Archive for January 5th, 2008

5th January 2008, Saturday

Cattle Egret, Combe Haven Valley

A cattle egret was present today in the western end of Combe Haven Valley. Reported by Joe Dickens on wildhastings.

Photo by Joe Dickens

Location of Combe Haven Valley

5th January 2008, Saturday

TQ81 R (South of Pett)

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The Winter Atlas now requires a “late visit”, so I’m returning to the sites I first looked at in early November. Guess what? Not much change. There’s not much reason for it; the weather has remained mild so birds have had plenty to eat in the fields, hedges, woods and gardens of the Marsham Valley. As a result, my counts of little birds like Wren, Robin, Dunnock. Blue & Great Tit were very similar.

Blackbird numbers remain high, and cold weather further north must have pushed more Redwings into the area. A couple have been feeding on our lawn this week while more have accompanied a small herd of Mistle Thrushes on the field behind us. The two species are at opposite ends of the spectrum of British thrushes, the bigger one pallid and rangy, the smaller warm, dark and compact. Read the rest of this entry »

5th January 2008, Saturday

Ferruginous and other ducks

A good selection of ducks still on view today amongst the Pochard on the Long Pit. This is not part of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, but can be viewed from the public footpath. The photo below shows Ferruginous Duck (top right) and Scaup (bottom left).

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See below for location and 10 more photos.

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5th January 2008, Saturday

Frost-proof ants

I reported finding nests of the nationally scarce ant Temnothorax albipennis in plant stems on the 11 September 2007. At that time I assumed that this was a summer phenomenon and that the ants would retreat underground as the weather cooled. They are still turning up, however. The nest on the photograph below was found in frosty weather last week inside a sea kale stem. This species seems to be widespread on the shingle at Dungeness and Rye. Given that the stems of these plants are very fibrous they must give some protection from the frost. They are not immune to the wind though. The stem with this nest had been caught up in rubbish, and I suspect that quite a few of them get blown away to an uncertain fate if they are not attached to the ground, or hit a reserve manager’s fence!

Temnothorax albipennis nest in a sea kale stem