Wednesday, 10 February 2010

No Bittern...but i'm not bitter

About time i updated. Recent days out with John Hall (Howdon Blogger) have been most enjoyable.The last being to Teesside calling at Cowpen Bewley ( no Ring-necked Duck when we were there) then down to Hartllepool where i saw my first Black Redstart, Med Gull and Great Northern Diver at close quarters.More visits will be on our agenda no doubt and everyone we met and spoke to were more than helpfull and i'd like to thank them.
I am visiting Kent more frequently now as i have a year old Grandson and while down visiting him i take the odd day out to visit a birding site down there. So far i have been to Cliffe Pools, Oare Marshes and Elmley Marshes. This time Stodmarsh was selected and what a fantastic place. I had three species that i had hoped to encounter and managed one. That being the Marsh Harrier, which i had brilliant views of, off and on all day. The two i missed out on were Bittern and Bearded Tit. ( 7 Bittern were sighted the following day) But there will be other opportunities.The site at Stodmarsh is the largest reedbed in south eastern England and is managed very carefully.The reeds must be cut back regularly and the ditches continually dug to keep the water levels and water quality to a high standard. One thing i have noticed whilst visiting all the sites in Kent is the amount of money invested in the management of the land. For example when i went to Elmsley on my previous visit there were huge pumps scattered all around the ditches to keep the water levels exactly as they require. Very expensive looking equipment, something i haven't seen here in the north east. Anyone visiting the area can do no worse than visiting the Kent Ornithological Society website for sites to visit.
Back home i have been at Big Waters the last couple of afternoons and have had some excellent views of the Green Woodpecker. Yesterday i had a good 20/25 mins. watching it feed. It was absolutely stunning in the winter sunlight. Below are a couple of longish range shots. I had a quick visit to the main hide for the last hour of daylight, the highlight being the 17 Moorhen scoffing on the ground in the feeding station.

Green Woodpecker

Hartlepool images

Med Gull

Purple Sandpipers in flight


  1. Hi John,

    Glad your back from the wild unexplored South safe and sound. Nice Pics. Will give you a ring tonight, just setting off for Geltsdale

  2. Johnny,
    I'll look forward to your southern trip reports.
    Like the in flight shot above

  3. Have you abandoned Holywell John, hope you keeping well

  4. Cheers Dick
    As i said my 4th trip if your ever down that way try to take the time out. Once you get away from the "Rat Race" there are some fantastic places to see. The birding all along the north Kent coast has been cracking.
    Hi Davy
    I hadn't realized how long it had been since i was down but it was before xmas. With all the bad weather at the start of the year i had stayed close to home mainly venturing up to the Rising Sun. I will make a point of calling down during the week and hopefully i might bump into you. Will look forward to it. I've been following your blog so i had presumed you had been keeping fit.
    Catchya later