Most of my available free time over the weekend was spent on the Stodmarsh reserve in hope that one of the hides would turn up a Garganey, and if lucky, close in on one of the pools in front of a hide. Saturday and the Reed bed hide produced nothing apart from the usual Marsh Harriers and a lonesome Great Crested Grebe.
I went down to the Marsh hide as the path is now passable with care, and wellingtons. Whilst in the hide I saw 6 Garganey, 3 Drakes with 3 Duck. They remained distant while I was in the hide and after an hour 2 flew off towards the ramp at Grove ferry with the other 4 being spooked by a Marsh Harrier and headed off in the direction of the main lake at Stodmarsh. I was entertained by a Little Grebe that flew in and then swam off into the reeds to the left of the hide.
Throughout the morning, the Marsh Harriers hunting out over the flood unsettled the duck, scattering them in all directions. This gave me a chance to get a few flight images as they passed the hide.
From the Marsh hide I heard my first booming Bittern of the year, A Sparrow hawk nearly flew in through the hide window but landed on the roof instead and the Glossy Ibis was seen in flight over the ox bow. After giving up on the Garganey from the Marsh hide and walking back to see if any of the disturbed Duck had relocated to the pool in front of the Reed bed hide, at least a dozen Jays flew past me, low over the reed bed. I presume these are incoming migrant birds.
As the sun was out and I was fed up with watching Arsenal get stuffed by the so called top premier league sides, I declined to sit and watch Sky Sports latest offering of Arsenal v Man City and trekked back to the Marsh hide in hope that the Garganey were a little closer. It turned out to be a good move as on entering the hide there were 3 Tufted duck, a couple of Shoveller and Gadwall, but best of all a single drake Garganey all feeding on the weedy margins around the pool in front of the hide. I would think this is probably Garganey no 7 for the day as the others were all paired up but they could not be seen anywhere on the flood. It took 5 minutes to open the window, slowly edging the window out fearing that I would disturb the duck out on the pool and they would fly off. Two of the Tufties looked, and the closest ducks were very wary, but I got it open and had 30 minutes before the sun set and I lost the light. A great end to the day. (And Arsenal never got stuffed either)