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.