Author Archive

5th October 2007, Friday

Pannel valley NR

A Bittern, the first of the autumn, was seen leaving the roost at dawn today – it had been seen arriving in the Valley yesterday.

Also of interest, there was a report of a Long-tailed Skua roosting on the beach at Pett Level this afternoon from two visiting birders.

2nd October 2007, Tuesday

Pannel Valley NR

A lunchtime stroll near Carter’s Flood produced 48 Wigeon, plus a flight of 84 Pintail inland up Carter’s Valley. (The Flood is now full again, in preparation for the arrival of the wintering wildfowl.) Two Ravens also flew over the Cliffs and a pair of Coal Tits (scarce on the reserve) were in the hedgerow.

Two Siskin flocks totalling 36 birds passed overhead, with several Redwings calling from the alders adding to the autumnal feel.

In the evening around 2,500 Swallows roosted in the reeds.

30th September 2007, Sunday

Pannel Valley NR

Chiffchaff and Blackcap migration was in full swing this weekend,with three figure counts for both species noted. Stonechats (below) have become very obvious, and Meadow Pipits, Lesser Redpolls and Siskins are all being seen on visible migration. Reed Buntings are increasing as birds disperse from their breeding territories along the ditches on the Levels, and Bearded Tits can be seen and heard as they make tentative forays above the marsh, tempted by the urge to disperse to other reedbeds. Up to three Marsh Harriers have been roosting in the Valley during the week.

29th September 2007, Saturday

Brede Valley

A walk along the Cadborough Cliffs footpath turned up a Ring Ouzel this morning, and a Lapland Bunting was with one of the Skylark flocks near Winchelsea.

Visible migration included small numbers of Lesser Redpolls and Siskins, and Goldcrests were very obvious in the scrub alongside the footpath.

25th September 2007, Tuesday

Pannel Valley NR

A Common Crane was seen twice in flight during the morning, calling often as it was mobbed by two crows high over the Valley. The long-staying Osprey was also still present.

23rd September 2007, Sunday

Pannel Valley NR

Migration was in full swing this weekend with a window in the wind; hirundines put on a wonderful show, with Sand Martins, House Martins and Swallows all moving through the Valley, with a roost of over 10,000 birds on Saturday evening.

Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps were both into three figure counts early morning, and an obvious push of late Sedge Warblers and Reed Warblers added to the movement, with small numbers of Grasshopper Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler and Willow Warbler for company.

At the edge of the reedbed good counts of Meadow Pipit and Reed Bunting had arrived, and Stonechats have now replaced Whinchats atop the bushes. A handful of Yellow Wagtails and Grey Wagtails called as they moved overhead, with the lovely autumnal sound of Goldcrests quietly see-see-seeing in the hedgerows. A few Siskins and a Redpoll also gave themselves away as they passed over.

The Osprey showed well on both days, with Buzzard, Marsh Harrier and Hobby also noted, and four Ravens were seen together over Carter’s Valley.

For the third autumn in a row, the moth trap has produced the rare immigrant Clifden Nonpareil (the old Victorian name of ‘Blue Underwing’ is much more descriptive!), and the strangest site of the week was a wild Fallow deer settling in with the bullock herd, so much at home it was often seen sneaking up and butting the bemused bulls..

7th September 2007, Friday

Photospot: Marsh Mallow(s)


Marsh Mallow moth on Marsh Mallow at Pannel Valley today

5th September 2007, Wednesday

Pannel Valley NR

The last couple of days have seen a marked improvement in numbers of migrants around the Valley, with Blackcaps everywhere, and yesterday an early Firecrest showed up. The Osprey is still hunting the Valley this morning.

3rd September 2007, Monday

Brede Valley

An afternoon walk around the Gateborough / Eastborough area proved a little quieter than of late, with just a scattering of sylvia warblers in the hedgerows and a small number of hirundines overhead, but it was apparent that Yellow Wagtails were making use of the stubble fields close to Rye; farmhands working on new gates on the footpath commented on there being a ‘sizeable flock’ there when they had arrived, and certainly birds could be heard calling all the time.

Sadly for wildlife watching a small platoon of ‘infant infantry’ had spilled off the footpaths and into the fields below Cadborough. The children’s manoeuvres were monitored, unobserved, by a wary local fox.

It was pleasing to find Marsh Mallow growing at a couple of sites along the walk. Resembling a pale coloured small flowered hollyhock, the plant is now very local, favouring drainage ditches around Rye and Walland Marsh. The root used to be soaked until it became jelly-like; the original marshmallow sweet, and it was also a good local remedy for stomach and kidney upsets, and even sunstroke.

Nowadays it is vitally important for a nationally rare moth, aptly called the Marsh Mallow Moth, which has its U.K. stronghold in our RX area and should be on the wing just now – a good excuse for an early evening walk in the near future…

3rd September 2007, Monday

Pannel Valley NR

A quiet day for nocturnal migrant passerines in the valley – strangely it always seems we record our biggest numbers after clear nights – presumably the cloud cover to the north deters birds from moving this far overland, unlike Dungeness or the north Kent coast where cloud cover can confuse migrants and lead to ‘falls’.

During the morning the Osprey was back (or was it another??), while two Marsh Harriers quartered the reedbeds, and, in the absence of any hirundines for breakfast, the local Sparrowhawk and Hobby decided to chase each other around the site instead.

Wader numbers on the Scrape and Flood continue to increase, and seven Little Egrets were roosting by the Flood. Duck numbers are a little lower than of late, perhaps due to a small amount of disturbance on the Levels over the weekend at the start of the shooting season, but the eclipse Garganey is still around.

Two ‘Greenland-type’ Wheatears were apparent today, big, bold and brash, and several Yellow Wagtails and Tree Pipits passed down the valley.