Sunday, 19 January 2014

Stodmarsh, First visit of 2014

Parked up before day break, there was a noticeable movement of Fieldfare moving east in several loose flocks. As the light improved we strolled to Reed Bed Hide where the water levels were unsurprisingly high and a pair of Mallards were our only company save a male Marsh Harrier coming out of roost.

Dan's attention was caught by a call which we investigated and added Chiffchaff to our year lists in the reeds immediately behind the hide. As we walked to the Alder Wood several Water Rails were heard calling but none were kind enough to show themselves.

The Wood rarely disappoints and today was no exception, the common birds were in abundance and our annual lists grew featuring a mixed flock of Siskins and Goldfinches, Great Spotted Woodpecker, calling Tawny Owl, Treecreeper, fly over Stock Dove and as we emerged a pair of Bullfinches flew past in beautiful sunlight. No sooner had we noted this, then a male Hen Harrier quartered the reeds heading towards the local farm.

As we scanned the main lake we added Buzzard and Sparrowhawk but the water remained uneventful. We thought we would try Marsh Hide for Water Pipits. We were amazed how passable the walk proved to be but Martyn Wilson past in the other direction and prepared us for the worst. We scanned vigourously and found two Snipe to add to the Lapwing which was spooked by another Marsh Harrier. A distant Grey Heron was added to the list and just before leaving we had a Sparrowhawk fly alongside the Hide soon after a Merlin had darted across the grass in pursuit of prey lost to sight behind brambles.

The morning ended with a stop over at Collards where we completed our morning out and a reasonable list of 50 species but failed to add the Slavonian Grebe. Looks like a reason to visit again soon!

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