Monday, 11 July 2011

Grove/Stodmarsh

Today I went to Grove, birding being off limits at Sandwich due to the Open (restrictions on getting there and the Observatory is closed so I can’t get a cuppa).
A slow wander around the whole circuit provided everything I’d hoped plus a surprise or two.  During the walk all the expected warblers were seen or heard though they were quiet to start with and Cetti’s were  quiet all day (only heard half a dozen or so). Sedge and reed warblers were fitting about all over the show carrying food though a few were still singing. Also in good voice were the blackcaps and several chiff chaffs.
Not much was seen from the ramp – 1 green sandpiper, 2 great crested grebes and 2 little egrets but as I made my way to the Feast Hide I heard then saw 2 bearded reedlings – a year tick! So a pleasing start.
Not much could be seen from the feast hide but later in the day the reeds/grass in front of the hide had been cut and some weed dragged from the dyke (though the dyke is still choked with the stuff). They were going to strim the island but several reed and sedge warblers seemed to be nesting on it so that was put on hold.
Up to Harrison’s and another green sand, a greenshank and 3 more little egret.
From there I went ot the river and heard the grasshopper warbler (a year tick) reeling away in the distance but I couldn’t locate it. I could also hear it from the river bank so it was probably 100+ yards from the Harrison Drove.
As I was getting near the water meadows pool a barn owl came up from the reeds and disappeared towards Stodmarsh. It was 8.38 and not something I'd expected to see. All I could see on the water meadows were a few ducks and lapwing; no sign of anything more interesting.
Along the river a pair of banded demoiselles showed well and landed close by.

Banded Demoiselle
As I approached the tower hide I could hear a turtle dove and later I saw another flying past the Marsh hide.
From the tower hide I eventually located the 2 night herons which is the first I’ve seen of them and another year tick. Otherwise I only saw what you would expect – a variety of ducks, common terns and great crested grebes – one family swimming past with 3 large chicks.
From there I went to the Marsh hide where I had the best photo-opportunity of the walk when a bearded reedling flew towards me and landed about 15-20 feet away. Eventually it moved into the open and I fired off a few shots.

Bearded Reedling
I spent the rest of the time in the Marsh hide hoping a harrier would fly past but no such luck.  There were 2 juveniles on display sporting those disgusting wing tags – surely there is a less intrusive way of marking the birds. ( Number 91 and 92 for anyone interested). A adult male seemed to be doing all the hunting and made a couple of food passes. I had the briefest of views of a bittern (my first summer bittern at Stodmarsh/Grove) and it landed very close to the harrier nest. The male was most disgruntled by this and dived on the now hidden bittern several times driving it off.  I don;t know why it was so angry because the young were in one of the bushes nearby. Still it was an interesting few seconds in an otherwise uneventful hour. All I saw from the Marsh hide was lapwings, greylags reed and sedge warblers.
And that’s about it. Some decent birds seen not much to photograph - though I did photograph some bumble bees but I've still to identify them!

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