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rye harbour moths

A mixed morning, with perhaps less species than I would have expected, but some good records, including starry pearl, crescent striped and sulphur pearl. Migrants included bordered straw, and the best of the bunch and possibly the best moth this year so far, a ni moth (see here). There have only ever been five records of this migrant moth at Rye Harbour with four of those in 1996 and the last one in 2002, so a good find and another species which I have not come across before.


Pett Beach

At last ! Something positive to say [though I must first mention today's miserable catch of just five moths]. For a change I went for a walk on Pett beach early this morning, in the hope of finding some interesting sea life. There were a few Hermit crabs , all in Necklace Shells, and the usual evidence that gulls don't just live on chips, dogs and children but a range of bivalves too.

However the morning provided my best birding for some time, amongst the Curlews, Oystercatchers and Egrets poking sround in the pools was a Whimbrel, another flew over, as did a distant Green Sandpiper, but much better was my first Wood Sandpiper this year, which flew West along the beach calling loudly. Even more surprising though was a female Red Breasted Merganser fishing in a shallow tidal pool on the beach. This is a very  unusual date for this sea-duck, which usually arrives in Sussex in late September.


North-west in the south-east

In 1982, as a callow youth, I was taken up Black Coombe, on the edge of the Lake District where we saw three bird species that gave the area a special feel that was missing in eastern England. I had seen plenty of buzzards elsewhere in the west, but that day I had my first encounter with peregrines and raven, a memorable day as they interacted.  Fast forward 33 years and I spotted the third species of this trio, the raven,  circling over our Northiam garden today.  Buzzards are now regular, and whilst we have had just a single pair of peregrines in the last couple of years,  they are readily seen in other parts of the county.  Sometimes, it seems, things are changing for the better....


Africa here we come

Normally at this time we are on our summer holidays, and we get back to find the skies suddenly devoid of swifts.  This year finds us in England, and this afternoon, for the first time, I have witnessed wave after wave of swifts passing low over our house, totalling 1000s of birds.



White Arse...

... is the Anglo Saxon derivation of Wheatear. The RX breeding population of Northern Wheatear is isolated from the more northern and western UK population and so vunerable to local extinction. The Rye Harbour to Dungeness population has declined from more than 30 pairs to around 10, so it's good to report they have had a good breeding season this year. Some are still feeding second broods and this one is at Rye Harbour in an artificial site of a clay pipe...