Archive for January, 2008

31st January 2008, Thursday


I’ve had an email from Helmut Kruckenberg, to say that the neck-ringed White-fronted Goose HKV, currently at Pett Level, had been previously re-caught at Bingum-Einhaus in Germany. I’m not clear at this stage where it had been first caught.
The bird has been marked as part of an ongoing research scheme detailed in these two websites:

Apologies for the poor quality of this clumsily digiscoped image

31st January 2008, Thursday

Wind Dispersal

Today is excellent for plants adapted for spreading their seed on the wind. But yesterday was calm and sunny, and as I waited for some visitors at the Rye Harbour car park I looked closely at the seeds of Wild Clematis (or Traveller’s Joy or Old Man’s Beard), just waiting for today’s wind!


30th January 2008, Wednesday

When shingle gets disturbed

Let me stress straight away that generally on Dungeness conservationists do not want the shingle to be disturbed. Much of the nature conservation interest is best protected by leaving it alone to develop naturally. The geomorphologically important ridges that show how the site was built by the sea can be permanently destroyed by disturbance for instance. And some of the old vegetation communities can also take decades (if not more) to recover if disturbance is extensive. But, when it happens the results can be spectacular…………….

Viper’s bugloss goes for total world domination!

Read the rest of this entry »

30th January 2008, Wednesday

Pannel Valley NR

There have been up to four Marsh Harrier in the valley during the last month or so with a male hunting over the reeds this morning. The first Mediterranean Gull, of the year, an adult,  was bathing with a mixed group of Common and Black-headed Gulls and yesterday a Dartford Warbler was present.

29th January 2008, Tuesday

Rye Harbour Sightings

Now entering its sixth week, the Shore Lark is still present today on the Beach Reserve, feeding with Skylarks in its favourite spot near the Red-roofed Hut. Also on the Beach Reserve, high tide found a good range of waders on Flat Beach including 500+ Lapwing, 180 Dunlin and smaller numbers of Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Ringed Plover and Redshank. Offshore there were 150+ Common Scoter, 28 Red-throated Diver, 10-15 Auks and two Kittiwake, while on Long Pit the Long-tailed Duck and two Scaup were present late morning.

29th January 2008, Tuesday

News from RSPB Dungeness

The fine weather bought about a spring feel to the day, with ruddy ducks and great crested grebes displaying on Burrowes pit, and one of the three chiffchaffs around Hanson hide occasionally bursting into song. A ringtail hen harrier was seen near the water tower and the Slavonian grebe continued to show well from Firth hide. Seven grey partridges were seen in the fields along the entrance track, and the party of white fronted geese, currently roosting on Burrowes pit flew out again this morning, heading in the direction of Scotney pit. A party of 17 collared doves perched on the wires near the water tower, was the most unusual record of the day, beating the group of eleven birds seen in 1985!

29th January 2008, Tuesday

Yet more grebes (divers too)

The continuing calm weather allowed me to do a more thorough count of GC Grebes in the bay. I began at Winchelsea Beach and worked westwards. There seems to be very few in the eastern half of the bay, and birds were only thinly scattered until I got west of the Pools, when denser flocks appeared. In moving from point to point, I was careful to avoid duplicating counts, and erred on the side of caution when suspecting an overlap. The last group was right round past Fairlight Cove in Darkest TQ81Q, rather hard to see and the tide was coming up, so I may have missed a few more there.
2008-01-29-014.jpg Read the rest of this entry »

29th January 2008, Tuesday

Round the corner

I have been unable to find many G C Grebes in the bay this winter. On the rare occasions that I’ve been able to look when the sea has been calm, I’ve seen few or none at all, though at this time of year there are usually hundreds. In fact, Rye Bay holds one of the biggest wintering flocks in Great Britain, with up to 600 birds present. Another very large flock has been counted round the corner – but still in RXland – at Lade sands, and I’ve often wondered whether these are two separate groups. If they are, then the RX area is by far the most important wintering site in the country for this species.
On Monday, however, in my Winter Atlas Late Visit to TQ81 W , I found flocks all the way round from Toot Rock to W of Fairlight Cove. These were mostly close inshore, therefore easy to count, and totaled 499 birds. I did not have the opportunity to check for more grebes further east in the bay or west beneath the cliffs. Read the rest of this entry »

28th January 2008, Monday

Pett sea wall

Sunday 27/01/08

The morning started around seven o’clock, the tide was on the way down and about two thirds of the way out already. There weren’t many species around today, the best sighting was a Great Northern Diver flying west along with a party of 10 R.T.Divers.
Today was more about numbers with 295 G.C.Grebes on the sea, also on the marsh there were 53 W.F.Geese and 4 Brent Geese along with Canadas and G.L.Geese.
Waders were also in good numbers on the marsh with 1500-2000 Lapwings, 300 Curlews 115 Golden Plovers 10 Grey Plovers and 150 Dunlins.
When all these birds took wing, due to 2 different Marsh Harriers (both cream heads), the skies were full of birds. There are still good numbers of ducks about eg Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler,Pochard and Tufted Duck but only low numbers of Scoters in the bay.

28th January 2008, Monday

Displaying Waders

For a brief time this afternoon the Beach Reserve was still and warm and a few Lapwing and Ringed Plover started their aerial displays over the favoured nesting areas…