The party of Woodlark continues to be seen in the area and 11 were busily feeding in one of the cover crop fields on the north side of the valley yesterday. There have been few other sightings in the windy conditions, although a Marsh Harrier was fighting its way up valley against the wind this morning and a good count of 30 Snipe was made on tuesday.
At Carters Flood 300 Lapwing and four Redshank were present early this morning, whilst three Little Egret appeared to come out of roost from the alder wood.
Overhead a few birds were on the move including Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail and Skylark, whilst twoÂ Chiffchaff in flooded woodland seem set to overwinter.Â Winter visitors are still thin on the ground with just the odd Fieldfare and Redwing present and a group of 5 Siskin in the alders.
A colour ringed Spoonbill was the highlight yesterday which joined 6 Little Egret on Carters Flood until midday. Today 13 Little Egret were present representing a new record count for the site, whilst impressive numbers also came in the form of 5-10,000 Swallow coming into roost this evening! Migratory passerines can still be found in good numbers around the reserve with Chiffchaff being particularly numerous whilst late migrating species such as Stonechat and Goldcrest are just startingÂ to appear. More unusual migrants have included a Nightjar and a Redstart in recent days.
A thorough search of the scrub at the western end of Rye Harbour NR and around Winchelsea Beach was rewarded with a single Firecrest performing well in a small clump of bushes. Other migrants were in good numbers with the majority being seen in the line of scrub behind The Ridge, Winchelsea Beach, including 1 Turtle Dove, 9 Lesser Whitethroat, 18 Whitethroat, 15 Blackcap,Â 14 Chiffchaff and 11 Reed Warbler. Yellow Wagtail still abound on the beach reserve with 50 counted on a short stretch.
Clear skies overnight, coupled with cloud over the channel at dawn produced a large arrival of migrants in the valley this morning. Sedge and Reed Warbler were most numerous with estimates of 400+ and 300+ respectively. Over 50 Willow Warbler, 40 Whitethroat, and 20 Grasshopper WarblerÂ were also logged. More unusual sightings included 2 Spotted Flycatcher and a Wryneck was seen on private land just off the reserve.
ThisÂ evening, a Barn Owl was showing very well alongside the Pannel Sewer, whilst the scrape held a site rarity in the form of a Turnstone, as well as a Garganey, 4 Common Sandpipers, 5 Green Sandpipers and 2 Ruff.
After the rain and strong winds of the past few days, a clear night promisedÂ a good arrival of migrants and we were not to be disappointed although the variety was limited. Willow Warbler was the most obvious species in the sallows and hedgerows with at least 100 present and Sedge Warbler were particularly numerous in the reedbed. Otherwise a fly over Crossbill was noteworthy, as wereÂ 8 Greenshank in flight over the valley.Â
Wader numbers and diversity continue to increase and between Carters Flood and the Scrape there were 2 Wood Sandpiper, 12 Green Sandpiper, 5 Common Sandpiper, 2 Whimbrel, 1 Ruff, 3 Dunlin, 11 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 2 Ringed Plover and 6 Snipe yesterday.
Garganey are still showing well on the scrape whilstÂ passerine migration has been inhibited by the wet and windy weather, however,Â a single Nightingale was seen this morning.
The overcast conditions overnight produced the first notable arrival of migrants of the autumn, in which Grasshopper Warbler and Sedge Warbler were clearly the most numerous species, whilst a Nightingale was the main highlight. Other early migrants were thin on the ground with only small numbers of Garden Warbler and Willow Warbler present.
Other sightings included 8 Green Sandpiper, 2 Ruff and 3 Garganey on the scrape.
A few early migrants were in evidence in the valley this morning in the form ofÂ five Grasshopper Warblers,Â twoÂ Yellow WagtailsÂ and 20 Sand Martins overhead whilst aÂ group of seven Little Egrets constituted a good site count.
Dragonfly and Butterfly surveys this afternoon revealed many species on the wing, including a Four-spotted Chaser and Small Red-eyed Damselfly appear to have colonised almost all the suitable areas of open water on the reserve. Large numbers ofÂ Painted LadyÂ on theÂ thistle patches were the most eye catching Butterfly.
In the howling westerly wind yesterday, an hour huddled behind one of the new sea defences at Pett Level proved worthwhile with the passing of a single Storm Petrel. Otherwise only Fulmar and Kittiwake were on the move.