Archive for November, 2007

30th November 2007, Friday

The Mobile Coast

On the 27 September 2007 I wrote about the Open Pits, a superb series of natural ponds on the shingle at Dungeness. One of these natural pits is quite different, Wickmaryholm Pit on Lydd Ranges. It is older than the rest and its days are numbered.

Wickmaryholm Pit

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30th November 2007, Friday

Atlas – one month in

At the end of the first month of the BTO/SOS wintering bird atlas, here are the number of species found so far in some tetrads around Rye and the levels. (A tetrad is a 2 x 2 km area of the National Grid.)

TQ 92A (west side of Rye, R.Tillingham, Leasam) 40

TQ 92B (Iden to Rye Foreign) 32

TQ 92F (east side of Rye, East Guldeford) 67

TQ 92G (Saltbarn, Houghton Green, Cliff Farm) 48

TQ 92H (Iden Lock, Bosney) 37

TQ 92K (Moneypenny and levels to east) 34

Still early days – many tetrads both out on the levels and further inland have yet to be visited.

30th November 2007, Friday

Events leaflet

Events leaflet

Public events on the nature reserve for 2008 are listed in a new leaflet that is available from Lime Kiln Cottage or by downloading by clicking here.

If you are one of the 1800 Friends of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve you will receive one with your Newsletter in the next few days, together with details of extra events just for members.

30th November 2007, Friday

Dungeness Bird Observatory

29th – A Snow Bunting which flew SW over the Long Pits during the afternoon was the only bird of note.
28th – A miserable, dull and wet day produced a first-winter Caspian Gull on the beach at the fishing boats, seven Red-breasted Mergansers flying west at sea and a single Brambling over the Observatory.
David Walker from DBO website

29th November 2007, Thursday

Beach Reserve

Highlights this morning, 132 Ringed Plover, 400 Golden Plover, 735 Lapwing and 80 Dunlin were roosting on Flat Beach. 11 Brent Geese (pictured) were hanging around the River Mouth, Peregrine and Merlin were also present around Harbour Farm and Flat Beach.

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27th November 2007, Tuesday

Bunting flocks

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While doing yet another tetrad near Three Oaks the other day, I happened upon a flock of at least 14 Yellowhammers on a fallow field at the corner of the A259 & Butcher’s Lane (TQ848156). It’s a place I would never have visited otherwise, though the area between here and Fourteen Acre Lane was very busy with finches, thrushes and pigeons.

We had the misfortune to walk alongside the main road in order to get from one (disappearing) footpath to another. The road is winding, narrow and devoid of footway – essentially a no-go zone for anyone without a car. That’s what some of the drivers seemed to think. Although our area is generally well served with footpaths, and most of them are clearly signed, I’ve found several which marked just by tyre-marks in the earth, which can only be seen if you’re at the right angle.
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27th November 2007, Tuesday

Beach Reserve

The numbers of waders roosting at high water along Shore Ridges changes daily (depending on the amount of disturbance), this afternoon 117 Grey Plover, 190 Sanderling and 300 Dunlin were roosting near the Old Lifeboat House. On Flat Beach, 194 Golden Plover, 18 Brent Geese and 20 Shelduck were attracted to the flood. The highlight of the day though was a superb male Hen Harrier hunting on Harbour Farm before heading over the golf course.

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26th November 2007, Monday

Up the Tillingham valley to Peasmarsh

(photo: Mike Prince)

Walking up from tetrad TQ92A west into TQ82V on Sunday morning. A Cormorant was fishing in the quite small River Tillingham, and later we watched a female Marsh Harrier flushing Pheasants from a distant arable field across the valley. Plenty of Fieldfares now, with the occasional Redwing, and a couple of Bullfinches along the ancient lane through orchards, lined with beech trees and stacks of logs, up to the secluded and peaceful Peasmarsh Church. Mike Prince took the photo, just before briefly seeing a Stoat beside the track. Nearly back in Rye, Meadow Pipit and Reed Bunting were ‘new’ for TQ92A. But no Firecrests this time!

26th November 2007, Monday

Shore Ridges

Over the past few days a good selection of waders have given close views at high water as they roost near the Old Lifeboat House, numbers have included, 110 Sanderling (pictured), 65 Grey Plover, 4 Knot, 175 Dunlin and 32 Turnstone. Also yesterday, 3 Velvet Scoter could be picked out amongst the Common Scoter which were feeding close inshore near the Old Lifeboat House.

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26th November 2007, Monday

Where Do The Curlews Go?

At low tide, Rye Bay Curlews are feeding out on the beach, but as the water rises they retreat to the pastures behind the seawall. At Pett Level in winter, for instance, hundreds can be seen picking around on the turf close to the road.

However, a certain number move a bit further inland; I see them moving south-westward over my house. One flock is often on sheep-grazing at Old Marsham Farm and the other week I saw some feeding just north of the Royal Oak in Pett village. I also saw a few coming up the Pannel Valley at Pickham Farm (where Whimbrel sometimes feed in spring) recently, but it was hard to see whether they passed Guestling Wood. Neither have I seen them as far up the Brede Valley at Doleham.

So what determines their terrafirma feeding range? How far up the Brede Valley do they go? How far north across Romney Marsh?

Puzzlingly, the Royal Oak lot were there at low tide, when I would have expected them to be exploiting the food resources of the shore.

(At night they all roost at Rye Harbour click here for recent article.)