Archive for October, 2005

31st October 2005, Monday

Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

Snipe numbers are increasing on the Beach Reserve, 76 could be found this morning mainly at Ternery Pool and the Quarry. Three Jack Snipe were also at the back of the Wader Pool.
Common Snipe at Ternery Pool
Common Snipe at Ternery Pool

30th October 2005, Sunday

Rye Harbour Sightings

On Flat Beach, over 700 Golden Plover were made very edgy by the presence of at least four species of raptor today. As well as Kestrel and Sparrowhawk, both Merlin and Marsh Harrier put in an appearance, prompting the plovers to perform impressive displays of aerial agility as they twisted and turned to escape their tormentors.
Elsewhere on the reserve, the last of the seasons Wheatear are still present around the red-roofed hut, while at Ternery Pool waders included over 190 Oystercatcher, 43 Lapwing, 14 Snipe, 8 Grey Plover and 4 Bar-tailed Godwit.

29th October 2005, Saturday

Scotney Gravel Pit

Long-tailed Duck , 3 Hen Harriers, 5 Marsh Harriers and 2 Green Sandpipers
From The Birds of Sussex Website

29th October 2005, Saturday

Doleham

0810-1110:60sp
Low cloud, poor light and dripping trees, following the night’s rain, which left the grass white with droplets and the saturated rushes rust-red. But the stillness made it easier to pick up calls from the many birds passing overhead.
Skylarks and Starlings seemed clear enough in their intent, as did the Woodpigeons and Stock Doves, crossing paths with urgent racing pigeons.
However, the Chaffinches, Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Linnets, Siskins, Redpolls, Meadow Pipits and Redwings were often singletons or in small groups, which could have been circulating in the area.
There were more Pied Wagtails than usual and 2 Grey Wagtails were my first for the site this year as were 2 Bramblings.
50 grey geese flying high SE further down the valley were unfortunately too distant for identification.
The taller trees along the railway, which are so busy early in the year, remain quite deserted now, the majority of small birds favouring the fruits and dense cover of hedgerows along the ditches. They move down these until they come to the Brede, where they accumulate, reluctant to risk the open land ahead. Blackbirds, Song Thrushes, Robins, Blue, Great & Long-tailed Tits, Goldcrests, Reed Buntings, Chiffchaffs, Chaffinches, Bullfinches and Dunnocks were all gathered in these outposts, along with 4 wild and beautiful Ring Ouzels. Along the tops of the reeds, 7 Stonechats were gathered, at least 60 Reed Buntings fluttered about beneath them while 4 Water Rails squealed under cover.

29th October 2005, Saturday

Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

Short Eared Owls have been the main feature this morning. Three Birds were flushed from their roosts while checking the Goats at Ternery Pool and West Beach. Possibly an additional Two were reported flying across the Beach Reserve from an easterly direction. Two Merlin and a flock of 100+ Greenfinch were also present in the West Beach area.
The roosting Waders at high tide today have included 115 Sanderling,102 Ringed Plover,5 Bar Tailed Godwit and 140+ Dunlin. Flat Beach Flood also attracted 700+ Golden Plover and 330 Lapwing. Birds flying over Lime Kiln Cottage today have included 61 Corn Bunting, 38 Skylark and 12 Redwing. At Castle Water Bearded Tit , Cettis Warbler, Little Egret, Kingfisher and Bittern were seen this morning. Shoveler, Pochard, Gadwall,Wigeon and Tufted Duck are present either at Ternery Pool, Castle Water or Long Pit.

28th October 2005, Friday

Hawfinch

I was in my garden at Chick Hill about 16.15 today when I became aware of a Hawfinch calling nearby. I located its dumpy silhouette in the leafless crown of a neighbouring Sycamore where it sat for a minute more before flying off towards the sea.
As far as I can recall, this is the first time I have seen the species in the Pett Level area, but there have been exceptional numbers reported down the east coast in the last few weeks and hundreds on the Dutch coast, according to the very interesting and clearly presented www.trektellen.nl

Something I forgot to mention about Guestling Wood: the Sweet Chestnut crop is very good this autumn!

28th October 2005, Friday

Sea Buckthorn

On the sand dunes at Camber there is an extensive growth of Sea Buckthorn. This year seems to be a bumper crop of the bright orange berries, which will be food for some of our winter thrushes. BUT before they eat them all try eating some… they are a bit sharp and rich in vitamin C. It is thought that it was introduced to Camber to help stabilise the sand, but it has invaded many areas and shaded out much of the other sand dune flora. Some control has been carried out with the consent of English Nature.
Sea Buckthorn berries
Sea Buckthorn berries at Camber

28th October 2005, Friday

New spider records for Camber Sands.

A spider recording trip to Camber Sands by Tony Russell-Smith and Emilie Touze last Saturday produced some interesting records the most significant being the newly discovered species Megalepthyphantes sp. n., which is in the linyphid (money spider) family.

‘The most exciting thing here is the Megalepthyphantes sp. n. This is a first record for Sussex and the first time the species has been found away from a short stretch of coast on the N. Kent coast together with some woodland sites in the immediate hinterland. It is also the first time it has been found on sand dunes. It was also good to see such typical dune species as Agroeca cuprea, Philodromus fallax and Ceratinopsis romana.’

excerpt from Tony’s email.

27th October 2005, Thursday

Dungeness Bird Observatory

Nearly all the days interest was offshore where strong southerly winds resulted in a westerly passage of birds including a Black-throated Diver, 21 Sooty Shearwaters, 390 Gannets, a Velvet Scoter, a Pomarine Skua, two Arctic Skuas and five Great Skuas, three Mediterranean and 55 Little Gulls, 458 Kittiwakes, six Arctic Terns and 420 auks. A Shag was also seen offshore and a Goldeneye flew north. Other birds seen during the day included a Merlin, 76 Skylarks, two Rock Pipits and 1330 Starlings coming in and 22 Swallows departing.
David Walker (from DBO website)

26th October 2005, Wednesday

Guestling Wood Purchase

The Woodland Trust, which already owns the northern half of this ancient woodland, hopes to purchase the southern end.
A Public Meeting to discuss the Trust’s plans will be held at 11 am on Saturday November 12th in the Scout Hut down the perilously narrow Church Lane, Guestling.
Guestling Wood is of considerable historic and wildlife value and is an important recreational resource in the area.
In addition, it occupies a significant position at the head of the Pannel Valley.