Archive for February, 2010

28th February 2010, Sunday

Doleham still busy

Yesterday, before the rain started (again), there was plenty going on in the Upper Brede Valley, with around 500 wildfowl of 10 species present. The deeper floodwater has attracted more Tufted Ducks than previously and with them a new species for the reserve – a male Pochard.
Read more in RXbirdwalks.

27th February 2010, Saturday

Storm approaching

Tomorrow the combination of predicted high spring tide (4m) , low pressure (985mb) and strong winds (gale 9) may well result in some exciting coastal conditions. The tidal information is available on the Environment Agency website, the inshore waters forecast for North Foreland to Selsey Bill is available here and the old fashioned surface pressure maps here. With the heavy rainfall on already flooded land and the high tide preventing flood water out of the rivers, there is likely to be extensive flooding. If you can keep dry and warm there will be many photo opportunities and probably some exciting birds to be found.
The RX area escaped, but the French coast didn’t…)

26th February 2010, Friday

Rye Harbour

Highlights from the Beach Reserve this morning have included 16 Snipe, 6 Knot and an Avocet on Wader Pool, a Woodcock and Green Sandpiper at Ternery Pool and a Merlin along Shore Ridges. At Castle water 3 Bittern (2 on the main pit and 1 from the viewpoint). From the hide 4 Smew (1 drake), 200 Wigeon, 65 Shoveler, Gadwall, Teal, Cetti’s warbler, Water Rail and a pair of displaying Great Crested Grebes.


 Drake Gadwall from the hide this morning

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25th February 2010, Thursday

Out in the rain

For an impatient herpetologist it was good to have night-time temperatures of 6 C  and to get out into the rain last night to view great crested newts in some of the ponds close to ARC Pit, on the Dungeness RSPB reserve.  26 animals were present in one of the ponds, the males in full breeding dress, displaying to the females.  No sign of any eggs as yet, but it will not be long now, if the weather stays mild.

Rather pleasing also were the numbers of juvenile great crested newts in the water too, indicating that last year was a good breeding season.  Walking to the ponds required a degree of care because there were also newts crossing the path, to join their kin in the ponds.

This migration was also apparent at Northiam where numbers of newts in our garden pond have increased over the past few days. Roll-on springtime!

25th February 2010, Thursday


The unmistakable far-carrying call of Mediterranean Gulls could be clearly heard from Rye this morning. Eight white-winged adults were feeding with many Black-headed, Common and Herring Gulls on the flooded fields between the old primary school and the riverbank and Northpoint. Four were in full breeding plumage and looked like two pairs, strutting about and looking so much larger than nearby Black-headeds. A group of three had black heads but variable amounts of white on the ‘face’, and the eighth bird was still in winter plumage with a dark mask through the eye. I know they’ve been present at Rye Harbour and Pett Level for some time now but it’s always nice to find your own!

25th February 2010, Thursday

Beach Reserve

Highlights from the Beach Reserve this morning have included 180 Knot and 22 Grey Plover along the shore. Flat Beach Level/Quarry attracted 900 Lapwing, 31 Redshank, 42 Dunlin, 28 Golden plover, 34 Brent Geese and 49 Gadwall. At dawn 230 Curlew were present on a flooded corner of Harbour Farm were they had roosted overnight. Several Mediterranean Gulls were present at Ternery Pool first thing, and birds have been seen in flight or heard calling over the Beach Reserve.

24th February 2010, Wednesday

Rye Harbour Sightings

Highlights on the Beach Reserve this morning included two Mediterranean Gull (amongst about 100 Black-headed Gull) at Ternery Pool and a Black-tailed Godwit and an Avocet on Flat Beach Level. On Harbour Farm, five Goldeneye (including two drake) were on the new pits near the Barns, while two Scaup were on Long Pit. In addition, a quick visit to Castle Water Hide late morning found two Bittern, two Smew (one male), four Mediterranean Gull and a female Marsh Harrier.

Bittern from Castle Water Hide

23rd February 2010, Tuesday

RSPB Dungeness recent sightings

Barnacle goose – a flock of on 23 Burrowes pit on 21st. Smew – up to 15, including one male, across the site all week. Goosander – four males and two females on Burrowes pit on 20th. Slavonian grebe – one on New Excavations and one on Hooker’s pits. Black-necked grebe – up to three on Denge Marsh all week. Bittern – at least one seen daily. Woodcock – one by the nature trail near Makepeace hide on 21st. Yellow-legged gull – one on 22nd. Chiffchaff – up to three seen around the nature trail daily. Raven – one flying over New Excavations on 20th.

23rd February 2010, Tuesday

The art of Peter Partington

RSPB Dungeness nature reserve
Sunday 28 February, 2 pm – 3 pm. Admission free, booking advisable. 01797 320588.
Artist and illustrator Peter Partington will be giving an entertaining talk on his work and techniques.

23rd February 2010, Tuesday

Exhibition and sale of paintings by Bob Greenhalf and Peter Partington

RSPB Dungeness nature reserve
Sunday 28th February to Saturday 27th March (10 am – 4 pm on 28th, 5 pm thereafter).
We are delighted to be hosting an exhibition of work by reknowned wildlife artists Peter Partington and Bob Greenhalf. On the opening day Peter will be signing copies of the RSPB’s beautifully illustrated ‘Secret Lives’ books and will give a talk on his work and techniques (see below).