You may have heard or read in the news recently about the new species of small Maniraptorian dinosaur discovered at Bexhill. There is a freely available Paper – click here – describing the species and the vertebral segment is now on display in the Bexhill Museum. This find and research is the latest in the excellent tradition of Palaeontological fieldwork in the Weald, much of which lies within RX country.
An interesting large gull appeared on the harbour arm at Hastings at 11.45 this morning. I had been looking at the immature Great Black-backed Gulls earlier but a further look suddenly revealed a mystery bird perching close to the spray-drenched western edge of the wall. It was larger than Herring Gull and appeared all-pale but the bill was mainly black. Read the rest of this entry »
Just off the beach at St Leonards this morning a Grey Seal lolloping happily about in the water. Following Pete’s notes on the big numbers of Great crested Grebes I counted 160 offshore between West St Leonards and Glyne Gap this morning. In addition a Red-necked Grebe among about twenty of the Great Crested grebes not too far off the boats at Bulverhythe (although a telescope rested on a winch hut roof was needed for a proper view) watched swimming, diving and even preening and 2 Grey Plovers were joined by a Purple Sandpiper on the shingle roost.
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.
With the arrival of colder air the bird community in the Victorian gardens outside my flat window has been galvanised into activity. But what is also apparent after living here for three years is that the trees themselves take on a new significance at this time. The Limes and Horse Chestnuts are slowly growing their winter buds and at this time in the season the apparently bare branches take on a new attraction for some birds. This morning three Blackcaps appeared in the Limes and as in the previous winters they have been spending a lot of time gleaning from the buds of these trees. Read the rest of this entry »
It seems that the autumn days now only need a burst of sun to really warm up.Â But I wonder if an occasional frost exerts the same effect as the old fashioned long ones.Â After all, the day length diminishes in these temperate parts and the birds and trees seem to be responding to this.
At Ecclesbourne I was enchanted by two Ravens which came to circle slowly close – and a minute later a bird of prey coming in low over the cliffs turned out to be a ring-tailed Hen harrier which sped off eastwards, scaring up Goldfinches (below) from the weedy pasture.Â A juxtaposition of early and later autumn as the birdsÂ I had seen at North’s seat earlier included a Redstart and overhead a Hobby hawking for red admirals and Migrant hawker dragonflies in the hot and hazy air. There, among the Admiral and peacock butterflies a bright yellow male brimstone on the wing.