A new book celebrating a very special part of the RX area, Brede High Woods, has been written by Patrick Roper and can now be purchased online:
No, not an emergency, but some interesting RX sightings on the Sussex Ornithological Society website...
|Pett Level Geese more...
|Also time is running out for the bargain of The Birds of Sussex - place your order now while you can still buy it at up to 43% off
Pre-publication offer ends in 22 days!
Not many people at RSPB Dungeness this morning, so we had most hides to ourselves on the guided walk. From the picnic spot by Dennis's Hide we had close views of a Great White Egret stalking through the reeds while beyond it, alongside Gadwall, Tufted Duck & Pochard, 5 redhead Smew were out in the open though best appreciated through a telescope, and a tweet from the willows alerted us to the first of 3 Chiffchaffs we saw during the morning.
There are still hundreds of Gadwall & Shoveler right in front of Firth Hide, the latter swimming in busy circles like whirligig beetles. And a(nother?) HW prowling along the edge. Just before we entered the hide, I'd heard wader call I just couldn't place, one I know weel enough but had been suspended from my list of expectations for this place & season. The puzzle was solved when I caught sight of 3 Avocets gliding in over the lake.
We had still to get decent views of Wigeon & Teal, but from Makepeace Hide had to get by with point-blank views of a Goldeneye before making an unscheduled stop at Scott Hide from where we could also see about 10 Pintail and an up-close GC Grebe before someone picked out a Black-necked Grebe as well. Water Rails were squealing either side of us.
On the whole, the ducks were disappointingly quiet, unlike the mob of Greylags which squawked back and forth overhead. From Dengemarsh Hide, we could revise Ducks So Far, add Little Grebes, a listless Marsh Harrier and a leisurely Bittern which flapped slowly enough for long enough for everyone to have great views. Although we hoped to see it or another from the viewpoint, all that awaited us was a distant view of the same inert harrier, more rail-squealing and a spluttering serenade from a Cetti's Warbler.
We'd had really good views of just about everything, and seen almost all the ducks presently on the menu - apart from a distant Goosander pointed out to me from the VC just as the group had left!
If in doubt, walk to Rye harbour, so that's what I did this morning, unaware of the damage shown below.
A bright sunny day highlighted the white blazes on the heads of 3 distant White Fronted Geese on Pett levels , the first I've seen this winter, but no sign of the Black Necked Grebe,which I last saw 2 days ago on the middle pool. A pair of shiny Ravens headed west along the beach.
The pools at the wet end of the reserve held a variety of wildfowl including a drake Pintail, 3 Goldeneyes were on Harbour Farm pools, and another was on the Ternery Pool with the long-staying Long Tailed Duck. A Merlin flew across the shore ridges. 4 Sanderlings were chased off the beach by the rising tide.
I had to divert inland after that as the coast road was closed, and carried on to the bittern viewpoint, here there was another good selection, with Marsh Harrier, a few Bearded Tits, a Great White Egret and at least 1 Firecrest .
A pretty good list in just 3.5 hours...
Last night's high tide reached 5.1m.AOD and has washed away a large section of the road between Lime Kiln Cottage and the Gooders hide. The information centre has also been flooded. Nobody has been hurt and there are other areas of the nature reserve that can be enjoyed...