Archive for the 'Hastings' Category

27th December 2010, Monday

More on House Sparrows

Of all my tetrads covered for the Bird Atlas, the most sparrow-rich has been TQ81Q at Fairlight Cove, which resembles Pat’s area at Camber in that it is a seaside bungalow development though on a cliff-top rather than sand. The gardens there are pretty manicured but many householders put out feeders and there is access to rough grass on the cliff-edge. On my early winter visit I found 76 birds, which had the website sending a flashing red warning that the count was unusually high.

Another good flock is to be found around the entrance to Toot Rock, Pett Level where they exploit a chicken run and up to 60 birds are present in late summer. Around our house at Chick Hill I see breeding adults foraging, as Brian notes, for insects in pasture well-manured by cattle. I share his views on their conservatism in visiting new feeding sites even at a very short distance from an existing one.

House Sparrows are not that easy to count; not only do they squabble inside dense shrubs as Pat notes, but also chirrup invisibly from eaves and gutters. Around Alexandra Park, Hastings, you can hear them calling from nearby streets but they don’t seem to cross to the park itself. In the Weald they are often either absent from human habitation or hanging on in isolated pairs and seem most to favour untidy farms with livestock. In N Spain, though, I’ve noticed they occupy any building, even vacant second homes way out in the woods, with not a chicken in sight.

27th December 2010, Monday

Camber sparrows

Following Brian’s posting, I’ve seen more House Sparrows in Camber than anywhere else around here. I first noticed how common they were while atlassing two winters ago, but on 7 Dec. this year I did my first “timed tetrad visit” (TTV) there and clocked up 95 in the two hours. That’s only the ones I counted (or guesstimated, in the case of several dense noisy groups in roadside bushes). In no way was that a full census of the village – the numbers there must run into the hundreds. They’re also resident at Moneypenny and even much further out on the levels at remote spots like Barn Farm. No wonder Tree Sparrows have had such a hard time competing. In contrast, I found just 10 sparrows in a more recent TTV around Ore and Clive Vale in urban Hastings.

13th July 2010, Tuesday

Bumblebee Walk at Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve, Saturday 10th

Nikki Gammans from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust ran a very successful bumblebee walk at Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve on Saturday, organised by the Friends of Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve. It was well attended and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the event and went away with new skills in bumblebee identification and learnt a lot about the bumblebee management at the nature reserve. Nikki highly praised the work we have already carried out at the nature reserve in creating large areas of bumblebee habitat.

Bumblebee Walk at Hastings Country Park NR

More information on Wild Hastings.

11th May 2010, Tuesday

Friends of Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve Website

Interested in being a Friend of Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve? Check out their website for details on joining.

The Friends of Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve was formed in April 2007 by members of the Volunteer Rangers, as a means of involving the wider community in the management and enjoyment of the Reserve.

Our aim is to protect, promote and enhance the natural environment of the Reserve, and to encourage others to join us in this work, so that the value of the Reserve and its wildlife is protected for future generations.

To fulfill this objective, we will continue to support the conservation work set out in the management plan, assist in monitoring wildlife, and raise funds for projects within the Reserve that might not otherwise be possible.

To help visitors enjoy the Reserve to the full, we organise a programme of events throughout the year, and aim to enhance and assist with running the Visitor Centre.

30th March 2010, Tuesday

Hastings Gull

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 »

19th March 2010, Friday

Hastings Records (18th March Update)

Records from the Hastings Weald Spring Migration Network throughout the day yesterday recorded good numbers of wildfowl moving east and some grounded migrants along the coast.

Seawatching from West St Leonards and Hastings Harbour produced c.1500 Brent Geese, 50 common scoter, 5 garganey, 17 teal, 13 shoveler, 5 wigeon, 2 pintail, 8 eider, 2 red-breasted merganser, 7 gadwall, and a shelduck. As well as wildfowl a little gull, a marsh harrier, a merlin and a red-necked grebe were recorded moving east, also small numbers of black-headed gull.

Grounded migrants recorded included a firecrest at West Hill and 3 wheatear at Glyne Gap. Three purple sandpiper were also at Glyne Gap.

18th March 2010, Thursday

Brent Geese – Hastings

There was a decent movement of brent geese early morning past Hastings & St. Leonards with 750 moving east between 6am and 8.30am. Also a marsh harrier, 2 red-breasted merganser, 2 wigeon and 2 teal were seen flying east.

31st December 2009, Thursday

New Year’s Eve at Hastings Harbour

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.

13th December 2009, Sunday

Hastings Winter Gardens

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 »

21st November 2009, Saturday

Responsible Fishing

RX60For anybody living near Hastings, the yellow wooden hulled RX60 Alfie Elliot is a familiar sight. Click here for an insight into responsible fishing.