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The Clifftop to Rye Harbour

There was no sign of any seabird passage from the Clifftop yesterday morning after several interesting days, but three of us set off on the familiar walk from Cliff End to Rye Harbour. At Cliff End we had close views of an adult Peregrine , while on the mud a pair of adult GBB Gulls dealt  with a dead Porpoise, making sure a younger bird didn't get any. Pett Level was decidedly chilly, and almost devoid of birds, but the sun shone through when we reached the reserve and warmed us up a bit. No sign of any hirundines, but a singing Sedge Warbler and a female Black Redstart in the Harbour Farm area, and our first Common Tern with hundreds of Black-headed Gulls on the Long Pit. The Ternery Pool held impressive numbers of Meds. and Sandwich Terns, 3 Bar-tailed Godwits were on the new saltmarsh.

This morning, during a freezing southerly wind [!] there was a decent seabird passage-quitening down by 0745, of 380 Common Scoters, 70 Sandwich Terns, 23 Kittiwakes and 31 Gannets, with lone Great Skua and Merganser. 2 moths in the trap; my year  list is now a miserable 10 species.


Rye Harbour

It's really starting to feel like spring on the reserve (despite the at times icy wind). Some good numbers of our (soon to be breeding) seabirds around at the moment, with 171 Mediterranean gull, 200+ Sandwich tern and perhaps 1200 black-headed gull in the last couple of days, while around 70-80 avocet are spread across Harbour Farm and the Beach Reserve and the odd male wheatear keeps popping up around the river mouth. Not really great for migrants at the moment, though a black redstart was reported near the Mary Stanford lifeboat house yesterday and I also thought I heard a spotted redshank on the new saltmarsh today, but as I didn't see it and only heard it call once I'm not going to stick my neck! On Harbour Farm the male red-breasted merganser is still present on the big pit to the south-east of the caravan park along with small group of golden plover and at least one bar-tailed godwit.

There have been little in the way of invertebrates to report so far this year, so it was nice to find a single individual of the rather natty leaf-beetle Chrysolina banksii under a log on a kids event yesterday (see here for a report from last year).



From the Clifftop

Quite a busy start to the day off Fairlight Cliffs, with a nice easterly passage of Common Scoters-555 , mostly by 0830, 96 Brent Geese, a Red-breasted Merganser with a Scoter flock, 3 Shelduck, 2 Shoveler and 4 Teal, a Great Skua and an adult Little Gull, this being a new bird for the house. At least 30 were seen passing Birling Gap this morning, as usual I suspect they were too far out for me to see.

With the usual Gannets, Red-throated Divers, auks and Sandwich Terns, this was the best day so far this spring.


East Guldeford Levels

I've been away in Dorset for a week-the quietest West Country week for birds I've ever experienced, far too cold. Nice though !

Back here, zero spring passage past the Clifftop first thing this morning [though 87 Sandwich Terns went west on a fishing expedition], so I made my way through the potholes to East Guldeford Levels. Of late I have accessed the Levels from Camber , and this time had a real surprise-a Hawfinch in the garden of the last house before the open levels. This was one of the better views of Hawfinch I have had during this extraordinary winter irruption, as far as I know there have been few sightings from Walland Marsh/Dungeness.

There were no Lapwings or Golden Plovers at all, but at least 35 Mediterranean Gulls-including one 1Yr, 5 Buzzards together, 15 Corn Buntings, 4 Tree Sparrows , 4 Egyptian Geese and a couple of Brown Hares


Monthly beach clean

We will be meeting tomorrow (10am Rye Harbour car park) for our monthly litter pick along the beach - weather forecast a bit grim so please bring waterproofs and I'll bring warm drinks