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Out and About

Not much to report from the Clifftop these last two days- though finally caught a Hebrew Character yesterday !

After the early heavy rain stopped, yesterday was increasingly warm, our weekly visit to Dungeness was the best this year, with 6 Firecrests, 2 Black Redstarts, both Slavonian and Black Necked Grebe, two Long-tailed Ducks, at least one juv. Glaucous Gull -a "new" one, and 3 lingering Smew.

Today looked promising too, so I did the usual Cliff End-Winchelsea Beach walk. Usually the reserve is better than the Pett Level part, but not so today, with this Spoonbill-an adult with a very bright bill tip, but no leg tags [see below] on the Eastern Pool, and a close view of a Merlin.  Surprisingly, I didn't get any Med Gulls on the Level, though there were 10 very confiding Brents next to the road.

Plenty of Meds at the reserve, likewise Sandwich Terns and Avocets, but despite covering several miles of prime south coast habitats, I didn't see any Wheatears or indeed any migrants other than the Terns and the Spoonbill.


From the Clifftop

Another nice day yesterday !

There was some early morning wildfowl passage yesterday, all over by 0730: 36 Brents, 48 Common Scoters and a flock of 20 Shoveler flew east

Raining now...


From the Clifftop

"Sieze the Day" certainly applies this year, the weather being usually bad, but yesterday was OK and I spent most of it on the Clifftop.

Seawatching -over four  hours in morning and evening -revealed a steady movement of smaller gulls E at clifftop height, only 10 Mediterranean Gulls today, but 144 Black-headed and 260 Common Gulls counted, so several hundred of each during the day. Also 6 Sandwich Terns E, a Red-breasted Marganser [scarce here] and 142 Brents E; a Carrion Crow coming in low over the sea from far out is something I don't often see.

The usual suspects totalled 62 Red throated Divers, 14 Gannets , 9 Kittiwakes and just 5 auks.

I walked down to Hastings mid-morning, hoping to see a Wheatear, but the only evidence of migration was a couple of Siskins overhead, and a Redwing in the field by the Country Park entrance [wellies needed !]

The moth trap this morning contained just 2 Common Quakers-my year list remains just 8 , terrible for mid-March.


Rye Harbour

Highlights this morning included a wheatear at the rivermouth, over 50 avocet (mainly on the new saltmarsh), 18 Sandwich tern, 24 Brent goose split between the new saltmarsh and Flat Beach Level, and around 360 golden plover on Harbour Farm. Numbers of black-headed gull are creeping up as we move into the breeding season, with perhaps 400 spread over the Beach Reserve and Harbour Farm, while there were also small number of Mediterranean gull and a rather nice common gull on the Quarry.


History of a Spoonbill

On 7th March a Spoonbill dropped into the Wader Pool at Rye Harbour and departed before I could get my camera on it, but a visiting photographer, Mike Felstead, took this photo showing its colour rings. They looked familiar from a Facebook posting by Lee Evans I had read on 6th March:

"An interesting life history of a EURASIAN SPOONBILL. Ringed in the nest in The Netherlands on 12 May 2014

Click to read more ...