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4:55PM

SCOTNEY GRAVEL PITS

A very wild night on the Clifftop, but a more settled morning, so I decided to do a circuit of the Scotney Gravel Pit complex, with diversions to Oakhill Fleet and Red House [5.9 mls alltold]

There were 20 Corn Buntings and 20 Tree Sparrows at the latter two sites, these would be additional to those counted at EGL yesterday [see below], and 5 more Tree Sparrows at Scotney Court Farm, but a lot of Corn Buntings remain unaccounted for. Odds and Ends included a Kingfisher near Scotney Court Farm, a Ruff,and a Rock Pipit, 2 Goldcrests were in the isolated willow copse on the county boundary.

However, a large flock of 145 Swans at Jurys Gap flew onto the westernmost Scotney Pit [not visible from the road] as I approached, these included two Black Swans , an occasional sight on Walland Marsh, and, revealed by their calls, 2 splendid adult Whooper Swans , a Sussex rarity; so 141 Mute Swans then . This explains the current lack of these at EGL.

5:02PM

East Guldeford Levels

Still nothing to report from the Clifftop-still too much wind and rain. But a good walk round EGL this morning [5.2 mls by the GPS], best birds being :

A Great White Egret, a Merlin, 10 Ravens together [an equal highest England count for me], 65 Tree Sparrows, 4 Corn Buntings, 100 Skylarks , 4 Goldcrests in the last garden in Camber [reflecting the recent fall of these along the coast].

 

 

6:34AM

Dungeness Day Out

Too much wind on the Clifftop for any moth trapping or visible migration, but a much better than usual Dungeness visit yesterday.

After a look around Scotney Court Farm for the Twites seen a few days ago-none, but 5 Tree Sparrows; and a visit to a  quiet ARC pit,  we headed over to the fishing boats clutching a loaf of finest sliced bread. Throwing this around attracted a few gulls [but failed to impress the fine adult Yellow Legged Gull we were trying to lure closer ], but then we noticed the Dungeness regulars doing the same thing further along the beach , attracting  lots of gulls. Joining them, and saving the bread for next time, we were soon treated to good views of this first-winter Caspian Gull, one of six recorded around Dungeness yesterday.

Later we had a quick look from Makepeace Hide to see a Spoonbill and 9 Great White Egrets, also 2 Cattle Egrets at Boulderwall, then returned to Scotney for a longer walk . Still no Twites, but a Corn Bunting, 800 [?] Golden Plovers, 49 Egyptian Geese, and a fine ringtail Hen Harrier.

 

8:07AM

Rye Harbour

Best of the birds at Rye Harbour are still up to three spoonbill which have been showing well on salt pool (though they are absent occasionally and have taken to roosting on the leeward side of the islands meaning that they are only visible from certain angles), while there have also been up to three great white egret (yesterday on Long Pit with at least six little egret) and water rail at Castle Water. Raptors have included marsh harrier and buzzard at Castle Water and peregrine and merlin over the Beach Reserve and Harbour Farm. Waders are a bit thin on the ground with small numbers of black-tailed godwit at Castle Water and bar-tailed godwit, grey plover, small numbers of golden plover and the odd snipe on Harbour Farm/Beach Reserve.

Despite the increasingly autumnal weather some invertebrates are still hangin' in there, with red admiral and common darter (below) still on the wing. The moth trap catch at Lime Kiln has been much reduced since the halcyon days of mid-October, with the only moths recently narrow-winged grey and diamond-back moth. However, on Tuesday morning I did have great silver water beetle (possibly my latest ever) and the tiny fly spotted-wing drosophila, which is a new species for the reserve list.

5:12PM

From the Clifftop

 At last !-a mild , cloudy night with no wind resulted in the first moths I've caught for over a week-13 species in the trap this morning, of which five were new for the year, and one , Acleris schalleriana,a tortrix,  new to me,. The others were Green-brindled Crescent [pictured], November Moth, Feathered Thorn and Spruce Carpet, taking the garden year list to 364 . But I'm writing this in the evening and there's a gale blowing, so no trapping tonight.

Not much to report on the bird front, some Siskins moving east, and 100 Goldfinches milling about the clifftop  but not really moving over the last two days; a pair of Peregrines yesterday and today seemed to be waiting for a Wood Pigeon movement, but none. This morning I walked through HCPNR to the Stade, very quiet indeed, just 8 Goldcrests.