Archive for September 27th, 2007

27th September 2007, Thursday

Great crested newts: Dungeness RSPB reserve

The newt season is well and truly over, indeed it may be only a couple of months before the first animals start turning up at their breeding ponds again if recent winters are anything to go by, so now is a good time to summarise monitoring at Dungeness in 2007. This site is a Special Area of Conservation and an SSSI on account of its great crested newts. Monitoring was almost completely restricted to the RSPB reserve this spring where there has been an active programme of pond creation and management, and it has had an impact. Head counts of great crested newts Triturus cristatus on the reserve were the highest ever, with 296 animals recorded from 25 water-bodies.

 Male great crested newt

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27th September 2007, Thursday

Ivy Bees at Castle Rocks, Hastings

Ivy bees (Colletes hederae) are out in their hundreds at Castle Rocks at the moment. In fact I estimated about 2000 were on the wing throughout the site today, either females collecting pollen from flowering ivy or males fighting over the females as they emerge from their burrows.

Male Colletes hederae fighting over females

There seem to be many more males than females and large mating balls of dozens of males fighting after females can be seen buzzing over the loose sand at the base of the sandstone outcrop.

This species has only recently colonised Britain and was until recently considered a rarity but is now spreading throughout southern Britain and once established at a site it is typical to see these large populations nesting.

27th September 2007, Thursday

News from RSPB Dungeness

Visible migration proved to be the highlight with a steady passage of chaffinches, moving along the eastern edge of Burrowes pit, involving at least 1,400 birds. Two bramblings flew over Burrowes, but it seems likely many more must have gone undetected amongst the groups of chaffinches. Several groups of redwings totalled around 56 birds and four avocets and five dunlins flew over Burrowes pit.     

27th September 2007, Thursday

Rye Harbour Sightings

Highlight today were five Avocet, which were present on Harbour Farm and then Ternery Pool, while 19 Brent Goose were an unexpected sight late morning flying east along the shore. On Harbour Farm a total of 15 Grey Partridge were seen during the morning, 11 of these in the field opposite Lime Kiln Cottage and visible from there.

27th September 2007, Thursday

Evolution of the RX area

In left hand column, under Local Websites there is a new link to a fascinating website. explores the human and physical evolution of the RX area. My favourite is the animation – click here, then click on “The growth of Rye Bay and formation of Camber Sands”.

27th September 2007, Thursday

Castle Rocks – Birds

Migration counts by Andrew Grace for Castle Rocks, Hastings:

Tuesday 25th, 7.05-8.05am
A small early morning westerly passage included 76 meadow pipit, 37 linnet, 27 chaffinch and 3 grey wagtail. Also 1000 hirundines, mainly swallows and house martins but also a few sand martin. Grounded migrants included 5 chiffchaff, 6 robins, a wheatear and a song thrush.

Wednesday 26th, 7.15-8.15am

Still mainly meadow pipits and hirundines on the move, this morning coming in off moving in a north-west direction. Again another 1000 hirundines, 195 meadow pipit, 8 linnet, 4 chaffinch, 2 siskin, 2 ‘alba’ wagtails, 2 yellow wagtails and a grey wagtail. Grounded migrants included 10 robins, 5 chiffchaff and a blackcap.

27th September 2007, Thursday

Discover the Bay of the Somme

2 day walking holiday in France 26th – 27th October with our partners just across the Channel. Click here for details.