Archive for June, 2008

30th June 2008, Monday

Late Visits

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It was a bit of a rush to finish all my Late Visits for the Breeding Atlas. I’ve been wading through chest-deep nettles one morning and beans the next, got soaked with dew, scratched, stung and sunburnt, menaced by dogs, befriended by cats and shadowed by suspicious crows.

There were surprises right to the end: a Little Owl flying across the front lawn of Buckswood School for instance, (never seen one in that area before) and 5 Yellowhammers suddenly singing around Brook Lodge Farm, Brede instead of the usual 1, as well as a female gathering nesting material. Read the rest of this entry »

30th June 2008, Monday

Cuckoo update

The Cuckoo chick found last week in a Reed Warbler nest at Castle Water is growing fast and filling the nest. It’s amazing how quick the chicks can change in five days. The bottom picture is another Reed Wabler nest found this morning, and shows what the Cuckoo would have ejected.

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Read the rest of this entry »

29th June 2008, Sunday

Chytridiomycosis

A little good news is that samples of amphibians tested by Ed Brede of the Institute of Zoology from Northiam and Dungeness in April this year have proved to be negative for this disease. Further samples were taken for testing in May from smooth newts and marsh frogs, so the sites do not have the all clear yet.

Dungeness has been tested because it supports marsh frogs, a species that is a possible carrier of the disease. The Northiam site was my back garden. When we were removing the 12,000 North American bullfrogs that had colonised a site on the Kent/East Sussex border quite a few were temporarily held in tanks in our property, including some of the first animals to test positive for the disease in Britain. I am glad it does not appear to have escaped!

28th June 2008, Saturday

Latest Flowering

The Sea Heath is flowering better than I have seen before, just south of the Red-roofed Hut at Rye Harbour (below). Also noticed a Flowering Rush in flower near Rye, but it is more common at Pett Level.

sea-heath

28th June 2008, Saturday

Great Dixter moths

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As part of Butterfly Conservation’s Rother Woods Project and with the kind permission of the owners, we ran 3 traps in the grounds of Great Dixter, Northiam, on 20th June and recorded 51 species, 17 of these being new for the estate. The highlight was this Green Arches, a rare species in the southeast (photo by Steve Wheatley).

28th June 2008, Saturday

Beach Reserve

Highlights this morning, 33 Curlew, 19 Avocet, 2 Little Ringed Plover, Common and Green Sandpiper were present on Harbour Farm Pools. At least 34 fledged Mediterrnean Gull (pictured) were at Ternery Pool or amongst roosting gulls and terns on the pools behind Ternery Pool, Common and Sandwich Tern Chicks are also growing fast and show well from Crittall Hide or Parkes Hide.

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27th June 2008, Friday

Northiam Station

I stopped to look at some floodwater just NE of the level crossing, since it seemed very busy with birds. They were mostly Black-headed Gulls and Starlings with Swallows twittering overhead.

There were a few Lapwings along the edge, a Pied Wagtail , a Heron and 4 smaller waders which turned out to be Green Sandpipers.

A crowd of well-grown young Mallards stretched their necks up out of the grass and beyond them was a very strange female duck with a single duckling. It was only when they headed for some willows that I realised they were Mandarins in an uncharacteristically exposed location.

The flood is at TQ837267 and can be overlooked, without disturbing the birds, from a roadside gate, though it is better to park up the road.

26th June 2008, Thursday

Tufted Ducklings

Today the first brood of Tufted Ducks was seen – at the Parkes Hide, Ternery Pool. They were very young, but all 8 were already diving to feed themselves or avoid the gulls!

tufted-duck-family

25th June 2008, Wednesday

Sheep’s-bit

One of the plants showing up well on the mature shingle ridges at Dungeness at present is sheep’s-bit Jasione montana, with it’s beautiful blue flowers. In Kent this plant is virtually restricted to the shingle beaches and sandy banks in the Dungeness area.

Sheep’s-bit

24th June 2008, Tuesday

Camber Castle Booklet

Details of a new booklet about Camber Castle are available by clicking here.