Another very high tide today, and at its peak I was surprised to find a Common Sandpiper, a Kingfisher and a Grey Wagtail all nearÂ the railway bridge over the River Rother. Later in the afternoon, another Kingfisher and aÂ late Wheatear on the riverbank at Northpoint.
Archive for October 29th, 2007
The bittern was seen again in flight early morning, flying from the back of hookers pits and dissapearing out of sight behind the viewing ramp, droping down either in the corner of Denge Marsh or carrying on to the reeds around New Excavations. A redhead goosanderÂ was seen from Makepeace hide and an early smew (another redhead) was reported from Scott hide,Â the earliest to be recorded on the reserve by a week. In contrast, the garganey was still favouring the islands in front of Makepeace, with remenants of summer also including a wheatear near theÂ dipping pond and a group of six swallows over Burrowes pit. Â
At the viewpoint this morning I was surprised to find a female Migrant Hawker ovipositing and another pair in tandem this late in the season, several Common Darter were also powered up by the autumn sunshine. Also of interest was a group of 40 Blackening Waxcap (Hygrocybe conica) found in the nearby grassland. Bird highlights included, 8 Bearded Tit (3 male) from the viewing platform, 3 Tree Sparrow, Green Sandpiper, Kingfisher and 15 Snipe from the main pit.
This evening I watched a small group of 40 mute swans leaving an oil seed rape field on which they were feeding and fly to the White Kemp Sewer to roost. This is just one of the many “herds” of swans attracted to the oilseed rape fields of the area. Although it was recorded on WeBS as occuring on the Marsh in nationally significant numbers in 2006 (see Barry Yates entry for 9 October 2007) this recording scheme greatly under-estimates the numbers of birds present in the area because the birds occur in numerous herds dispersed across the Marsh, often feeding on arable fields well away from WeBS recording areas. If they do return to roost on counted sites they turn up late at dusk, sometimes after dark. The presence of this species in nationally significant numbers (1% of the British population) is important because it is one of the qualifying features for the Dungeness, Romney Marsh and Rye Bay Site of Special Scientific Interest, and would also qualify the area as a Ramsar site for this non-migratory species. Only the roost sites (gravel pits, flooded fields, and the wider ditches that drain the Marsh) are currently considered for these designations as the feeding areas vary dependent on the agricultural crops grown in individual fields.