Archive for March, 2012

24th March 2012, Saturday

Castle Water

Its been a while since I have seen a Bittern, so its was good this morning to see a bird in flight from the viewpoint and hear some first croaky rumblings of some booming,(the quality was poor and can be likened to Pavarotti singing DO-RE-MI in his dressing room before belting out Nessun Dorma on stage). Its important for male Bitterns to get through the winter in good condition as any weight loss will effect the throat muscles and ultimately booming quality. I am  sure after a weeks practice and a few more Rudd we will be hearing quality booming. Also of note over the last few days Bearded Tits have been more obvious than in recent weeks, at least 6 birds were around the viewpoint area this morning, with additional birds in the reedy margins at the northern end of the main pit and near the hide.

rxbitterndsc03718.jpg

23rd March 2012, Friday

Tephritis Species

Tephritis
Another interesting find this week was this small fly, a ‘Tephritis’ species sunning itself on my back wall. I thought it maybe is a T. leontidis although more others have helpfully suggested it could also be T. conura or T. ruralis. All these are scarce so I will pursue enquires to see if it can be identified from a photo.

23rd March 2012, Friday

Let’s count the Mediterranean gulls

The grand total of 547 Mediterranean gulls were counted in the Rye Bay area (all in Sussex) at 9am this morning – the great majority were full adults. They spread out over a wide area to feed so the actual total would be even higher…
Read the rest of this entry »

23rd March 2012, Friday

Black Redstart

My avian highlight today was without doubt an obliging male Black Redstart along the footpath which leads from the Parkes Hide to the caravan site. The bird showed well feeding on the short grassy areas and perched on fence posts as it worked its way along the fence line. A check of the willows in flower at the viewpoint provided additional interest with Dotted Bee-fly joining the growing ranks of Common Bee-fly, Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock. The hoverfly Cheilosia grossa (pictured below) was out in good numbers and provided some great photo opportunities.

rxblreddsc03691.jpg

Read the rest of this entry »

23rd March 2012, Friday

RSPB Dungeness

A chiffchaff is singing from the bushes outside my office and a long-tailed duck is bobbing about infront of the Visitor Centre – March can be a very odd month. Highlights over the past few days have included hen harrier and buzzard flying over on Wednesday and a merlin on Thurday. Waders spotted this week include avocet, ringed plover, dunlin, snipe, knot and bar-tailed godwit. A firecrest was near Scott hide on Tuesday and bittern sightings continued at the ARC site and Hooker’s pits.

21st March 2012, Wednesday

The sound level increases

Today there was an increase in Sandwich tern numbers to about 500 – hear them by clicking here. Still 10 ruff looking happy feeding on the grassland invertebrates of Rye Harbour farm, perhaps they will stay long enough to get their spectacular plumage. Plenty of golden plover around and a few are moulting into their breeding plumage. Merlin still regular.

20th March 2012, Tuesday

More Spoonbills

10 birders from Ashford Birdwatchers Group visited Rye Harbour today. In addition to the birds listed on the website as seen today you may be interested to know we had sightings about 11.00 am of two more Spoonbills coming in by the mouth of the channel (they circled and flew west towards Pett levels and did not seem to land in the reserve); these were additonal to the single bird that was still on the flood; and before that above Harbour Farm we had 6 Ravens all in the air (being mobbed by BH Gulls) before they dispersed in several directions. The latter was a particularly exciting sight for the group. By e-mail from Andrew Lapworth.

20th March 2012, Tuesday

Beach Reserve

A Spoonbill gets star billing this morning and was joined on Flat Beach at day break by 22 Avocet, 8 Ruff, 8 Bar-tailed Godwit and 35 Brent Geese which had joined forces with the eleven birds that have frequented the Beach Reserve over the past week. At Ternery Pool at least 150 Sandwich Terns were roosting out from Crittall Hide, from Parkes Hide good numbers of Mediterranean and Black-headed Gulls were on view, Golden Plover, Oystercatcher and Lapwing were also roosting on the new islands seen from this hide. Harbour Farm highlights this morning included displaying Lapwings, 3 Wheatear, 4 Grey Partridge, 4 Ruff and 18 Avocet. Later at around noon Sandwich Tern numbers had increased to 350+ at Ternery Pool.

rxlapwing2dsc00973.jpg

19th March 2012, Monday

Castle Water

Highlights from a day at Castle Water included Firecrest, 2 Raven, Common Buzzard, 3 Marsh Harrier and 10 Avocet, insects on the wing included 2 Small Tortoiseshell, Common Carder Bee, Buff and White-tailed Bumblebee, and at least 6 of each Common Bee-fly and the hoverfly Cheilosia grossa. This distinctive early hoverfly can be seen around the short grassy areas near the viewpoint flying low to the ground as it searches out its host plants, in this case young Spear Thistles. 

rxcgrossadsc08256.jpg

Cheilosia grossa on cut willow stump.

19th March 2012, Monday

Redwing

During the heavy rain on Saturday night I was at Fairlight at 23.15 and could hear a good movement of Redwing  overhead. The surprise to me was that it was pouring down and had been most of the evening. I always thought that birds would not migrate during heavy rain with no moon or stars visible. On Sunday morning there were certainly more Redwing in the lanes around Icklesham with separate flocks of 120, 80 and 60 present.