Archive for December, 2008

31st December 2008, Wednesday

Stonechat survival

stonechat-and-mole

At Castle Water this morning most of the frost vanished early, but the ground was still frozen… all except for the fresh, dark brown molehills, which is where a Stonechat was feeding.

31st December 2008, Wednesday

Winter Moth – and a two-year summary

The photo shows a Winter Moth (Operophtera brumata) on my house wall at Rye on Christmas Eve, one of the very few species on the wing on mild winter nights. It’s quite common and not much to look at, but it was new for my garden. Since then it’s been too cold to run the trap, so I’ve been looking back through all my moth records since we moved here in March 2007. That first year, with its often freakish weather, was best for variety with 303 species (2823 moths over 99 nights); 2008 produced 283 species (3800 moths, 106 nights) but many of these were new, so the total so far is 373 species, far more than I was expecting. Sandwiched between the lush gardens and old woodland of Rye Hill and the tidal saltmarsh of the Rother, here in North Salts we get a good mix of both residents and migrants. Incidentally, as a kid I hated moths, horrible brown things flapping around my bedroom! I had no idea then of their variety and beauty.

30th December 2008, Tuesday

Pett Level


The number of Blackbirds scouring our frosty garden has risen to 12. On the meadow beyond, the Common Gulls coming in from their roost in the bay do not march about as usual but lie down quietly before flying on into the Weald. In the trees beyond that, Greenfinches are dismembering Ash keys, having discovered that the sunflower seeds have run out in the feeders. Overhead, lines of Lapwings are heading off SW to avoid the approaching cold weather.
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30th December 2008, Tuesday

RSPB Dungeness – today’s sightings

Twenty-six Bewick’s swans roosted on the ARC pit overnight. Five bitterns were seen today (three at Hooker’s pits, one at Christmas Dell and one at the ARC pit). Also at the ARC site, three regular and one Siberian chiffchaff, two goosanders and four smew. The Slavonian grebe was still at Christmas Dell and the black-necked grebe at Denge Marsh. Kingfisher and water rail were seen from Hooker’s viewpoint mid-afternoon along with two of the bitterns.

30th December 2008, Tuesday

Castle Water

With the freeze up now into its second day, good numbers of wildfowl have started to gather in the areas of open water on the main pit at Castle Water. Gathering birds have included 680 Teal, 155 Gadwall, 260 Wigeon, 129 Shoveler, 350 Mallard, 102 Tufted Duck and 3 Smew. At least 250 Coot had also gathered on the open margins at the northern end.

30th December 2008, Tuesday

Rye Bay Bird Safari

Paul James will be running another Rye Bay Bird Safari on Sunday 4th January. Full details can be found by clicking here. Please contact Paul in advance to book a place (max 12).

29th December 2008, Monday

Doleham


Since the shallow floods were frozen over, ducks were restricted to the waters deep inside the channel of the Brede, where a dozen Teal and a pair of Wigeon joined Little Grebes and Moorhens.
Snipe, however, were able to probe between the tufts of juncus, from which about 50 flew up, and single Water Pipits were on the marsh and further east along the Brede.
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29th December 2008, Monday

Rye Harbour

The shore provided the highlights this morning with 86 Knot, 32 Grey Plover, 370 Dunlin, 350 Oystercatcher and 122 Curlew all feeding along the shore, a Merlin was also present along Shore ridges. Yesterdays highlights from Castle Water included a Firecrest and Treecreeper in the scrub at the southern end ot the main pit, the latter being unusual around the pit margins.

28th December 2008, Sunday

Even further back Then and now 8

In my previous post I showed evidence, gained from maps and aerial photos since 1878 of the gradual destruction of Wickmaryholm Pit on the south coast of Lydd Ranges. To discover what happened at the beginning of the story you have to burrow into the sediments of this pit.  They tell the story of what happened in its early years.  The layers of peat in these pits contain pollen, higher plant remains and diatoms, that identify the vegetation that used to grow in and around the pit, describe the environment throughout its history, and can be used to date the development of the pit.

It appears that Wickmaryholm pit was probably formed sometime between Read the rest of this entry »

28th December 2008, Sunday

Bloody cold on Pett sea wall

7.30am to 12 noon.High tide around midday, sea rough, temperature 2C all morning. Pett sea wall is not the best place to keep warm on a day like today, so on days like today you hope that the bird life keeps your mind off the cold, but this morning the cold won hands down. Not much difference in the way of birds but numbers have increased, Grey Plovers were in good numbers with 65 roosting at high tide along with 300 Dunlin, 1 Ringed Plover, Ruff, Redsank, Turnstone, Curlew, Lapwing, Snipe, most of these were seen at the Winchelsea end.
Other birds seen were 3 Marsh Harriers at the pools, large numbers of Commom Scoters and G.C.Grebe on the sea with few R.T.Divers and 1 Razorbill east over the sea.
There seemed to be geese all over the marsh mainly Greylag and Canadas but there was 9 White-fronted Geese and 3 Brent with them.
Ducks were also in good numbers with Wigeon 300, Teal 60, Gadwall 20, Shoveler 10, Pochard 8, and 1 Tufted Duck. Diving ducks are not very common at the pools nowadays due to the water level being kept lower, but you can’t have everything.
I hope you all had a Merry Christmas, and I hope you all have a Happy New Year, Good Birding from Pete Rouse.