Archive for February 10th, 2008

10th February 2008, Sunday

Frost-spawn

The perils for early breeding frogs were well illustrated in our garden this morning. The surface of the water, and four clumps of spawn were frozen.

Frozen frogspawn

So given that frogs spawn only once a year why do they take such risks with challenging weather? Read the rest of this entry »

10th February 2008, Sunday

An early morning start

The day started at 7 am at Pett Pools, it was -2, the marsh was completely covered in frost and ice was forming around the edges of the pools. There were still 50 W.F.Geese, on the marsh along with the usual Canadian and G.L.Geese . A Marsh Harrier ( cream head) was hunting over the pools and putting all Lapwings up. An adult Med Gull was on the marsh at the Winchelsea end. I left around 8.30am and went to Scotney where there were also large numbers of geese ,300 G.L.Geese, 80,W.F.Geese and 22 Barnacle Geese along with the blue phase Snow Goose. Two Marsh Harries put in appearance, an adult male and a female. Back at Pett by 12am ,where it was now nearly high tide. In the bay there were 500 Common Scoters and 5 Velvet Scoters 200 G.C.Grebes ,30, R.T.Divers, 2 B.T.Divers which flew west, Brent Geese seem to be starting their long journey north again with 50 moving east along the channel.

10th February 2008, Sunday

Aliens

… yes we are being invaded by aliens. But the question is can we and should we do anything. Some have the potential to dramatically change our countryside. The matter has cropped up twice this week, at a Workshop of the Rother Catchment organised by the Environment Agency and then in correspondence with the Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre. Today I noticed this alien below, in a new spot at Rye Harbour, it is the Water Fern, Azolla filiculoides.

azolla

Read the rest of this entry »

10th February 2008, Sunday

Rye Harbour Sightings

The monthly WeBS (Wetland Bird Survey) turned up a good range of species this morning. On the shore an abundance of waders included over 60 individuals of both Knot and Grey Plover, as well as 180 Sanderling and over 200 Dunlin, while offshore around 70 Brent Goose flew east mid morning. On Long Pit the highlights were a Long-tailed Duck and four Goldeneye (two drakes). In addition, the Shore Lark is still present near the Red-roofed Hut.

10th February 2008, Sunday

House sparrows

Four years ago I paid a visit to the fantastic Extremadura region of Spain and was blown away by the birdlife.  One of the lasting impressions (surprisingly given the array of unusual and colourful species on offer there) was a bird I had taken for granted in the UK, the house sparrow.  We stayed in that well-known country inn used by birder’s, the Finca Santa Marta, near Trujillo.  Here they were abundant, contrasting with how few we had in our garden.  Not a bird feeder in sight, so the countryside clearly gave them all that they needed.  What was particularly interesting were the nesting colonies of this bird making use of cavities in white stork nests on the roof of the hotel – see http://www.fincasantamarta.com/staff.htm – one of the nests is shown on the photo on the right, above the staff, somewhat precariously balanced!  So, on my return home, disappointed with the meagre half dozen birds inhabiting our garden in Northiam, I resolved it was time we developed our own house sparrow action plan! Read the rest of this entry »