Archive for September 28th, 2007

28th September 2007, Friday

House Martins, Hastings

Large numbers of house martins were feeding over the coast of Hastings. At least 2000 birds were feeding over West St Leonards Cliffs and a similar number were feeding or milling about over the town centre earlier.

House Martin over West St Leonards

Early morning about 1000 house martins were counted flying west over West St Leonards Cliffs as well a similar number feeding low over the trees on the cliffs and around the college.

28th September 2007, Friday

News from RSPB Dungeness

An arrival of song thrushes and redwings was accompanied by a ring ouzel at Denge Marsh gulley late yesterday evening and a single redstart catching flies from one of the bramble bushes. A second ring ouzel was present briefly in the gulley this morning, before flying off towards the reserve, along with two stonechats, a willow warbler and at least seven song thrushes. Elsewhere on the reserve, two bar-tailed godwits, 12 snipe and a peregrine flew over Burrowes pit and an avocet was resting on the islands in front of Makepeace hide. In addition to yesterday’s sightings a tree pipit flew over the car park late afternoon.     

28th September 2007, Friday

Pett Level

With a cool northerly blowing, the soundscape was more convincingly autumnal, as contact calls came from flocks of hirundines, Meadow Pipits, Linnets, Goldfinches and Siskins bowling along into the headwind. For the latter, it was the first time this autumn I’d seen them passing in numbers, with flocks of up to 30.

Though many followed the seawall, they were easier to hear and see along the RM Canal, out of the wind and away from traffic. A few Grey Wagtails were also moving along the canal and between Toot Rock and the Pannel Valley I counted 18 Stonechats, 14 of which were hopping about on a strip of recently spread ditch-spoil. 2 Skylarks flew up from one of the rough meadows where they always lurk in winter.
Many of the Meadow Pipits had alighted on the shingle, where they scurried about in the company of Pied Wagtails, the odd Wheatear and a few Rock Pipits – darker, greyer and squeakier.

A surprise at the Wader Pool was a pallid winter-plumage Sanderling alongside a summer-plumage Dunlin. Otherwise, there was the usual bunch of Black-tailed Godwits and at least one each of Curlew Sandpiper and Spotted Redshank. Small flocks of Wigeon were in circulation out at sea and over the marsh, where a Marsh Harrier was seen off by Rooks.

28th September 2007, Friday

Visible Migration Counts, Hastings

From Andrew Grace via email:

Friday EAST HILL 0650 – 0750am

Birds coming in off sea or coasting
Meadow pipit 95
Siskin 58
House martin 100 +
Swallow 100 +
Sand martin 1 at least
Chaffinch 27
Reed bunting 6
Redwing 3
Song thrush 2
Pied wagtail 2
Grey wagtail 1

Later at WEST HILL

Stonechat 1
Whinchat 1
Chiffchaff 4
Song thrush 6
Siskin 7

28th September 2007, Friday

Pink-footed Geese

There was a report yesterday of a flock of 20 Pink-footed Geese at the Beach Reserve.

28th September 2007, Friday

Road Closure

Travel through the RX area will be difficult for a month from 1st October, because the A259 bridge over the river Rother will be closed!!! For more detail click here.

28th September 2007, Friday

More on New Zealand Pigmyweed

Reading Barry’s article of 24 September 2007 on the New Zealand Pygmyweed Crassula helmsii reminded me of my first encounter with this plant in the 1980’s. I couldn’t find it anywhere in my flora, and stood on a patch of the weed for some time trying to identify it. As a submerged plant the leaves are flattened like a typical aquatic plant, but when the water dries up they become swollen and suculent and quite different in appearance. The plant was not in my key and I eventually gave up and went off to monitor another site, but horrors I must have transfered it on the bottom of my wellies for it turned up there the following year, and proceeded to infest every pond becoming a serious pest. So, if you come across it make sure you clean your boots before entering another wetland as even small fragments of the plant will start new plants. I should at this point add that I have not been wading around Castle Water! This plant has also turned up at at least 4 localities on Walland Marsh and Romney Marsh in recent years. Why are fish shops and garden centres still selling this nasty weed?