Tuesday, 4 October 2022

A Crane to Lift the Mood.

 A dull and cloudy Sunday morning (2nd) meant I was not too bothered about venturing out with bins and camera but news off a Common Crane that had the decency to land in stubble fields to the east of Upstreet in the vicinity of the Sarre Penn had me changing my mind and set off to cover the few miles from my house. I easily spotted the bird distantly in a field halfway between the villages of Upstreet and Sarre and set about getting a decent vantage point. This I did by walking North along the Sarre Penn for about half a mile from Sarre and although still distant, I was able to get a record shot of the bird feeding out on the stubble fields.

I left for home, returning to the same spot in the afternoon under a now sunshine filled blue sky. The bird was still feeding and preening out on the fields but late afternoon it alighted, circling around the area before drifting off and lost to view over the A28 towards the Grove Ferry reserve entrance. It was later reported going into roost to the back of the viewing ramp pool at Grove by Martyn Wilson and Chris Gibbard. Whilst circling, it came fairly close to me, allowing for a few inflight images as it passed overhead.

It made for a better Sunday than expected.

Tuesday, 27 September 2022

Winters on its Way.

 The arrival of the first wild Geese of the Autumn at Stodmarsh in the shape of a dozen Pink Foots seen within the large flock of Greylags out on the wet meadows in front of the Marsh hide and a timely reminder that Winter is not too far away. Although they were feeding by the five barred gate on the back of the meadow and far too distant for any decent images, I did manage a passable record shot of one of them.

A pair of Cattle Egrets dropped in whilst watching the Geese, an adult with its sibling and I got to wondering what side of the channel the youngster was hatched. Another five adult Cattle Egrets arrived not long after the first two and as I was leaving, another pair arrived making nine Cattle Egrets out on the wet meadows in front of the hide. The adult with the youngster although still quite a distance from the hide, was a lot closer than the Geese so a few images were taken. The first time I have been able to get an image of a juvenile Cattle Egret and great to get it in the UK.

A couple of bits seen recently from the Reed bed hide also at Stodmarsh, one of four Curlew Sandpipers,

A juvenile Ruff.

and an obliging Water Rail enjoying the early morning sunshine.

Sunday, 18 September 2022

A visiting Glossy Ibis.

 A two day stay from a visiting Glossy Ibis on the pool in front of the Reed bed hide at Stodmarsh gave me an opportunity to get a few images of the bird as it foraged for food in the exposed mud left by the rapidly diminishing water levels. It occasionally passed by the hide just a few metres out, giving me easily the best views I have had with this species.

The bird often took off for another part of the mud which allowed for a few flight images, an added bonus whilst sitting in the hide watching it go about its business.

A very co-operative bird and nice when you get a subject that's not camera shy. 

Sometimes it came very close.

Thursday, 15 September 2022

Redstarts at Grove Ferry.

 For me, Redstarts are not an annual gimme on my local patch at Grove Ferry/Stodmarsh so news from Martyn Wilson that he had three around the bushes from the viewing ramp had me thinking that it would be worthwhile paying a quick visit to see if I could get a few images. They were fairly flighty, 2 adults and a young bird, the latter not so camera shy and often sat on the edge of the bushes feeding on the abundant berries.

Smart looking birds.

Martyn also had a Pied Fly-catcher from the ramp bushes but I was unable to re locate it.

Wednesday, 7 September 2022

A Coastal Kestrel

 A Kestrel perched on a cliff face alighted and flew around for a few minutes giving me an opportunity to get the camera onto it as it stretched its wings. Such smart looking Falcons.

Tuesday, 16 August 2022

A Purple Patch.

 A bit of a purple patch over the past ten days or so with plenty of common waders on show at Grove Ferry and Stodmarsh. Due to the ever diminishing water levels, leaving exposed muddy fringes to the various pools, these waders have been in close proximity to the hides giving some nice photo opportunities. I suppose by the title, "A purple patch" I am making reference to the two juvenile Purple Herons that have chosen to call the reserve home for the past two weeks and are still present with both being reported early this morning (14th) between the Marsh hide and Grove Ferry. I have seen both birds together, from the viewing ramp at Grove but too far out for photos. My luck with one of the birds changed when sitting in the Feast hide and a bird alighted from the reed bed in front of the hide and flying around the side of the hide back in the direction of the viewing ramp.

As mentioned above, there has been a good selection of waders on the pools and with plenty of mud to feed on, sometimes they would be well within reach of my camera, especially from the Feast hide on the Grove ferry end of the reserve.

Little Ringed Plover (juvenile)

Wood Sandpiper


Common Snipe

Black-tailed Godwit

Green Sandpiper

Common Sandpiper

It was not just waders that offered up photo opportunities during my visits. A Turtle Dove singing from a tree top along the entrance track at the Grove Ferry end of the reserve.

Marsh Harrier (juvenile)



Little Grebe


All in all, not a bad week on the local patch with a nice variety of waders returning and the two Purple Heron's a welcomed bonus.