Archive for the 'Birds' Category

6th June 2012, Wednesday

Colour ringed oystercatcher

This bird was first ringed on 23 Nov 1994 at Totton, Southampton Water, Hampshire then re-trapped and re-ringed on 30 December 2000 at Marchwood, Southampton Water and colour-ringed. It has been seen at Rye Harbour breeding in May 2010, July 2011 and June 2012. So this bird is close to 20 years old (or older) let’s hope it keeps coming for some years to come. Its territory is right next to the new saltmarsh creek at Lime Kiln Cottage, so it’s easy to see.

5th June 2012, Tuesday

Ternery Pool…

roseate tern
… lived up to its reputation this morning and delivered two excellent birds. An adult roseate tern and an immature little gull. As is often the case the tern was wearing a ring on each leg and is best located in amongst thousands of other terns and gulls by hearing its harsh call.
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3rd June 2012, Sunday

Ready Meals

Lesser black-backed gull being mobbed by black-headed gulls and common terns.
If 4,800 black-headed gull chicks (= 3 chicks x 1600 nests) were raised every year we would soon be knee deep in black-headed gulls. The excess of these cute little chicks provide convenient mouthfuls for those species able to get past the combined protection of their parents, relatives and other nesting species such as common terns. We are pretty successful at keeping fox and badger off the islands (wiping out whole islands), but lesser black-backed, herring and Mediterranean gulls (in order of numbers taken) are taking those small chicks that do not hide quick enough. The lesser black backed gulls can take quite large chicks and swallow them whole, in flight, whereas the Meditteranean gulls can only take small chicks and have difficulty in swallowing them!
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2nd June 2012, Saturday

RSPB Dungeness sightings

In addition to our bittern that has been booming from Hooker’s pits since March (who we believe has mated with at least one female) we have had several reports of a bird at the ARC site over the past few days. Is this the bird from Hooker’s pits going for a wander or is it another bird looking for a mate? Please let us know if you see any bittern activity on the ‘other side of the road’.

Visitors have been lucky enough to get some good sightings of garganey this week, with up to three seen from the gate on the bridle track at Denge Marsh. With hobbies and marsh harriers flying overhead and up to 40 common terns in the area Denge Marsh is definitely the place to be at the moment.

1st June 2012, Friday

Not quite gone from the Marsh

Yesterday and today I’ve been recce’ing routes around East Guldeford Level, walking tracks along old embankments, across sheep fields and around arable land. As evidence of their great decline, in over 10 miles I found just 2 pairs and 6 other male Yellow Wagtails, 4 Corn Buntings (two pairs?) and a single pair of Tree Sparrows. Even Skylarks were few and far between, and only Reed Warblers and Reed Buntings seem to be holding their numbers. Other wildlife of note included close encounters with a Fox and a Hare, 2 Painted Ladies, 2 Red Admirals and a pair of Mute Swans with 7 cygnets.

1st June 2012, Friday

Flight feathers

The Black-headed Gull youngster has been busy flexing its wing muscles today and showing nicely the developing flight feathers. The precise pattern of the primaries, secondaries, tertials, greater primary coverts and greater secondary coverts can all be seen in the pictures below. The young bird is becoming more adventurous and is already showing the inherent squabbling that it so characteristic of Black-headed Gulls within the breeding colony. See pictures below.


Exercising the wing muscles Read the rest of this entry »

1st June 2012, Friday

Ex slow-worm

This carrion crow was seen eating this writhing slow-worm, usually a favourite for kestrels!

31st May 2012, Thursday

Update on the chick

The Black-headed Gull chick is now three weeks old, doing well, and of course always ready to hassle the adults for a meal.  The youngster is gradually losing the fluffy look as the main flight feathers are coming through, this time next week all being well it should be ready for lift off. Look at the second picture below to see the chick with its two siblings on the 11th of this month.


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29th May 2012, Tuesday

Rye Harbour

Obviously highlights will reflect the fact that we are now mid way through the breeding season. Lapwing, Redshank, Avocet, Ringed Plover and Little Ringed Plover have all got young at various stages of growth on Harbour Farm and the Beach Reserve. Sadly many pairs of Avocet have failed due to predation, but failed pairs are still trying to nest on the islands on Harbour Farm. At least 24 Little Tern  have been present around shore ridges, the fine weather recently has certainly helped them get their act together and nesting pairs should become clearer over the next few days. Otherwise stand out highlights have been 9 Turnstone along shore ridges and 10 Little Egret feeding on flat beach. At Castle Water Hobby, Marsh Harrier, Bearded Tit and Barn Owl have been frequent from the viewpoint.


Avocets this morning on Harbour Farm. Read the rest of this entry »

29th May 2012, Tuesday

Islands full of chicks

You can view this at full screen by clicking on the icon bottom right.
Now is the time with peak numbers of chicks on the new islands of Ternery Pool. The Black-headed gulls are hatching on most islands, although some early chicks are large and some pairs are still nest building. This nest is the closest – on the small island at the left hand end of the Parkes hide. Sandwich tern and Mediterranean gulls will also have small chicks, but they are much harder to see. Common terns are now settling in amongst the Black-headed gulls, benefitting from protection from crows and larger gulls. We have lost an island full of gull nests to fox or badger, so there is a constant threat to the chicks survival.