STODMARSH & GROVE FERRY - Sunday 17th February 2013

The day dawned quite foggy but this soon burnt off to reveal blue skies and bright sunshine. We opted to walk down to Stodmarsh from the Grove Ferry end but didn't get very far before having to go through deep mud and horrid conditions underfoot. We battled on and stopped off in the marsh hide, where after a good deal of scanning located about 12 WATER PIPITS feeding around some horses. In the area we saw SKYLARK, GREEN WOODPECKERS and a couple of MARSH HARRIERS before continuing onwards.

Eventually we reached the area of Alder Woodland close to the Stodmarsh end, which apart from a single GOLDCREST was really quiet. Moving to the boardwalk, we came across a small group of birders and waited for almost an hour, when eventually our patience was rewarded with stunning views of a female PENDULINE TIT which entertained us as it fed on reedmace right in front of us. A WATER RAIL called from the scrub and overhead a small flock of SISKIN flew over.

Whilst the group had lunch in the carpark, Steve walked back to get the van and after picking everyone up, decided to change plans and head over to Oare Marshes. With an incoming tide there were a few waders on the waters’ edge including RINGED PLOVER, REDSHANK and a few CURLEW and TURNSTONE.

On the River Swale we found a single RED-BREASTED MERGANSER and GREAT CRESTED GREBE, whilst a large flock of AVOCET flew past. In Faversham Creek a single SPOTTED REDSHANK was located and a female PEREGRINE sat on a distant pylon. Rounding off the day were plenty of wildfowl and waders on the scrape, including some superb PINTAIL and over the adjacent scrape a BARN OWL hunted, which after a spot of cake rounded off a very good but very muddy day!