Archive for the 'Brede Valley' Category

28th May 2009, Thursday

Brede High Wood walk

On 23 May there was a 3-hour guided walk through Brede High Wood with a good turn out as the picture shows.  The group started from the main car park and headed east through Coneyburrow and Pond Woods.  One of the aims of the day was to see some spring butterfly species and we recorded several but, sadly, the grizzled skipper no longer seems to be present in the woods. We also found a black-headed cardinal beetle, the rarer of our two British species, and disturbed a badger having a sleep outside its set at 11 in the morning – quite unusual.  We heard numerous willow warblers but, although we listened out, no nightingales which are said to be doing well in the woods this year.


Patrick Roper by e-mail

14th June 2008, Saturday

Cadborough Cliff, Rye

Common whitethroats are nesting all along the Cadborough cliff, and a number of newly fledged birds are on the wing.  Linnets and Chiffchaffs are also present in good numbers there. Walking into Gibbets marsh a Turtle dove was purring from the poplars where there is often a territory or two – but I have not seen the species further along the cliff today. Hobby falcons seen twice and adult Mediterranean gull overhead. A Cetti’s warbler nearby singing from near the Tillingham canal TQ915202 – a nesting species for Rye Town! The hoverfly Merodon equestris on the wing – a golden haired morph imitative of the carder bees. At Winchelsea a cleg fly (the horse fly Haematopota pluvialis, see here) – more widespread generally than the more local species photographed so well recently – thanks for that great picture Sam! Celery leaved buttercup in the ditch at Gibbets and Hedge woundwort now in flower at Winchelsea.
Andrew Grace by e-mail

11th June 2008, Wednesday

Road End

When I followed up a report of a possible Great White Egret yesterday at Road End Pond, Udimore (in the Brede Valley) I was unable to locate any large white long-necked birds other than a couple of Mute Swans. However, both Little Grebe and Water Rail were calling, a Tufted Duck was lurking, a Barn Owl was quartering the field and a Corn Bunting trilling a bit further west.
Then, as I was turning the car round, a big raptor came sailing over the hilltop – a Red Kite.

9th June 2008, Monday

River Brede damselflies

A surprising selection of damselflies can found along the River Brede, even along  some of the faster flowing sections if a sheltered area can be found. In a small area checked at the weekend near Castle Farm six species were found. A female Banded Demoiselle (pictured) was a nice find, but finding Variable and Red-eyed Damselfly was unexpected. Azure, Common Blue and Blue-tailed were also present. Common Darters are now on the wing, several tenerals were found in long grass along the river bank.


26th May 2008, Monday

Black Kite

I was coming out of Float Lane at Icklesham this afternoon at approximately 17.45, when I saw a large raptor which looked like a kite fly over head. I stopped the car and grabbed my binoculars, expecting to see a Red Kite, but spent the next 20 minutes having wonderfully close views of a Black Kite, at times being mobbed by the local crows.
John Martin from SOS website.

28th April 2008, Monday

Rother Woods first mothing evening


Six of us ran five MV moth traps at Park Wood, Brede, on Friday night (25th) to kick off moth recording as part of Butterfly Conservation’s new Rother Woods Project ( The habitat was mainly damp birch woodland with clearings. In ideal conditions – cloudy, mild and near calm – and serenaded by a distant Nightingale, we recorded about 60 moths of 32 species. Highlights included five species of Prominents (Pebble – Steve Wheatley’s photo above, Pale, Coxcomb, Scarce and no fewer than 5 Great Prominents), Early and Purple Thorns, Early Tooth-striped, Engrailed, 4 Lunar Marbled Browns, Water Carpet, Peacock, Sallow Kitten, Waved Umber, Knot Grass, Frosted Green, 2 Brown Silver-lines and 3 V-Pugs – a great start to the season. There will be a public moth meeting for National Moth Night at Great Dixter from 8.00 pm on Saturday 7th June and from 8.00-9.00 am on 8th in what should be an extremely productive habitat – don’t miss it !

20th April 2008, Sunday

Cattle Egret at Udimore


A Cattle Egret was feeding among the many sheep and lambs just SW of Watlands this morning. Later it flew across Dumb Woman’s Lane and was last seen among sheep on the slopes below Farthing Wood. It’s very wary (apologies for terrible photo) and prefers to fly rather than walk as it has a limp. The species seems to be following the Little Egret in colonising southern England from France, with many recent records including a flock of eight in the Ouse valley south of Lewes, one of which is still there.

20th March 2008, Thursday

Adult newts

The recent article by Brian Banks prompted me to find a photo from last spring showing a palmate Lisotriton helveticus (male) and a smooth newt L. vulgaris (female) in a bottle-trap. Female smooth and palmate newts can be difficult to separate in the field, but trapped individuals, allowing close inspection, can be separated by several features. This photo shows the unspotted throat of the palmate newt (below) and the spotted throat of the smooth and I find this the most useful and consistent way of identifying female palmate from smooth newt in the hand. Note that the throat of palmates often have a pinkish hue as in this picture.


Matthew Denny

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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.

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…