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A special thanks to Sussex Wildlife TrustFriends of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve and Flag Ecology for their contribution to the funding of the new RX-wildlife website.

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Rye Harbour

Interesting birds over the last few days have included great white egret on the Beach Reserve, Castle Water and Long Pit, Dartford Warbler on Harbour Farm ('Cuckoo corner', where the path north from Parkes and Denny hides diverge), merlin over the Beach Reserve (giving a crow a very, very hard time!), black-necked grebe on Ternery Pool and a covey of nine partridge near the Mary Stanford life boat House. Also regular sightings of marsh harrier at Castle Water and on Harbour Farm, five black-tailed godwit on Castle Pit, 500+ golden plover and several pintail on Flat Beach and around 20 snipe on the new saltmarsh opposite Lime Kiln Cottage


An Unwelcome Arrival

I have been identifying a few specimens for Simon Young who is looking at the invertebrates of Cliff End Wood near Fairlight and recently I came across this little lady, a spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii). The spot is only found in the male (it's on the end of the wing) and this one is a female with clear wings. This is another recent addition to the British list (it's originally from Asia), with the first record in 2012, but a somewhat unwelcome one as the larvae have the potential to be a serious pest of soft fruits.

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From the Clifftop

The highlight from the Clifftop over the last two days was also Wood Pigeons but the movement described below passed me by-1200 yesterday and 700 today heading west were my totals. Peregrines in attendance !Small bird migration was a little better this morning, with 12 Bramblings west, and a Dartford Warbler at the east end of Firehills [there have been quite a few this autumn], but the moth trap returned it's first zero return of the late autumn after a chilly, clear night.


Pannel Valley

As dawn broke there were quite a few thrushes in the bushes with the majority being Redwing. These soon dispersed as the sun came up. One Chiffchaff and two Blackcap were found.

The highlight of the morning was the huge movement of Wood Pigeon. Between 07.30 and 08.15 at least 18,500 flew in a south easterly direction over the site. The local ringers have previously ringed an adult in the autumn that was shot in France the following September.


The Potato Walk

Not a great deal to report from the Clifftop of late-virtually no visible migration and very few moths, though a Red Throated Diver past this morning was my first this winter

However, yesterday some of Slow but Sure did one of our usual walks from Lydd towards Scotney Hall Farm, known as the Potato Walk [as they are grown there, and we were once invited to dig up as many as we wanted !]]. This walk can be very long and goes through little visited areas past ruined farmhouses -and usually produces something of interest. The highlights  yesterday were this very obliging young male Merlin, which had just caught a Darter in flight, and a hedge full of farmland birds-50 Tree Sparrows, 20 Corn Buntings, 40 Redwings and 10 Fieldfares. Also of note were a Barn Owl and a Great White Egret-the former increasingly hard to find, the latter increasingly widespread.