Yesterday Stephen had a day off work so we decided to check out Stodmarsh NNR where the Glossy Ibis had been seen. The weather was overcast all day, so apologies for the grainy photos, a high ISO helped a little, but not much. Stephen had already seen a Cetti’s Warbler before my arrival. We decided to walk anti-clockwise around the reserve starting off with the nature trail but it did not reveal anything other than the call of a Pheasant, but once beyond it a scan of distant trees with the scope revealed a large flock of Fieldfares, which were also using nearby telephone wires alongside a Starling and a Chaffinch, the only bird nearer was a Blue Tit or two moving through the nearby trees.
|Mute Swan - Canon 400D + 100-400mm|
The stroll to Marsh Hide was fairly uneventful, Long Tailed Tits were about us and large numbers of Carrion Crows in the distance. We had a couple of brief glimpses of a Sparrowhawk as it flitted across the path ahead of us, disappearing behind a tree, re-appearing with something in its talons before disappearing behind the trees again.
|Marsh Harrier - Canon 400D + 100-400mm|
We reached Marsh Hide where there was a fair amount of activity from a small number of Water Pipits pottering about on mud mounds, constantly on the move, one eventually came slightly closer than the others to get a half decent photo.
|Water Pipit - Canon 400D + 100-400mm|
A little Egret was feeding here as was a Redshank and two Ruffs. Patient scanning revealed a couple of Marsh Harriers, and then I spotted a ringtail Hen Harrier over by the river disappearing as soon as I saw it, it then reappeared less than a 100 yards in front of the hide before disappearing off to the East. How it had got from the river to us in so short a time baffled me and it must have been very low to get so near undetectcted.
|Redshank and 2 Ruffs - Canon 400D + 100-400mm|
Walking from Marsh Hide towards Grove Ferry we came across a Stonechat which was happily posing, so I took advantage of its generosity. Further along the footpath we climbed up to the Stour bank where we found Blue Tits and a Great Tit, also a Kestrel showed well in a tree.
|Stonechat - Canon 400D + 100-400mm|
We ate our lunch in the Bus Shelter at Grove Ferry where we could see skittish Lapwings take off from the viewpoint lake, on one of these flushings smaller waders could be seen in their mist, and on another occasion instead of settling again as normal, the whole flock kept climbing until almost out of sight, we assumed to get above a specific predator – but we did not see any ourselves. Whilst sat here a couple of Ring-necked Parakeets flew past behind the shelter (sadly unseen by Stephen).
|Turfted Duck (Feast Hide) - Canon 400D + 100-400mm|
After lunch we checked out the feeder at Grove Ferry where a couple of Dunnocks and a Robin were enjoying themselves. Next we walked up on to the ramp which gave us views of a large flock of Lapwings and about 50 Greylag Geese, a few Starlings were amongst them as were about 5 White Doves; Teals and a couple of Pintail Ducks were in the water along with a pair of Mute Swans, I also saw a Great crested Grebe on my first sweep of the lake, but it disappeared and was not seen again.
|Little Egret (Marsh Hide) - Canon 400D + 100-400mm|
The next stop was Feast Hide, however the only birds present were some Mallards (including two which were crossbreeds with something, probably a Domestic Duck), Teal, Tufted Ducks and some Gadwalls, I tried for some photos but the light was waning fast and this is the best I could get.
|Pair of Gadwalls - Canon 400D + 100-400mm|
Leaving the hide we saw another Kestrel. We walked back along the river, scouring the water meadows, but no joy with the Ibis, however of interest were a large number of Pied Wagtails, there were more than 30 of them feeding on one small patch. Small groups of Jackdaws flew overhead as dusk approached ever closer.
We reached Tower Hide where we had good views of large numbers of Cormorants, Shovelers, Pochards and Teal with a smattering of Gadwalls and Mallards also a solitary sleeping Great Crested Grebe. A Great Black Backed Gull was in the water towards the SW of the lake. The walk back to the Car Park was uneventful with Wrens and Cetti’s Warblers calling but both remaining hidden. Throughout the day we had seen Cormorants flying overhead, small flocks of Fieldfares on the move, larger flocks of Lapwings being disturbed and Blue Tits wherever there were a few trees, Coots were in most of the Water courses we had passed as were Moorhens though not in quite as many as the Coots and Carrion Crows were in all parts of the reserve. Others sighted and unmentioned above include Wood Pigeon, Black Headed Gull, Blackbird, Magpie and one Heron we had seen in flight.
|Mute Swan - Canon 400D + 100-400mm|
It had been a good day despite the bad light, I make it 43 sightings each (if you include the Doves) with a total of 44 seen and 2 heard (Wren and Pheasant).