Free Guided Walk with Nature Report

Sunday 15 May

Free Guided Walk with Nature at Stodmarsh NNR Report

Leader: Karen Snow

Wow! what a spectacular end to today’s walk at Stodmarsh NNR. But before I get to that, let’s start at the beginning.

Eight members of the group arrived in Stodmarsh car park, despite the M2 being closed, at the appointed start time of 10am.  We set off through the woodland just as it started to rain, which meant it was difficult to hear any birds calling.  We took the route through to the Marsh Hide and the rain didn’t last very long.  There were plenty of blackcaps and a garden warbler calling, wood pigeons were flying overhead and a blackbird and robin were seen.  Blue and great tits were pretending to be reedbed birds along with the sedge and reed warblers.

Blackcap by Richard Hanman (RSPB MLG Images)

We did eventually see a reed warbler and a youngster among the reeds, but they were quite elusive.  Coot, moorhen and mallard were the only water birds in evidence.  A marsh harrier was seen along with a couple of terns, herring gull, swifts and a buzzard.   As the path turned a corner there was a lovely sedge warbler, but I may have been the only one to see it; shortly afterwards we saw a little egret flying past. 

At the Marsh Hide, we added lapwing, mute swan, stock dove, greylag goose, gadwall, moorhen, little grebe, crows, starling, jackdaw, magpie and hobby. The lapwing, coot and greylag all had chicks. I also had a brief glimpse of a bearded tit.

We made our way back the way we had come, a reed bunting was calling and some managed to see it.

We all saw a lovely Cetti’s warbler out in the open and added jay. The little owl was not in its usual place.

Taking the boardwalk/nature trail path, we eventually saw a blackcap before coming out onto the main path where we saw tufted duck and common tern.  We headed towards the Tower Hide and made use of the two benches for a spot of lunch whilst watching common terns flying overhead, together with grey heron, marsh harrier, hobby, cormorant and gulls. A great crested grebe was on the water.  We heard a water rail but didn’t see it.

Making our way to the final stop, the Reedbed Hide, there were still swifts, harriers, terns and a buzzard flying overhead and we managed another glimpse of reed warbler along with a couple of blue and great tits.

Once in the hide there were a pair of shovelers, gadwall, mallard, great-crested grebe. Three of us saw a pair of Egyptian Geese before the fun started.  A birder in the hide called a turtle dove, then another came down to join it and we all got a view. Next thing we knew a bittern flew past, just before Warren joined us in the hide having been back to his car!  The turtle doves were still there so he saw them.  The other birder then spotted a common sandpiper which we all got onto and then, suddenly, another bittern flew by, closely followed by a second.  We were excited about seeing two when a third flew by and the other birder suddenly called ‘osprey’!  It was in the cormorant tree and being mobbed by a marsh harrier, we could hardly believe it. We all followed it as it flew off; then a cuckoo started calling, but we were so excited by this point and talking so much, some didn’t hear it.

We called it a day but did hear two cuckoos calling as we made our way back to the car park.  A lovely end to the day.

Karen Snow