Yesterday morning, in glorious sunshine, I went out for a stroll. In itself, nothing too different from any other nice day spent in the outdoors but, I was at Grove Ferry! The first time I've set foot on this magnificent reserve in a couple of years. The place has many special memories for me and I have been extremely fortunate to have seen and found many fantastic birds within the boundaries of the Stodmarsh/Grove Ferry Reserve.
It was very pleasant, although I could have written a list of what I would see without leaving home, such is the predictable nature of this extensive reed-bed habitat. Snipe flushed from soggy fields, Marsh Harriers floated gracefully as they patrolled the skies, ever watchful. A Peregrine scythed through a huge flock of swirling Lapwings, away beyond the Grove Ferry Inn and a Stonechat flicked along Harrison's Drove, advancing as I approached. Bearded Tits were present, but very uncooperative when I pointed the long lens in their direction. Plenty of Fieldfare, Redwing and Blackbirds feeding on the profusion of Hawthorn berries around the place and star billing went to the party of six Bullfinches feeding quietly in the paddock along the entrance track. A cracking way to spend a couple of hours - I should do it more often.
Out in the garden, this morning, a stunning adult male Sparrowhawk spent a few moments perched on the aviary before flying off across the farm. A flock of eleven Long-tailed Tits paraded along the boundary hedgerow, allowing a quick record image before continuing on their way. Off to work in a couple of hours but, hey-ho, soon be Christmas!