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Rye Harbour

Highlights on the monthly WeBS (Wetland Bird Survey) count today were a first winter little gull on Long Pit (perhaps the bird which was present on the Quarry last Sunday), red-breasted merganser, two greenshank and a common sandpiper on Ternery Pool and a juvenile ruff on Flat Beach. Quite a few wheatears around at the moment, with several birds scattered about Harbour Farm and the Beach Reserve (including one which came within a foot or so of my head while trying to pick spiders off the webs on the mule!), one or two yellow wagtail and at least one whinchat (reported by a helpful birder). There were also around 50 Sandwich tern on Flat Beach and the odd common tern here and on Long Pit. As might be expected late in the season insect numbers are dropping off a bit, though we still managed a clouded yellow on Harbour Farm, brown-banded carder bee at Lime Kiln Cottage, and common darter and migrant hawker at various sites.


From the Clifftop

Moth trapping has been unremarkable of late, chilly nights and rain reducing catches or keeping the trap indoors. A few migrants this morning included a Scarce Bordered Straw.

Bird migration has also been quiet, with Meadow Pipits only just getting over 100 in a day, and Swallows 275.

Tree Pipits and Grey Wagtails continue to come through in small numbers most days, a party of 8 of the latter in off the sea was unusual. [Perusal of the two latest Sussex Bird Reports for 2015 and 2016 shows that we record more of these two species here in the autumn than elsewhere in the county]  For the last couple of days I have seen up to 8 Chiffchaffs come in off the sea and alight in clifftop bushes, then move slowly west. At least one Dartford Warbler was calling next to the house this morning.

106 Cormorants roosting on Lee Ness yesterday was a record count for me.






Wildlife Talks in the Winter


Rye Harbour MOths

I've not ran my moth trap much recently, what with being away for a week and starting on the grassland cutting, so it was nice to have something to look at this morning. The catch consisted mostly of setaceous hebrew character and square-spot rustic, with migrants including rush veneer, rusty-dot pearl and large yellow underwing. I also had a couple of indicators of the advancing year with my first frosted orange and feathered gothic of the year. Highlights were this dusky thorn which was perched on the outside of the trap first thing, and l-album wainscot an uncommon species of brackish ditches which I catch most years (though this was my first for 2017).