce & rare birds over the years.
On the 31st March a trip there was made to try and see the Temminck's Stint and a scan from the aptly named ' Hope Mound ' proved successful, the Temminck's Stint was always distant and the above Digi photo was taken through my scope on x70 magnification !!
We also saw a single Little Stint which offered great comparisons next to the TS, we also saw 2 splendid Spotted Redshanks.
2nd April 2022 : Worth Marshes
White Stork (photo taken in 2021)
A trip to Worth Marshes on the 2nd April started of with distant views of the unringed White Stork near Willow farm.
We walked around to the Great wood and heard 2+ Chiffchaff & 1 Blackcap in full song, we continued our walk checking the pools and were lucky enough to see 2 Little ringed Plovers quite close to the path in one of the pools.
1 of 2 Little Ringed Plovers.
7th April 2022 : Dungeness Rspb
5 Glossy Ibis
I remember the time when lots of birders would use to congregate along the Lampen wall at Stodmarsh in the winter for the Harrier roost and also await the 2 Glossy Ibis coming into roost.
Back then in my very early days of birding i was awestruck watching these prehistoric looking birds coming out of the sky in almost darkness to land in the reedbed for the night, nowadays Glossy Ibis are seen on a almost weekly basis in several different sites .
However on the 7th April i was once again left awestruck by seeing my personal record count of 5 Glossy Ibis along the Dungeness Rspb track.
All 5 in flight.
From Dungeness we called into Oare Marshes and watched a Marsh Harrier quartering low over the reedbed in the hope it might flush up a Bittern however we were very lucky indeed as the Marsh Harrier flushed up a Jack Snipe giving us a really great view before it flew straight back into the reeds again, there was also 2 Common Snipe flushed as well.
9th April 2022
We started of at Stodmarsh where we saw a male Garganey near the Marsh hide plus 4 superb Cattle Egretsfeeding out on the marsh, they are coming into a superb plumage now.
We also managed to see at least 3 Water Pipits which are also showing a superb pink flush to their plumage.
I also saw & heard my first Sedge Warbler of the spring just before the Marsh hide, it was great as ever to catch up with MW & gang , whilst we were chatting an adult Med Gull flew over our heads.
Conningbrook is not somewhere i visit very often however it's always a very pleasant walk around the Lake and news of a Ring Ouzel (Great find by Kev Ellse) near the sports stadium made our minds up where to go after Stodmarsh this morning.
With some local info from Neil.B. (thanks Neil) we soon found ourselves watching the fantastic Ring Ouzel, it showed well at times but was quite flighty which is typical of this species.
Broad white breast band.
9th & 10th April : Swalecliffe
Whilst walking around Godmersham church yard news came through that a Hooded Crow had been seen at Swalecliffe, well without haste we headed there in the hope of seeing it. well to cut along story short we missed the Hooded Crow by approx 5 mins !!!!
Sadly it had been flushed which is not that surprising considering the location, however we had more than compensation with fantastic views of a Water Vole near the Brook.
We also saw 2 Swallows and a male Eider on the shingle.
On the 10th news that the Hooded Crow had been seen again had us heading to Swalecliffe once more and this time we had superb views as the Hooded Crow was keeping company with 25+Carrion Crows in the nearby bushes before eventually flying back towards the shingle.
Hooded Crow with Carrion Crows.
Of Note : This Hooded Crow (Great find by Geoff Burton) is only the 2nd site record , the first one was seen in 2003 !!!