Friday, 24 December 2010

ONCE BITTERN TWICE SHY

Arriving at Stodmarsh car park just before 7.00 a.m. Marc and Martyn had already made their way to the Lampen Wall in anticipation of a "Harrier Fest".  In the near dark a Water Rail almost walked over Heathy and two more skated over a frozen stream.  Soon the Harriers left the roost with 36 Marsh Harriers recorded and 3 HEN HARRIERS including the very smart male.  At one stage 23 Marsh Harriers were in the air together which was a terrific sight.  A Sparrowhawk whizzed overhead and the first of two Cetti's Warblers called weakly.  Whilst walking back to the Marsh Hide two Redwing made the notebook. 

During breakfast a single BITTERN flew across the frozen lake and mooched around for a few minutes before deciding it was too cold and disappeared into the reeds.  Another was sighted around half an hour later and as the birds dried up discussion on Kent Bird of the year finally decided, not surpirisingly on the White-tailed Lapwing and the Wilson's Phalarope a close second.  All of us felt that a Roller next year would fulfil our wishes and hopefully a Lesser Yellowlegs for the Valley.  Martyn and Heathy flushed a Woodcock and on my way home I counted Geese with Mike Gould in the stubble fields outside Stodmarsh village finally agreeing on c90 EURASIAN WHITE FRONTED GEESE and 200 Greylags.  I couldn't resist Stonelees again this afternoon and with little traffic c300 Waxwings were there.  With a thaw in situ two large pools of water were outside the Golf Course entrance and up to 60 birds were drinking about 10 feet away before returning to the bushes.  A fantastic end to another good day's birding.

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