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Pett Pools

Standing on the sea wall in the drizzle yesterday lunchtime was not very pleasant. It was however the day of the Webs count. Despite the regular shooting at the pools there were quite a few duck present although Wigeon numbers were well down on previous years.

The flooded grassland had quite a few feeding waders including 272 Dunlin and 25 Grey Plover. There were many geese present including nearly 200 Greylag and 13 White-fronted.

Despite the poor visibility there were many birds on the sea. I counted 425 Great Crested Grebe, 94 Common Scoter and a Guillemot sat on the sea. In the background there were 40+ Red-throated Diver either sitting on the sea or flying west. 


Snow On the Clifftop

There was a light snowfall on Thursday night, followed by clear skies and low temperatures, creating a slippery dawn yesterday. With memories of proper snow  and movements of thrushes and Redwings [in 2010], I set off along the Firehills to see if there was any hard weather movement. 

There wasn't, so I reverted to seawatching  through the window-much more comfortable. All the usual suspects were on display, 40 Red-throated Divers, 15 Kittiwakes past and perhaps 50 auks including a number of smart Razorbills. A probable Red-necked Grebe disappeared while I was opening the window hoping to improve the image-frustrating.

This morning the snow was still there, but began to disappear, a Waxwing was seen briefly in Fairlight, I probably drove past it on my way to East Guldeford Levels for a fairly uneventful walk..


Sussex Bird Race

Five members of Slow but Sure gathered at Fairlight Village Hall at dawn yesterday, for yet another bird race walk to Rye Harbour [an attempt to do something different around East Guldeford/Camber last week was abandoned due to bad weather, thogh 70 species by midday was pleasing]

Highlights were: Firecrest at Marsham Farm, the 5 Taiga Bean Geese still at Pett Level, Snow Bunting on Pett seawall, and the regular Black-necked Grebe on Ternery pool, though an equally good case could be made for the swirling flocks of Dunlin, Knot and Grey Plover on Pett beach, the 9 Bearded Tits that fed on reed tops in the foreground as we 'scoped the Geese, and the wildfowl spectacle at Flat Beach. Our species total was 97 in 9 hours and 11 miles,  impressive for a winter walk . As usual we missed a number of species [including four in Sam's post below !],  despite determined searching we couldn't find a Lesser BB Gull, and no amount of peering into the gloom from the bittern viewpoint produced the once relable Barn Owl.

Clearly there were over 100 species on offer, once again showing what a good area for birds we live in




Beach Reserve

Highlights this morning included, 1250+ Wigeon, 14 Pintail, 62 Shoveler, 4 Goldeneye, 44 Brent Geese, Black-necked Grebe, 31 Knot and a Kingfisher. Yesterday at Castle Water, Bittern, 4 Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, 65 Teal, 7 Bearded Tit, several calling Water Rail and 18 Fieldfare.



From the Clifftop

Saturday evening being  noticeably milder, I put my moth trap out and was rewarded with my first moths of 2017 yesterday morning- 2 Mottled Umbers, and two rather brown tortrices: Acleris umbrana and Acleris cristana [pictured], the latter comes in a great number of described forms, and was new to me.

I then walked from Rock-a-Nore to Bexhill in order to count Turstones, which I've been doing for a number of years; just 79 0n this occasion. These were in some interesting locations: 18 feeding on top of the big outfall pipe on Hastings Beach, of which 3 flew onto the roof of a block of flats over the road and began feeding amongst rooftop moss, and 8 on the gloomy metalwork under the pier.

In the afternoon, back at the clifftop, 24 Kittiwakes and 5 Razorbills were on the limpid sea.