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An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to the see the natural world as a place for competition. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!

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Saturday, 24 February 2018

Grove Ferry/Stodmarsh

The weather forecast, for the coming week, reads like the end of the world. Daytime temperatures barely above zero and the night-time lows predicted to be -5C (remember we are on the coast and frost is rare here) with the added threat of snow, possibly heavy and prolonged, courtesy of blasting Easterly winds all the way from Russia! To sit behind a pair of pike rods in such conditions has lost any appeal it may have had in my youth. Getting cold and aggravating my arthritic joints, just to catch another pike, is now one experience I'll happily forgo. Once the cold gets to you any enjoyment is lost, the elements have won, and recognising that fact is one of the, rare, benefits of the aging process. However, I'm not one for sitting around indoors, whatever the weather, and have enough suitable clothing to ensure I can remain warm whilst outdoors, in the most testing conditions, as long as I keep active. I'd said to Bev that I'd probably "take Phil's lens out and do a bit of birding" and, this morning, is exactly what I did. It was getting on for 09.00 hrs when I parked by the Grove Ferry entrance to the reserve and set off to do a clockwise circuit of the whole site. Glorious sunshine, a bitingly cold easterly and the ground, underfoot, frozen solid. I was on site for nearly three hours, seeing eight other people, five of which were dog walkers. One of the most important nature reserves in Kent (the UK?) and deserted. Not that I'm complaining. There is an incredible amount of habitat management being undertaken around the reserve and, as a result, the permitted footpaths are in a bit of a state, very rutted and muddy. Not too much of an issue when the ground is frozen! I had a brilliant morning, adding four species to the year list (Green Sandpiper, Water Pipit (5), Treecreeper and Bearded Tit) plus getting some photos with the newly acquired lens - happy days.

Female Marsh Harrier from the Lampern Wall

Common Buzzard along The Stour

Male Great Spotted Woodpecker along The Stour

Cock Teal from The David Feast Hide

Drake Gadwall from The David Feast Hide - one of our most under-rated wildfowl?
I have so many brilliant memories of time spent around this reserve that, I suppose, cause unrealistic expectations?  What, no Bitterns?

2 comments:

  1. It seems to be the case these days that a lot of birdwatchers prefer to cruise around the lanes, or sit in reserve car parks in their cars doing their birdwatching, and if they do venture out on foot, it's only in decent weather. Very slow moving cars along the Harty Road on Sheppey is a classic example and it becomes a pain at times if one is stuck behind them.

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    1. I've been out of the loop for so long I have no idea what's going on within Kent (UK) birding? Yesterday there was a guy sat in a hide at Stodmarsh who was unable to id Water Pipits or tell Marsh from Hen Harriers at any distance. This morning I met a guy struggling to id a little brown jobbie on the harbour apron - 40 m away - a Rock Pipit! Now I fully accept that everyone has to start somewhere and it is quite possible that both these guys are new to the hobby. My problem being "where are the next generation birders?" or do they now sit at home awaiting a phone alert before heading out the door?

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