Archive for December, 2009

31st December 2009, Thursday

The sun sets on 2009

I set out this afternoon to photograph the rising "blue moon" over the wind farm, but failed because of cloud cover. My consolation was a colourful sunset over the Firehills at Fairlight.


31st December 2009, Thursday

New Year’s Eve at Hastings Harbour

In the cold wind not many birds in the air save those which seemed to enjoy it. The sky rather empty but then a single crow flying north proved to be a Raven, elegant and powerful as it headed north. Some while later another single Raven but quite high powering slowly in the same direction.
In the gardens three wary Redwings watching from Lime branches were joined by two of the wintering Blackcaps.
At the harbour one of the RX boats rolling on the swell and coming ashore fish laden. 80 or more Great Black-backed gulls seemed well fed and rested, those on the harbour wall facing east. An uneaten spotted dogfish lying on the shingle and a general air of indifference amongst the Herring gulls suggested that lunch had been early today and there was no sudden rush to inspect the catch – perhaps they knew that the gutting had been carried out at sea.
A male Peregrine cutting over the shore and followed at lower level by his larger mate who flew not too high above the traffic. Then a pair of Ravens heading towards the cliffs as Gannets wheeled and dived over the bright horizon.

29th December 2009, Tuesday

RSPB Dungeness recent sightings

Red-throated diver – one on the ARC pit on 28th. Slavonian grebe – one on Denge Marsh on 28th. Black-necked grebe – one on Denge Marsh on 28th. Bittern – at least one daily at the ARC site, Denge Marsh or Hooker’s pits. One from Christmas Dell hide on 28th. Smew – present since 1st. Up to six females around the site from 17th. Goosander – three on the ARC pit on 27th and one on New Diggings on 28th. Curlew – one near Boulderwall Farm on 28th. Woodcock – one at Christmas Dell on 24th. Great spotted woodpecker – one near Boulderwall Farm on 22nd and 23rd. Siberian chiffchaff – one in bushes to left of track near ARC viewing screen on 28th. Firecrest – one near Hooker’s pits on 28th. Raven – two over Denge Marsh on 28th.

28th December 2009, Monday

Past few days

Highlights over the past few days 400 Wigeon, 350 Teal, 6 Pintail, drake Smew, 34 Snipe, Woodcock and 3 Marsh Harrier at Castle Water. Roosting waders on the Beach Reserve have included 370 Curlew split between Harbour Farm pools and Flat Beach, 160 Dunlin along shore Ridges, 245 Golden Plover and 300 Lapwing on Flat Beach. A Merlin showed well at Ternery Pool were small groups of Teal, Shoveler, Gadwall and a lone Scaup have been present. Several Red-throated Diver were lingering offshore out from the Old Lifeboat House.

28th December 2009, Monday

Odd record of the year?

Wildlife sometimes turns up in the strangest of places. The most peculiar record I have heard about this year was the common seal that was feeding on goldfish in a garden pond, 18 miles inland at Benenden, having presumable navigated up the River Rother. Had it been my pond I would have been putting it down to too much Christmas alcohol.

27th December 2009, Sunday

Pett Sea Wall

Maybe for the last time this year, l was on the sea wall again, where there was quite a bit to see, on the marsh pools but not much again on the sea. Again large flocks of dabbling ducks with upto 300 Wigeon, 80 Teal with smaller numbers of Mallard, Shoveler, Gadwall with the number being around 4/500 ducks in all. There was also 6 Tufted, 4 Pochard and 2 Goldeneye ( red heads) on the pools, but again only 1Common Scoter west over the sea. There was four species of Geese on the marsh with 86 G.L.Geese, 8 W.F.Geese, 4 Brents and 30/40 Canada Geese grazing on the marsh. Waders were in good numbers with 1500/2000 Lapwing, 300 Curlew, 60 Golden Plover, 4 Ruff, 20 Redshank, 30 Turnsone, 150 Dunlin, on the marsh, 10/15 Grey Plover on the beach. So imagine what it looked like when a scare happened, the whole marsh took to the air at least twice, the reasons being 2 Peregrines ( which spent alot of the time resting on the field just north of eastern most pool) 1 Marsh Harrier ( showing signs of being one of this years birds), and a male Kestrel.In the bay there was a few G.C.Grebe and R.T.Divers flying up and down but not much else. It was nice seeing a Fieldfare at the pools, l cannot remember the last time that l saw one of them at the pools. I hope you all had a good Xmas and that you all have a Happy New Year. Pete.

27th December 2009, Sunday

Rye Harbour Sightings

Highlights at Castle Water this afternoon were a male Smew, three Pintail (including two drake), a male Marsh Harrier and a Peregrine. In addition two Goldeneye were on the new pits near Harbour Farm Barns late morning.

Lapwing and Wigeon at Castle Water

25th December 2009, Friday

Numbers of Bewick’s swan building up

From John Kirk

I spent some hours yesterday watching the local Bewick’s flock on the Marsh. Their numbers have risen to 72, from the 56 reported last weekend. 7 juveniles appeared to be in small broods of 2 x 2 and 3 singles.  With them were 6 bean geese.”

25th December 2009, Friday

Christmas Quiz

If you are looking for a good wildlife Christmas quiz, then the RSPB have the best I could find… click here.

24th December 2009, Thursday

Christmas Greetings From Pett Level!