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Castle Water

A large increase in the number of Wigeon around the main pit this morning with at least 1100 birds, a redhead Smew and 9 Pintail were also of note. A flock of 70+ Fieldfares and a Chiffchaff provided some interest in the willows at the viewpoint.



This morning there were 5 Goldeneye on their favourite pool at Rye Harbour, including a fine adult male (above - 2 reported there later), the others were redheads (a mix of adult female and younger birds that have reddish brown heads). I say favourite pools because there are only 2 waterbodies that this winter duck frequents at Rye Harbour - the large Long Pit that is not part of the reserve and the smaller pool on the seaward side of the sea defence bank, just east of the Harbour Farm barns. There is something they like about this pool that the others do not offer, but I know not why. Also beware that other ducks have golden eyes, like these Tufted Duck...


Tree Sparrow Research in RX Land

Tree sparrows are scarce, especially in the South East of England where they are confined to just a few breeding populations. Despite a historical decline and apparent extirpation in the western section of RX Land, the area holds a significant breeding population. This is concentrated on Romney Marsh, although wintering and passage migrant birds can occur elsewhere, with wintering birds in the Brede Valley and passage records at Pett and Fairlight.

Richard Black, Conservation Projects Officer at the RSPB, has been monitoring two of the largest breeding colonies in the South East: at Romney Marsh and Pevensey Levels. A third population at Beddington Sewage Farm in Surrey, which is also monitored, has declined alarmingly in recent years emphasising the point that the species is still in trouble in the South East. It is important that we monitor and conserve these populations to prevent the loss of breeding tree sparrows in the South East. Richard is hoping to find out more about their conservation requirements at these sites. Where do they nest, in natural holes or nest boxes? Where do the adults and fledglings forage? What do they eat? How far do they disperse outside the breeding season? What is their productivity and survival?

Click to read more ...


Rye Harbour

A mixed bag weather wise this week which of course can make gleening a few avian highlights difficult, but there has been a few. Wader interest on the Beach Reserve has been dominated by large numbers of roosting Golden Plover on Flat Beach and Ternery Pool. Numbers have ranged between none and 2000+ depending on time of day. At least 1000 Lapwings and 800 Starlings have also been present around Flat Beach and when the whole lot take to the air it's a spectacular sight. The high water wader roost has not really got going yet this winter but 14 Grey Plover, 22 Sanderling and 40 Dunlin have made showing along Shore Ridges. During some fence maintenance earlier in the week I disturbed a Short-eared Owl, 65 Snipe and a Jack Snipe, these were amongst the shingle ridges in the more peaceful parts of the reseve. Also of note on the Beach Reserve this week 14 Grey Partridge, 3 Rock Pipit, 33 Brent Geese and a Merlin. Castle Water has also provided some good highlights with a Bittern (again in front of the hide), 6 Pintail, 350 Teal (with many males displaying near the hide), 150 Gadwall, and smaller gatherings of Wigeon and Shoveler. Also of note 3 Marsh Harriers, Water Rail, Cetti's Warbler, Bearded Tit, 18 Fieldfare, 9 Ruff and Barn Owl.



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