Archive for January, 2006

31st January 2006, Tuesday

Rye Harbour Sightings

At Castle Water, four Smew were present, including two males, as well as immature male Scaup and Marsh Harrier. On the Long Pit, another male Smew was present along with a male Goldeneye and good numbers of Pochard and Tufted Duck.
On Harbour Farm, a Merlin was present chasing skylarks opposite Lime Kiln Cottage.

30th January 2006, Monday

Rock-a-Nore, Hastings

At Rock-A-Nore, Hastings: 40 Common Scoter, Great Northern Diver, 112 Red-throated Divers, 30 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Gannets, 200 Common Gulls and 3 Guillemots flew east in a moderate SE wind between 0800 and 0830.
(B Grimes). from www.sos.org.uk

30th January 2006, Monday

Red-throated divers – West St Leonards

There has been next to no wintering birds offshore from Hastings over the last two or three weeks so it is was good to see a return to form today with 80+ red-throated divers and 50+ auks flying east past West St Leonards this morning. Two common scoter, a kittiwake and a great crested grebe also flew east. Later in the morning 8 great crested grebes and 6 red-throated divers were present feeding offshore.

30th January 2006, Monday

Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

A Raven was an unexpected visitor to the Beach Reserve this morning. It was last seen heading along the coast towards the Old Lifeboat House.
A few additional highlights this afternoon, at Castle Water 2 Bittern, 4 Smew (2 drakes), Goldeneye, Kingfisher and a Marsh Harrier. In the fields at the north end of Castle Water 15 Ruff, 170 Lapwing, 44 Golden Plover and 88 Canada Goose.

29th January 2006, Sunday

Pett Level

Pete Rouse tells me that this morning he saw:
9 Pintail, 30 Shoveler, 15 Tufted Duck, 5 Pochard, 14 Ruddy Ducks, 5 Shelducks & a Bittern at the Pools.
On the marsh there was the imm male Marsh Harrier and on the sea 30 Common and 12 Velvet Scoter.

29th January 2006, Sunday

Doleham

View downstream
Narrow rectangular fields running down to the Brede are part of an ancient pattern, truncated in the mid 19th century by the contour-hugging railway. They are divided by parallel ditches draining springs that flow from the Lidham hillside.
During the last year, low bunds have been built to retain some of this water and, lack of rain notwithstanding, the rushy meadows are beginning to flood.
Flooded fields
This is to the liking of c20 Snipe in the more open parts and Blackbirds, which search the soft peat close to the railway, ready to fly for safety in the trackside trees should a Sparrowhawk sail along.
Apart from the usual birds in the tall trees, 3 Woodcock, 2 Pheasants and a Little Owl flew up from the leaf-litter of the embankment.
Most other action is around the field of turnips, progressively consumed by sheep, on the W side of the Doleham Stream, where 250 Woodpigeons, 100 Common Gulls, 100 Starlings, 30 Carrion Crows and at least 6 Pied Wagtails feed, mostly on the “cutting edge” of recently trampled feed. From time to time they are unnerved by a Buzzard or panicked by a Peregrine.
Along the Brede itself were 2 Green Sandpipers and a flock of 6 Little Grebes, while beside the Doleham Stream were 12 Meadow Pipits and 2 Stonechats.

28th January 2006, Saturday

Ashes Wood, Netherfield

With the snow and cold, cold wind, many birds were lying low, but bright and inquisitive Great Tits, always backed up by a few Blue Tits, made their presence felt with a barrage of science-fiction noises. Marsh Tits are now pairing up and easy to see, with one loudly in song by the bridge, and Coal Tits were singing up in the pines.
Over c5km I counted 36, 53, 13 & 16 respectively of these species. There were also 15 Long-tailed Tits.
Since the mill pond was mostly frozen over, the only waterbirds were 8 Mallard, with a couple of Moorhens running chicken-like through the woods nearby.
Beech Mill
In alders on the west side of the wood a flock of 25 Redpolls included some rosy males and 3 bright green Siskins for contrast.
While Blackbirds were quite numerous (26), 4 out of 5 Song Thrushes were concentrated by the breach in a huge old dam, one of many blocking the ghylls in this area. Both species favour the soft silt of neglected old ponds here.

Old dam in the woods

28th January 2006, Saturday

Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

A rather chilly hour spent at dawn on the viewpoint at Castle Water revealed 26 Little Egret leaving the roost, a Bittern flew out the main reedbed and gave good views before disappearing into the reeds. At least 80 Cormorants flew in from the direction of Northpoint Pit and settled in various parts of Castle Water. Gadwall (45) and Teal (70) also dispersed from the islands where they roosted overnight. From the hide there were 3 Smew (1 drake) and 5 very close, feeding Snipe. The new excavations by Lime Kiln Cottage attracted 5 Shelduck a Teal and 18 Shoveler.
Snipe feeding just in front of the hide at Castle Water

28th January 2006, Saturday

Hawfinch at Marline Valley

A hawfinch and 50+ redwing were seen at Marline Valley.

A med gull and a fieldfare were seen at Combe Haven Valley.

Reported by Joe Dickens on the wildhastings egroup.

26th January 2006, Thursday

Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

The Slavonian Grebe is still present on Long Pit along with 162 Pochard and a drake Goldeneye. At Castle Water a Bittern was seen in flight from the hide, which landed near the view point. Two Scaup, 140+ Tufted Duck, 100+ Wigeon and a Goldeneye were the highlights from the wildfowl.
Also of interest this morning two Brown Hare were flushed inside the Goat enclosure.