On a very gloomy and cold afternoon I ventured to Marston yet again to be greeted by the usual empty scrape and hardly anything moving in the reed bed. A bit further down I decided to play a waiting game for Water Rail by the 5 bar gate. Sure enough there was a few Rail chirping and showing briefly but little else apart from a lone Chiffy occasionally flitting around the concrete channel – the first I have seen this winter. I was joined by Chris Grimshaw who said he had seen the Hen Harrier which then promptly came up out of the reed bed harassed by corvids, I saw this bird at least another five times but didn’t get any shots as it was always only visible through the reeds or bushes. I then saw a male Stonechat a little further down on an elder in the reed bed, again a first for me this winter, and heard a Cetti’s which showed well, but briefly, down by the channel. The light was extremely poor so photography was nigh impossible but I did get a couple of record shots (click on the image for a larger version):

Chiffchaff
Chiffchaff
Stonechat (m)
Stonechat (m)

David