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« Rye Harbour | Main | Local winter talks about wildlife »

The RX Birdrace

It was a dark and stormy night, and five members of Slow but Sure [Me, Dave Rowlands, Mike Mullis, Tim Waters and James Tomlinson]assembled on the Clifftop at 0615, expecting something of an endurance test for the annual RX Birdrace, as we do it all on foot. 

Migration has been slow of late, and there was little moving as we set off into the Country Park in windy conditions, but as the weather improved we started to encounter groups of Siskins and Goldfinches heading east, and  a lone Brambling. A Firecrest was near Warren cottage, and we saw several Yellowhammers on our way to Barley Lane fields to make sure of Pheasant.

After the traditional Clifftop breakfast , with small flocks of finches passing the window, we headed through Fairlight to Market Wood, which returned to form after some lean years, with Marsh Tit and Nuthatch nailed. By this time we were walking in pleasant weather, and Pett Level produced the hoped for Cattle Egrets [5], and a late Hobby, Winchelsea Beach 10 Common Scoters. A thorough search of Rye Harbour added Whinchat, Five Great White Egrets and a selection of waders. We were picked up [thanks Linda and Jill] at 5.50 after a thoroughly  enjoyable day's birding: 15.7 miles walked and 103 species seen-which turned out to be the winning score by a hefty margin ! A triumph for walking versus driving , [and for fortitude , medical science,  and the NHS over health problems which affected the team last year]

Finally, we considered the "Birds of Shame "-ones we didn't get:  Greenfinch which is becoming increasingly difficult to find, and Mistle Thrush, which we often miss.


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