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Foggy Walk !

Despite thick fog, three of Slow but Sure set off on a favourite walk yesterday, taking in the Rother, Camber Sands and East Guldeford Levels, 12.7 kms.

Difficult to see much at first, though we managed a pair of Med Gulls and a Stonechat at Northpoint GP. On Camber beach-pretty quiet for half term-we heard Bar-tailed Godwit, Ringed and Golden Plovers. The fog lifted when we got to the Levels, revealing them to be largely devoid of birds-it's hard work at the moment !. However the favoured stubble field held 120 Corn Buntings and 20 Tree Sparrows, a Peregrine flew over and 20 passage Meadow Pipits and a Cetti's Warbler  were nearby. [Back on the clifftop were 12 Meadow Pipits in the rabbit field.]


Turnstone Count

Yesterday I carried out one of my occasional Turnstone counts along the seafront from Rock-a-Nore to Bexhill [DLWP]. I counted just 78, of which 11 were at RAN and 18 just E of DLWP, a similar total to the 71 counted in mid November-not many.

I didn't see anything else apart from one Oystercatcher ....


rye harbour

A very good day for waders today on the monthly Wetland Bird Survey count. Flat Beach was particularly good, with at least 700 golden plover (increasing to around 1000 later in the day), 250+ dunlin, 170 lapwing, 40 ringed plover, 30 knot, 24 grey plover and an avocet! Elsewhere, at least six ruff were on Ternery Pool (in amongst another 700+ lapwing), one of the two long-staying black-necked grebe was present on Long Pit and a couple of gannet were seen offshore. In addition, the three twite were present on Flat Beach at about 10am.


From the Clifftop to Hastings

Yesterday, I walked through Hastings Country Park NR to The Stade, noting 5 Yellowhammers, 3 Siskins, 30 Linnets, a singing Greenfinch and a singing Firecrest [usual part of Barley lane by the camping field]

Down at the harbour were 7 Turnstones, and a few Gannets, auks and Divers passing. I was surprised to see a number of Herring Gulls dropping Whelk shells on the beach or hard surfaces; dropping of Mussels or Cockles is common, but this was new to me. As far as I could see these were all empty shells discarded by fishermen, you can see this in the photo. According to Tinbergen ["The Herring Gulls World"] these birds are stimulated to drop any hard apparent prey items they find on suitable surfaces, they did this repeatedly , but got nothing out of it .

The bird in the background has rings, probably indicating a stay at Mallydams.


From the Clifftop

The recent improvement in the weather [though still too cold at night for the moth trap] has coincided with a reduction in seabird activity, with far fewer auks, divers and gannets passing . Prior to this, 334 auks past in one hour on Feb 12 was the highest count this winter .Yesterday in the late afternoon 25 Black-headed Gulls moved east, perhaps going to Rye Harbour, as did 6 Kittiwakes.

After being absent since October, Greenfinches have started to turn up here again.