Archive for November, 2011

30th November 2011, Wednesday

First amphibian arrival

The annual ritual of spotting the first newt returning to our pond for the breeding season was a little later than average this year.  The first amphibian, a smooth newt, came in with the heavy rain last night and has a somewhat unusually shallow pond this autumn.  Dry weather has meant that there are still only a few centimetres of water in the bottom of the pond and dry ground has probably limited the opportunities for newts to migrate back.

27th November 2011, Sunday


Despite the colder weather there were still a few shieldbugs today and I found a Bronze Shieldbug (Troilus luridus – above) in Malthouse Wood sunning itself on a silver birch and yesterday I found a Green Shieldbug nymph (Palomena prasina) on a fence post around the same wood.

27th November 2011, Sunday

Short-eared Owl(s)

A Short-eared Owl was seen by Roy Gardner hunting on Harbour Farm to the west of the barns mid-afternoon, while what was undoubtedly a second bird was seen coming in off the sea a little later, before being mobbed by crows and going to ground near Ternery Pool.

27th November 2011, Sunday

Stickleback feast

There are large numbers of Three-spined Sticklebacks now in the saline water of the Quarry at Rye Harbour. These are attracting a range of fish eating birds, but especially Little Grebes that are often to be found fishing right in front of the Denny hide. The spines on the side of the fish have to be dealt with carefully, so there is usually some time to get photos… Other birds feeding on the fish there have been Goosander, Cormorant, Little Egret, Black-headed Gull and Redshank.

27th November 2011, Sunday

Galley Hill Birds

Lone Firecrest spotted in undergrowth on Galley Hill on 20/11/11.

26th November 2011, Saturday

Optics demo

Sunday 27th November 10am to 4pm.

There’s still plenty to see around the reserve, with long-tailed duck, smew, great white egret, glossy ibis and bittern all present today. Passerines were a bit harder to connect with due to the strong wind but a couple of goldcrests were seen in the shelter of the willow trail and tree sparrows continued to flock in good numbers around the feeders at Boulderwall Farm.

25th November 2011, Friday

Rye Harbour Sightings

Highlights over the last week have included a Short-eared Owl and two Goldeneye on Harbour Farm, a male Scaup on Long Pit/Ternery Pool, and a pair of Pintail and a male Marsh Harrier at Castle Water. Offshore, a brief seawatch on 23rd found 20+ Razorbill, 10+ Kittiwake, three Red-throated Diver and a Gannet. On the Beach Reserve, around 1000 Golden Plover, 750 Lapwing and up to nine Little Egret were present on Flat Beach level, while a maximum of 33 Sanderling were present on the shore.

23rd November 2011, Wednesday

RSPB Dungeness sightings

ARC produced two great white egrets, the long-tailed duck with a couple of goldeneye, a singe pink-footed goose and a raven flew over. The glossy ibis was still at Denge Marsh, as well as a little stint and a kingfisher and two bitterns were seen at Hooker’s pits. The long staying Pallas’s warbler was heard outside Scott hide. A little owl was seen at Boulderwall, a short-eared owl was seen on the return trail and a hen harrier was also seen along the entrance track.

19th November 2011, Saturday

RSPB Dungeness sightings

Highlight of the day was a glossy ibis , which was at the ARC site in front of Hanson hide for most of the day. Also at ARC were a bittern, two great white egrets and a long-tailed duck. Three bearded tits were seen at Hooker’s pits and a merlin and two ravens flew over.

19th November 2011, Saturday

Castle Water

Late yesterday afternoon the first big flocks this winter of Fieldfare (150+) and Redwing (60+) were present in the willows around the viewpoint.