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East Guldeford Levels

At last, a change in the weather yesterday after days of storm and rain [and lots of rather unproductive seawatching]. It was calm and bright, ideal for a walk round the frosty levels.

As has become the norm, the first part of the circular walk was very quiet, just 2 Ravens and 3 Buzzards. However, once again the stubble field SE of Moneypenny was full of birds, notably at least 230 Corn Buntings, a record count. Also here were 40 Tree Sparrows, 50 Reed Buntings and 50 Skylarks. Nearby on the grazing marsh, another record count-123 Curlews, also my first 3 Mediterranean Gulls of the spring. A Little Egret was my first here for some time. A very productive walk.


rye harbour sightings

Highlight yesterday on the Friends Winter Birds walk was a bittern seen briefly in flight at the northern end of Castle Water (the first one I have seen this winter). Apart from that, the highlights were one or two great white egret, marsh harrier and a very obliging buzzard on a fence post! We ended at the viewpoint at dusk and added water rail, Cetti's warbler and fieldfare (a flock of around 10) to the days list. Elsewhere, the two black-necked grebe were still on Long Pit, while up to two kingfisher continue to frequent Nook drain to the west of the caravan park.

Mid-morning update - Three twite still on Flat Beach opposite the red-roofed hut


From the Clifftop

With this weeks Slow but Sure walk abandoned due to awful weather for the second week in a row [as was this week's Dungeness visit], there was nothing for it but  to do a long seawatch through the window.

This can be hard work if it's very windy, but today there was a movement of Brent Geese, with 355 east between 07.25 and 11.25 including two flocks of 100- ongoing  spring departure. Otherwise it was the usual species-56 Gannets, 65 auks, just 20 red-throated Divers and 15 Kittiwakes, these moving west as usual . A Grey Seal appeared briefly for the second time this week; 2 Porpoises, the first for almost a year , were on show a few days ago.


rye harbour sightings

The three twite are still on the edge of Flat Beach Level more or less opposite the red-roofed, again feeding amongst skylark on the strandline (the last few times I have found them it has been by following incoming skylark). Elsewhere, two black-necked grebe were feeding close in at the western end of the Long Pit (along with three goldeneye) and around 15 gannet were offshore while two marsh harrier and water rail were seen from the viewpoint at Castle Water. Other 'goodies' over the last couple of days have included two kingfisher on the ditch which runs south of the caravan park and two great white egret and two raven at Castle Water.


Divers from the Clifftop

This morning I counted 878 Red-throated Divers fying east past Fairlight Cliffs between 0715 and 0845, by which time this local movement had ceased. I've been counting passing divers from here, and previously from Rock-a Nore, since 2007 and this is my second highest count. The record, which I believe still stands as the highest count for Sussex, was 1500 past Rock-a-Nore on Jan 1st 2011; 512 passed there on Jan 18 2009. 

Other than that, the usual auks, Gannets and Kittiwakes passed, and 280 Cormorants in two flocks flew west.