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Pett Pools

It has been a great year here for duck broods. Both Tufted Duck and Pochard have done well with additional broods of Shelduck, Mallard and Gadwall. Both Great Crested and Little Grebes have also bred.

The Bearded Tit were again very vocal and can be seen relatively easily in the reeds at the roadside pool. Pete Rouse had recording Swallow and Sand Martin moving through the area in small numbers.

As the water at the pools recedes there is feeding opportunities for migrant waders. This morning there were single Ruff and Common Sandpiper plus Whimbrel and Curlew.


Brown Argus, Essex Skippers

Thanks, Alan. We dinosaurs plod on while others whip out their smartphones!  Here's a photo of a Brown Argus yesterday on the flood bank right by the RH visitor centre, showing the diagnostic two spots at right angles to the leading edge of the under-hindwing. There were at least 6 Brown Argus, all looking very fresh with rich dark brown upperwings all edged with orange spots, no doubt second-brood in this hot weather. I was really looking for Essex Skippers and identified two fresh females from their black antennae tips, though lacking the male's scent mark. I also found three very faded Small Skippers which probably emerged some time ago compared with the later Essex.


Broomhill Level and Scotney


Facebook ?  Whatsapp?  I don't think so ! [see below]

Yesterday, after dealing with yet another hefty moth catch on the Clifftop, I joined three more of Slow but Sure for a 6.3 mile circular walk from Jury's Gap across Broomhill level, past the various Scotney gravel pits, old and new.

We were looking in particular for breeding evidence of Yellow Wagtails and Corn Buntings; a bit late for the former but about 15 birds around including 3 fledged juvs just inside Kent. Using my rudimentary GPS skills [new toy, thanks to Tim Waters for the tutorial] I plotted six territories of Corn Buntings along the route.This is a good number of Corn Buntings, similar to last year, but unexpected were two Kingfishers flushed from Jury's Gut Sewer.  The first pit encoutered [picture] was still under excavation and kept low. Here were waders-two Green and one Common Sandpipers, and a pair of Little Ringed Plovers. It soon became apparent that there were loads of butterflies about-Red Admirals and Peacocks were abundant, more than we had seen all year.

Other birds seen were about 20 Swallows and a couple of Sand Martins, a male Marsh Harrier , a Sparrowhawk and another Common Sandpiper on the main pit. [No Swifts, but during a rare evening foray to the Old Town for a friend's birthday party, they were very vocal overhead, clearly audible above the loud conversation.]



Small Red-eyed Damselflies

Not sure how much this site is read now what with Facebook, What's App, etc., but it still seems a good place to mention that yesterday I found a male and 3 mating pairs of Small Red-eyed Damselflies (Erythromma viridulum) on the "Serpentine" drainage channel by the Rother just north of the railway bridge. They used to be on the Military Canal behind Pett Level but not this year as the water is clear with none of their required algae, though you will see Red-eyed Damselflies (E. najas) there on their usual lilypads.


From the Clifftop

My Fairlight garden moth trap continues to pull in loads of moths during the hot weather [though the day described below remains a record] Although cooler yesterday, the night was overcast and the trap contained a remarkable 20 Elephant Hawk Moths this morning ,as well as the daily Privet and a couple of Poplars. As a result of the last week's weather, my year list is now 250.

A few Siskins continue to pass over, both Raven and Peregrine were around yesterday-I was alerted to the latter by the alarm calls of the up to 25 Sparrows using our front garden pond.

Of interest at Rock-a-Nore yesterday were an exceptional 29 Cormorants on the harbour arm, and four Cuckoo Wrasse for sale in one of the black huts. I bought one, not cooked it yet.