During the past week I have made a few sortie's to the reserve at Grove ferry, mainly in the Feast hide trying unsuccessfully to catch the Kingfisher on one of the posts. A male has been seen on several occasions but although landing now and then on the nearest post, (it seems to make a bee line for the same post) the post is too near to the hide and any slight movement or shutter noise from within the hide results in a hastily departing Kingfisher. The post needs moving back onto the island side of the dyke, in line with its current position and I will ask Ben Ring (one of the reserve warden's) if he can do this when I see him next. Whilst in the hide Herons were frequent visitors to the pool, but the Tern raft being the nearest I could photograph them so the 1.4x converter was required. Not ideal but okay if the light is fairly decent.
A Grey Heron did fly in front of the hide and landed for a few seconds, allowing for a couple of close up shots.
A Cormorant was seen on the Tern raft, wing drying after fishing in the pool in front of the hide, the feather detail highlighted in the morning sun.
Several Water Rails were noted, at least 6, but alas no Spotted Crake yet. The water level seems to be dropping, the pool just a couple of inches deep in places so hopefully soon one will turn up but after today where it has rained all day, the levels may of risen slightly. I managed a couple of images of a juvenile Water Rail as it skulked about in the vegetation in front of the hide.
On Sunday, after spending a couple of hours in the hide alongside Andy Hills where 6 Common Snipe thought about landing on the pool but decided against it and a Green Sandpiper deciding the pool was to its liking, a somewhat poor wader count, I moved off to join Martyn Wilson, Sue Morton, Alan Ashdown and Dave Sutton whom were parked between the Harrison's and Middle drove. They got me onto a Whinchat, one of seven seen all in view at the same time, the most I have ever seen at any one time and easily a Grove record for me, having only seen this species here singly. Whilst remarking about a tweet received from Chris Hindle, alerting people to the sighting of a Honey Buzzard flying South over Reculver, Martyn was already on what I presume was the same bird, high over the boat house on the Grove road, where he then picked out a 2nd bird along with 2 Common Buzzards. We were buzzed by a couple of Hobbies, their numbers considerably down on the reserve this year which ia a major disappointment and a couple of Sparrow hawks put in an appearance making for a decent raptor tally. There were high numbers of Warblers on the reserve, feeding up in preparation for their long journey back south, and a flock of at least 50+ Goldfinches seen. The camera action came from the hide, a Little Egret gracing the pool and again with the aid of the converter, a few images were taken. I am not a fan of converters, but with some good light a few useable images can be gained, which is better than no images at all.
On the way out of the reserve on Sunday, we saw 2 Brown Hawkers along the entrance track, several Migrant Hawkers and even more Common Darters. A solitary Willow Emerald was also seen.
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