Archive for September 24th, 2007

24th September 2007, Monday

The inevitable bad news

… is that New Zealand Pigmyweed (or Australian Swampweed) Crassula helmsii, has made it to Castle Water. Normally we would be pleased to add a new species to the reserve list, but this is an alien species that can dominate a wetland. It was found today, scattered along about 400m of the margin of the wetland created only a year ago. It is about 10cm above the current water level, so on the next dry, calm day we will try to eradicate it with herbicide. However, it is tiny (the flowers are about 1mm. across) and it will be impossible to find all the small plants, but we must try because it will smother a habitat that is important here for wetland plants and invertebrates. In the RX area it has been found at Powdermill Reservoir, Dungeness and Pett Level and control is carried out at the last two.


24th September 2007, Monday

Today’s sightings at RSPB Dungeness

A wet and windy start to the day was brightened by the sight of a kingfisher from Hide 1.  A little owl was once again spotted near Scott hide and the female red-crested pochard is still present.  A few willow warblers, chiffchaffs and stonechats could be found around the nature trail.

24th September 2007, Monday

Special event at RSPB Dungeness

Illustrated talk – The wildflowers of Dungeness 

A special event celebrating the wonderful wildflowers of Dungeness will take place at the RSPB’s Dungeness reserve on Wednesday 26 September.  RSPB volunteers Barbara Gray and Heather Silk will be presenting an illustrated talk on the wildflowers of the area and signing copies of their book Wild Flowers of Dungeness.  This beautifully illustrated book provides a photographic guide to the diverse range of wildflowers on the peninsula.

The talk begins at 7.30pm at the reserve’s Visitor and Education Centre and costs £1.50 for RSPB members and £3 for non-members.  Booking is recommended – telephone 01797 320588.

24th September 2007, Monday

Rye Harbour Sightings

Rain and high winds made birdwatching a bit of a struggle this morning, though there was some interest to be found. Small numbers of waders included six Knot and three Grey Plover on the Quarry, and small numbers of Dunlin and Ringed Plover on the new pits next to Lime Kiln Cottage. Offshore, the highlight was an Arctic Skua scudding east fairly close in, while a raft of about 25 Common Scoter and numerous Gannet (below) were also present. Other bird of note included several Wheatear and a Peregrine which flew over the Beach Reserve heading east at about 7.30am.

24th September 2007, Monday

Pett Level

Apart from the posts on RX & SOS sites, there were 9 Pochard and 7 Wigeon on the westernmost pool and a Merlin at Carter’s Flood.

Several wary, newly-arrived Song Thrushes were in the blackthorn scrub by Toot Rock and a Nuthatch was once more at Chick Hill, where an ad Med Gull also flew over.

For some weeks, I’ve been the only person in Sussex not to have seen an Osprey, but at last had the most amazing close-up view of one. which dived into the Pannel Sewer just a few metres from me.

It’s always instructive to check for news of what’s going down the opposite coast. 3 sites counted 17,000 Meadow Pipits yesterday, while Great Egrets and Spoonbills were reported passing many places. With westerly winds blowing, they’re likely to stay on that side, but you never know. If you want mid-blowing stuff, check Cap Gris Nez for Sept 10/11!