With news of a Cattle Egret earlier in the week being seen in fields north of Nethergong, I was hoping that it might roost in the Stour Valley and fly out to feed early morning so with this in mind, I arrived this morning in the dark and waited for the light to pick up. I was hoping that if I viewed from the northern path, it might fly over towards its favoured area but despite waiting for quite a while, the only Egret I saw was a Little which seems quite loyal to the fields there. It was later seen again in fields half a mile north of Nethergong and I managed to see it on the way home. Hopefully it may fly this way and get attracted to follow the Little Egret! I spent the next few hours walking around the site in cloudy, dull and drizzly conditions and saw a good total of 58 species. Birds noted included 4 Snipe, a few groups of Wigeon heard flying over in the dark, 1 Green Sandpiper, 3 Skylark, 2 Green Woodpecker, 2 Yellowhammer, 1 Common Buzzard in fields hunting worms, 2 Cetti's Warbler, 4 Fieldfare, 2 Goldcrest, 1 Grey Wagtail, 2 Marsh Harrier, 14 Stock Dove, 2 Grey Heron and c400 Cormorant flew out of the Stour Valley.There were 2 Pied Wagtail, 1 Great spotted Woodpecker, 2 Meadow Pipit, 2 Reed Bunting, c10 Redwing, 2 Mute Swan, 2 Bullfinch, 10 Long tailed Tit, 1 Greylag Goose, 17 Tundra Bean Geese were seen flying north east at 8.35am where they landed in distant fields before flying back to Grove Ferry at 9.42am. Other birds noted were c400 Lapwing, 3 Jay, 1 Mistle Thrush singing, 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Stonechat, 1 Merlin, 1 Water Rail and 1 Kestrel.
Sunday, 4 December 2016
I made another visit to Nethergong this morning, arriving at 6.15am in the dark where after getting ready, I walked up the path where I wanted to watch and listen to see if any Long eared Owls were calling. I have never seen this species on site before but have seen them a number of years back nearby so I hope they may be some around. Despite listening, I didn't hear any but was pleased to see 3 Woodcock fly into roost which gave lovely silhouetted views.
Waiting for Woodcock
As the light picked up, I wandered down towards the eastern gate and watched for an hour before moving on and doing the circuit a few times. I managed to see or hear 56 species which included 2 Cetti's Warbler, 5 Fieldfare, 3 Reed Bunting, 2 Grey Heron, 5 Snipe, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Grey Wagtail, c1000 Cormorant out of the Stour Valley, 5 Marsh Harrier, 4 Pheasant, 1 Linnet, 1 Green Woodpecker, 1 Skylark, 2 Stonechat, 2 Bullfinch, 1 Great spotted Woodpecker, 1 Kestrel,1 Little Egret and 1 Common Buzzard. There were 2 Mute Swan, 2 Water Rail, 1 Ring necked Parakeet, 1 Jay, 1 Mistle Thrush, 2 Goldcrest, 5 Yellowhammer, 1 Green Sandpiper, 6 Stock Dove, 45 Golden Plover, 1 Sparrowhawk and c400 Lapwing. I walked up the stream checking likely areas for a Jack Snipe but didn't see one on this occasion. Maybe a few days of cold temperatures and frozen pools will push one on to the stream. Still a few weeks to go and hopefully the year is not done yet. What will next weekend deliver?
Saturday, 3 December 2016
After an absence of a few weeks from visiting Nethergong, I was keen to start off the final month of the year and look for that final elusive species which would take me to 110 species for the year, more than I could have imagined at the start of the year. I left home at 6am on the bike in the dark and arrived c20 minutes later where there was clear skies and a light wind. After locking the bike up, I spent the next 4 hours or so walking the circuit a few times in mostly nice sunshine where I managed to see or hear an excellent total of 62 species. As I walked up to the eastern gate in the dark, I could hear 2 Tawny Owls calling and a few Redwing called as they appeared from their roost sites. As the light picked up, I spent some time watching over the fields from the gate where I noted c500 Cormorant flying out from the Stour Valley. For the past few sessions, I have hoped that the Tundra Bean Geese that have been present at Grove Ferry would fly over Nethergong air space but despite quite a bit of time put in, I still have not seen them until at 8.24am this morning, I got onto a flock of Geese flying north east from Grove Ferry. A quick count revealed they were the 17 Tundra Bean Geese (110) and I watched in amazement as they flew off into the distance on Chislet Marshes. It wasn't long until 8.35am that I picked them up again flying back towards me and past me towards Stodamarsh. Although a little distant, I was just happy to rattle off a few shots which show some of the features quite well.
Tundra Bean Geese
A big bonus species for the year and 110 species achieved for the year, brilliant, but will there be more I wonder? Other birds seen this morning included 1 ring tail Hen Harrier, 3 Snipe, 1 Skylark, 5 Fieldfare, 2 Cetti's Warbler, 7 Bullfinch, 3 Long tailed Tit, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Water Rail, 2 Green Woodpecker, 6 Yellowhammer, 10 Stock Dove, 2 Great spotted Woodpecker, 1 Sparrowhawk and 3 Mistle Thrush. There were 3 Pheasant, 2 Kestrel, 4 Stonechat, 1 Little Egret, 1 Grey Heron, 2 Green Sandpiper, 3 Mute Swan, 2 Reed Bunting, 1 Jay, 1 Ring necked Parakeet, 1 Grey Wagtail, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Peregrine, 1 Lesser Redpoll, 1 Common Buzzard and c400 Lapwing. An excellent session made all the better by the Bean Geese and reaching a total I didn't expect to get this year. With a good cold spell, maybe I could add a few more species yet. The beauty of watching a patch.