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Rye Harbour

Highlights yesterday on the monthly Wetland Bird Survey at Rye Harbour were the long-staying red-breasted merganser (this time on the pool south of Harbour Farm Barns), three goldeneye on Long Pit, four ruff at the western end of Harbour Farm and a fine display of birds on Flat Beach, including at least 550 golden plover, 68 grey plover, 67 dunlin and 61 sanderling, as well as smaller numbers of pintail, ringed plover and turnstone.

At dusk a visit to the viewpoint at Castle Water turned up at least three marsh harrier (adult male and female and immature male) which came in to roost in the reedbed and calling water rail, while Cliff Dean (who was just leaving as I turned up!) reported at least four great white egret, barn owl and fieldfare.


Spring on the clifftop ?

 A couple of lovely sunny days prompted thoughts, no doubt premature, of spring. A pair of Ravens and a Peregrine have  been on view both mornings, and Yellowhammers are singing at the Firehills.[ Also the first sighting of a scrawny youth stripped to the waist on the seafront ]. Early morning movements of Cormorants continue, 430 W on Saturday, and 90 yesterday, though divers appear to be decreasing.

With an overcast night last night, the moth trap finally got going, with Chestnut, Clouded Drab and Common Quaker this morning.


East Guldeford Levels

A lovely frosty morning yesterday , no wind , perfect for my usual East Guldeford Levels circuit. A lot more standing water than previously but no great numbers of either Golden Plovers or Lapwings-about 100 of both. 2 Egyptian Geese appear to be resident now. As usual at least 2 Buzzards; the usual farmland birds totalled 40 Skylarks, 16 Tree Sparrows but just one pair of Corn Buntings [pictured]. A walk round all the big stubble fields produced a lone Lapland Bunting-these could almost  be described as "usual farmland birds  here this winter. At least 3 Stonechats and 15 Fieldfares.

Great to receive  "The Flora of Sussex" by the Sussex Botanical Recording Society yesterday- a marvellous tome celebrating vast amounts of volunteer effort, including a little bit by me at EGL !


Dungeness today

In a valiant effort to include some Kent news on this forum, we had a great morning at Dungeness RSPB today, with lovely views of a Black-throated Diver, a Slavonian Grebe, a Bittern (on the ARC) and the long-staying drake Smew. We missed a Kingfisher on the ARC earlier, and couldn't spot the juvenile Glaucous Gull that's been turning up on Burrowes, or the regular Long-eared Owl which has become rather elusive lately.


More Cormorants from the Clifftop

Some time ago I described spectacular early morning movements [W] of Cormorants past Fairlight Cliffs, this happened again this morning, in a brief respite from the endless gales we are experiencing. At least 500 birds came past by 0715, they are pretty fast and I just managed one shot of a last group of 50 odd. It seems likely these are birds dispersing from Dungeness , where exceptional numbers can be seen on Burrowes Pit.