|Posted on May 24, 2012 at 6:45 PM|
Mike Buckland and I set off for Grove Ferry hoping for a few more migrants and hopefully even some to photograph. We arrived around 0715 and walked out to the viewing ramp. The dawn chorus was still in good voice and by the time we got to the ramp we'd had a couple of Lesser Whitethroat, several Blackcap, Turtle Dove and Cetti's Warbler. It was quite warm and still.
We scoped the pools and reedbed picking up a Hobby, Marsh Harrier and Bearded Tits with the sound of Reed and Sedge Warblers providing a constant background sound. Brendan Ryan showed up having been out since dawn counting nightingales and we had a good chat. Around 0845 Martin Wilson arrived at the ramp, strolled over to join us and rather non-chalantly looked up and said "buzzard, no Honey Buzzard". He was right and we scoped a female HB as it headed high east before disappearing south after being checked out by one of the local Marsh Harrier's. Soon after 09.00 as we scoped Kestrel's, Hobby's, Sparrowhawk and Marsh Harrier's Mike picked up another Honey Buzzard , probably a male, as it headed slowly west towards Collards Lake. Not long after that we had a Bittern fly out of the close reedbed and head away from us low towards the back of the main pool. Not a bad start!
The Hobby's started to hunt over the reedbed and Mike and I decided to head towards the marsh hide as the light was good and it looked like the sunshine would last. The next few hours saw us spend much time watching the Hobby's as they hawked flies, damselflies and dragonflies over the reedbed and bushes. There were probably in excess of 50 birds, I counted 35 together at one point. I took hundreds of photo's but only a small number were any use and after a time I found my 400mm lens to be getting rather too heavy - perhaps a lighter lens would have been better. Anyhow, it was great fun and the Hobby's superb to watch as they dashed about at times just a few metres overhead in the sunshine.
We had a Bittern booming close to the marsh hide and Cuckoo and stacks of Reed Warblers.
We continued our walk past the marsh hide, onto the lampen Wall and then back along the banks of the Stour to Grove Ferry.
On the main lake we had a drake Garganey, another one was on the water meadows which also held a single Dunlin and a few Ringed Plover. Strangely these days it's whats not around that I all too frequently find myself thinking about. The meadows looked superb; lots of standing water, muddy marginsand insects everywhere but we did not have a single yellow wagtail and I can't remember the last snipe I heard drumming in Kent.
We were hungry, thirsty and hot by the time we got to the car and didn't take much time choosing to have a beer and a ploughmans at Marshside on Chislet just a few miles up the road. Not that we stopped birding with passing Swallows and a Buzzard to keep us on our toes as we sat in the beer garden.
We'd agreed on an early finish so we finished the day around Faversham and Oare. Near Faversham we had a couple of Grasshopper Warbler's in a lovely area of scrub with Cuckoo's and other commoner warblers for company. At Oare it was a bit quiet - breeding Avocet's chasing everything in sight and a few Little Egret's.