Nov 302021

Our latest group trip was Sunday 28th November when 17 of us met in the car park at Stodmarsh National Nature Reserve. It was the morning after storm Arwen had blown through so it was still a little breezy and very cold. Our spirits were lifted however when we were greeted by a very friendly robin, who it seemed was desperate to leave Stodmarsh by car as it hopped into Pete and Karrie’s car while we were putting our boots on.

Our target birds for the day were wintering thrushes, redpoll and siskin in the woodland and marsh harriers over the reed beds. We set off with high hopes. The sun was shining, it was a beautiful morning if somewhat cold. A buzzard was being mobbed by 2 crows and a sparrowhawk flap flap glided into view. Along the boardwalk we had blue tit, goldfinch and heard a great spotted woodpecker chipping. At the front of the group someone spotted a treecreeper flying from tree to tree , climbing up from bottom to top looking for insects before moving on to the next tree. Long-tailed tits were calling in the canopy and blackbirds were alarming, but no siskin or thrushes yet.

We reached open water to the sight of many cormorants , about 150, roosting on bushes and trees the far side of the lake. A mixture of wildfowl were also using this area, shoveler ,gadwall, pochard, great crested grebes, coot, mallard, mute swans and grey heron. We made our way along to the new tower hide which some of us visited, a few at a time. A large gathering of teal 200+ were seeming to shelter at one end of the lake. The first one of our target birds appeared quite distant flying over the tree line. A marsh harrier distant but good to see. Still no siskin or thrushes.


We returned to our cars for lunch and to warm up with a hot drink before deciding to try our luck walking out to the marsh hide. This was a great decision because at last siskin were spotted high up in some alder trees feeding on the cones along with goldfinch mainly. Tick, we felt that now our luck was changing and before long the odd fieldfare was seen and then a whole bushtopful, if that is a word! In the end we think we must have seen at least 50 birds.

Having reached the hide we scanned the area eagerly. A lone greylag goose, the only goose of the day, and a stonechat were spotted. Another much closer view of a male marsh harrier quartering over the reeds was had and a kestrel hovering nearby was also seen. Then at last a redwing, only the one, feeding on berries in a nearby hawthorn.

Time to make tracks back to the car park before the sun disappeared so we left the hide to return. Again trying to spot the little owl that is occasionally seen by the farm buildings but no luck. A few more birds were added to the list, great tit, starling, jay and right at the end a few chiffchaffs. We were greeted again by another friendly robin who was grateful for a few dried meal worms, even coming onto my hand to eat them.

We managed a list of approximately 42 birds, and 4 of our target species.

Thank you to everyone who came and made it a very enjoyable day out.

Irene and Terry.

Thanks to Irene and Terry for leading. Also thanks to Alison, Steve and Terry for the photographs.


 Posted by on 30 November 2021 at 8:04 pm

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