Archive for January, 2012

31st January 2012, Tuesday

Rye Harbour Avocets

4 avocets frantically feeding today in the pools of the new saltmarsh near Lime Kiln Cottage.

31st January 2012, Tuesday

RSPB Dungeness recent sightings

The dotterel was seen again yesterday, near Boulderwall Farm, a male smew was on Burrowes pit and a female common scoter was on Denge Marsh. On Sunday a drake goosander was seen from the Visitor Centre and a firecrest was in Christmas Dell.

30th January 2012, Monday

Beachcombing and Beach Surveys

The beachcombing has been pretty cold so far this month but some interesting finds….

Mermaid purses – the usual thornback (ravioli), lesser spotted catfish (dogfish), lots of undulate (larger than the others) and blonde (larger ravioli!),
Green Sea Urchins from Pett Level to Rye Harbour – from the December storms,
Common Otter shells (large like freshwater mussels),
Many cockle shells of a particular size – again washed up from December storms,
Many balloons and ribbons – from Norman’s Bay to Camber,
Plastic nurdles from Camber Sands, – click here and here.
Rubber cheerios!
Lots of footwear too!

If anyone wants to keep up to date with the beachcombing finds I am still tweeting (!) (Andy Dinsdale @Strandliner)
The next beach surveys are next weekend. Rye Harbour Saturday 4th February and Pett Level Sunday 5th February. Pass on to others who may be interested. Lucy will be at Rye Harbour and I will be at Pett Level. For more info click here. to We will aim to have refreshments too! Wrap up warm and bring gloves.

Contact me at

28th January 2012, Saturday

Brede High Woods Adder

Today a small group of Woodland Trust volunteers headed to Brede High Wood’s Holman Meadow. The task was to clear out the invading birch scrub. It was hard work but we all felt very rewarded when we took time to stand back and admire our efforts.
As we were heading back for some warm drinks, (provided by Mike) I spotted an adder on the side of the path. Yes that’s right an adder. Yes in January. I know. Amazing. I don’t believe we had disturbed it. It was away from where we had been working and it had already been around long enough to have fed. A bump can clearly be seen in the snake, perhaps the size on a small rodent.
If you look closely at the picture you may be able to see the snakes tongue tasting the air.
It is also in a position that it takes before it strikes. A good time to use the zoom on the camera I thought. I wonder if this may be the first record for an adder in the UK this year.
If you would like to get involved please contact Mike Jackson at Read the rest of this entry »

27th January 2012, Friday

RSPB Dungeness sightings

All the usual suspects are still present – long-tailed duck, smew, bittern and great white egret were all seen at the ARC site where 50+ Bewick’s swans flew in at 3.30pm. A firecrest in Christmas Dell was also of note.

Highlight of the week so far, however, was a dotterel, found among the golden plover flock on Wednesday afternoon. Although it has not been seen on the reserve since it was seen in a field alongside the Dengemarsh road yesterday, again with golden plovers. Let’s hope it puts in another appearance over the weekend which is forecast to be fine but chilly.

23rd January 2012, Monday

Great White Egret

A Great White Egret flew over the Beach Reserve at about 15:45 this afternoon. It was observed heading west for a while before dropping down in the region of Narrow Pit.

19th January 2012, Thursday

One of each

Pale Brindled Beauty, melanicPale Brindled Beauty, normal form

Birds aren’t the only things flying in January; there are a few moths too. Today I trapped two Pale Brindled Beauties at Rye, one melanic (monacharia) and one the normal form. Both are males, as the females are wingless. Melanics were unknown in East Sussex until the 1960s but now comprise up to 5% of the population.

18th January 2012, Wednesday

RSPB Dungeness sightings

Highlights over the past few days have included four white-fronted geese and two drake goosanders on Burrowes pit and five smew (including one drake) on New Excavations. The long-tailed duck is stiil around as are at least two great white egrets and numerous goldeneyes. Two firecrests were seen near Denge Marsh hide on 14th and a goldcrest was in Christmas Dell yesterday.

18th January 2012, Wednesday

Swimming Badger

At Rye Harbour Nature Reserve the main threat to ground nesting birds is predation from fox and badger, so we try to exclude them with fences. Some of the fences end at ditches and we extend these out into deep water. But it seems this is not keeping out all the badgers! In this video one is swimming around the end of the fence, so we will have to extend it soon.

Elsewhere the new saltmarsh is currently being fortified with extra wire mesh clipped to the bottom of the fence to deter fox and badger digging underneath and we are hoping this will lead to a bumper crop of young redshank and lapwing in the spring.
For photo Read the rest of this entry »

17th January 2012, Tuesday

Dungeness Seabirds

The most impressive sight this morning was a flock of around 2000 Razorbills feeding close inshore of the fishing boats along with some 400 Guillemots and at least 500 Great Crested Grebes. A Velvet Scoter made several passes offshore during the day and an immature Pomarine Skua was seen in the afternoon. A few Brent Geese also flew east and an Eider and two Red-breasted Mergansers were of interest. The first-winter Caspian Gull showed very well again and the second-winter Glaucous Gull was also seen.