Lesley and I took Sara and Wendy down to ‘Stinky Pond’ by the Rye Farm track in the drizzle this morning as they kept seeing it being mentioned in reports but didn’t know where it was. It didn’t disappoint. At least 6 Chiffchaffs were busy flitting around as were 2 Goldcrests that came very close. A Grey Wagtail was also moving across the pond and there was a very brief glimpse of the Water Rail. We looked across the floods were Gadwall, Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler, Pintail, Tufted Duck and Mallard were all there in fairly small numbers but the biggest surprise was seeing a pair of Great Crested Grebe over on the far bank , a species I personally haven’t seen in the parish before. We also made out that there was possibly a nest woven together across overhanging branches in the water. Confirmation that they might well be a pair was when they moved out in the open and proceeded to do their mating dance with the male offering a beakful of vegetation to the female. It’s not really a good idea though for them to breed there as should it ever stop raining the water will disappear and their nest will be left high and dry.

Mike Russell, 24th February 2024