Friday, 6 January 2012
STODMARSH FRIDAY 6TH JAN 2012
I haven't been to Stodmarsh for some time, so with a couple of Glossy Ibis in residence there, my uncle and I decided it was time for a visit. Before we set off we called in at the Alders' Trout lake just down the road from me to see if the female Goldeneye was still there, it was and better still the drake was also back, a pretty good way to start the day I think.
On the whole Stodmarsh was pretty quiet, although there were good numbers of Teal and Shovelers on the main lake accompanied by Pochards, Greylags and a distant Bittern flying low towards the Reedbed hide.
Along the River Stour we saw Grey Heron, Gt Spotted Woodpecker, Treecreeper, Goldcrest, a single male Marsh Harrier, the only one seen all day, a male Sparrowhawk and several Water Pipits on the water meadows. There should have been more to see on the meadows but English Nature were busy working there with a couple of mechanical diggers, never very conducive to wildlife watching I find.
From the ramp a flock of maybe two or three hundred Lapwings, maybe more, constantly took to the air for no apparent reason it seemed other than to create a fantastic avian spectacle against the bright blue, winter sky. John and I were very grateful! A couple of Ruff declined to take part in the aerial show, they were far too busy feeding in the shallow margins. The Feast hide offered no more than a few Gadwall, a pair of Mute Swans who seemed to be practicing their nest building skills and a few sleepy Mallards. Apart from that the only excitement came from a distant Bearded Tit who flew into the reeds and pinged for a while and a Cormorant who dropped in and fished pretty fruitlessly before departing for more productive fishing grounds elsewhere.
I must admit that I didn't hold out much hope of seeing the Glossy Ibis from the Marsh hide, the mechanical diggers were pretty close by along with a couple of other vehicles. So we settled down with coffee and watched the Little Egret above as it fished skillfully in the floods in front of the hide. It's preferred technique was to constantly shake its feet in the mud, so disturbing the presumably semi torpid small fish and pick them off with a lightning stab of its beak. Fascinating stuff. So fascinating we nearly missed the arrival of the Glossy Ibis which glided in and landed in a reed lined ditch some distance away. A couple of minutes later a second one flew past the front of the hide in the opposite direction. More Water Pipits, a Ruff, a Redshank and a Kingfisher all kept us entertained for an hour and a half or so until a fellow birder came in and told us he'd just seen the second Ibis a short way up the track. It was time to go anyway and sure enough a few yards along the path, there it was, bold as brass and fairly unconcerned by our presence. I took a few pics but found it really difficult because it never stayed still for more than a split second. I've posted a few below.