February 29th saw the end of the first winter season of the BTO Bird Atlas 2007-11, so here’s a brief round-up of the coverage in this part of Sussex from the BTO website. (There might be more records to come from the paper forms.) In the 32 tetrads in the area from Cliff End, Icklesham, Cock Marling and Peasmarsh east to the Kent border, 140 species were logged. The average of 45 species per tetrad conceals huge variations, from 103 species in TQ81X, which includes the Pannel valley, to just 9 in TQ91Y, a bleak stretch of beach at Jury’s Gap. The most widespread bird was the Carrion Crow (above) which can be found anywhere, even to the tideline. Little Egret and Marsh Harrier were both recorded in 11 tetrads, Buzzard in 5, Sparrowhawk in 15 and even Merlin in 7. The most widespread waders were not surprisingly Lapwings (20 tetrads) and Curlews (18), but the 14 tetrads for Snipe and 8 for Green Sandpiper were perhaps more than expected, as were the 14 tetrads for Barn Owl and 9 for Kingfisher. Conversely, Jays were logged in a mere 7 tetrads – such a conspicuous bird that it could hardly have been missed, unlike the secretive Treecreeper (just 4 tetrads). It was a poor winter for Siskins and Bramblings, both recorded in only 5 tetrads out of the 32. Well, that’s it for the winter period – now we have to wait until April to start all over again with the breeding bird atlas!
Archive for March 10th, 2008
The past few days have produced a good variety of birds although several species were only seen by a lucky few who were in the right place at the right time. A common buzzard flew west over the car park on the afternoon of the 6th and three black-necked grebes were seen on the ARC pit late the same day. A first-winter glaucous gull put in another brief appearance on Burrowes pit on the 7th when Caspian and yellow-legged gulls were also seen. A male and three female smew were still present on Burrowes pit on the 8th and a firecrest was found at Christmas Dell. The ARC site was the place to be on the 9th where a bittern performed well in the mid-morning sunshine. Also present were several pairs of goldeneye, two Slavonian grebes, a Mediterranean gull and a red-throated diver. A peregrine was seen on the Water Tower and a barn owl also put in an appearance. The firecrest was still at Christmas Dell and a redwing was seen in the Denge Marsh gully. A white-fronted goose flying over Burrowes pit and a grey wagtail near Makepeace hide provided the highlights on Monday.
Today some waders were bathing in the freshwater puddles in the road near the river mouth. Sanderling (above) and Turnstone and Ringed Plover.