Archive for December 4th, 2007

4th December 2007, Tuesday

Advent insects

The past few nights in Northiam have been cold, but despite this there are still insects on the move during the day. Yesterday a wren and a chiffchaff were competing for them around our pond. There was an obvious swarm of midges above the water. I don’t know if they were feeding on these or not – the chiffchaff seemed to be taking food from a dead marsh cinquefoil stem, which the wren frequented too but it also darted down to the water’s edge several times to capture aquatic creatures. One looked like a damselfly larva (large red damselflies are common here) but it was difficult to tell for certain through the binoculars.

Today’s unseasonal invertebrate was a small foraging worker of either the buff tailed or white tailed bumblebee (Bombus terrestris or lucorum) on our neighbours Erica’s. It had full pollen sacs so there is obviously an active nest in the area.

In the pond common frogs remain the most abundant amphibian. I have still only seen a single male smooth newt in the water throughout the past month, although I was told a great crested newt was observed in one of the ponds at Great Dixter at the weekend.

PS. Two nights later the migration of newts into the pond has picked up with at least three male smooth newts and one female in the pond this evening. Spring is coming!

4th December 2007, Tuesday

Siskins and a Buzzard

Today’s walk from Rye, under gloomy overcast skies, went through Gibbet’s Marsh (between Udimore Road and the railway), along the Cadborough cycle track, up the permissive path to Watlands, and back via Calves Field Wood along the S side of the Tillingham valley. The first surprise was about 15 Siskins feeding in an alder by the railway track at Gibbet’s Marsh, our first since the start of the winter Atlas. A similar first was a Treecreeper at the N end of the copse NE of Great Fagg Farm. A Buzzard flew out of a tree just before Calves Field Wood (only a mile from Rye), while also logged were 2 pairs of Stock Doves and 3 pairs of Stonechats. Flocks of Fieldfares and Redwings were popping out of the hedgerows all over the place – they seem to be increasing all the time.

4th December 2007, Tuesday

Past few days

Highlights over the past few days have included, 1100 Golden Plover roosting on Flat Beach. Two Smew (redhead) at   Ternery Pool. Water Pipit, Short-eared Owl and 350+ Curlew On Harbour Farm. 47 Little Egret were counted leaving the roost at Castle Water.

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Sunrise at Ternery pool this morning