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From the Clfftop

Some mild, calm weather has finally produced some moths, after nine blank or unsuitable nights. On Thursday morning there were two December moths, standard fare for some but I've not actually seen one before. Yesterday morning there were 8 species, including the first Rusty-dot Pearl of the year-long overdue, a White-speck, which I've only seen in France before, and a Sussex rarity, a Red-headed Chestnut [pictured]. All the moths in the trap on this occasion were migrants ,

brought in by warm southerlies

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Rye Harbour

Highlights over the last few days have included up to two spoonbill on Salt Pool on Harbour Farm (though neither were visible today), great white egret at Castle Water and Long/Narrow Pits, a black-necked grebe on Long Pit and a jack snipe on Harbour Farm. Lapwing and golden plover  are building after a very sparse few weeks with around 600 of the former on Harbour Farm and Flat Beach and perhaps 300 of the latter on Flat Beach this morning, while there has also been an uptick in duck numbers, particularly shoveler with almost 100 counted last Sunday. Attendant raptors have included merlin, peregrine, marsh harrier and buzzard.



A very wild night on the Clifftop, but a more settled morning, so I decided to do a circuit of the Scotney Gravel Pit complex, with diversions to Oakhill Fleet and Red House [5.9 mls alltold]

There were 20 Corn Buntings and 20 Tree Sparrows at the latter two sites, these would be additional to those counted at EGL yesterday [see below], and 5 more Tree Sparrows at Scotney Court Farm, but a lot of Corn Buntings remain unaccounted for. Odds and Ends included a Kingfisher near Scotney Court Farm, a Ruff,and a Rock Pipit, 2 Goldcrests were in the isolated willow copse on the county boundary.

However, a large flock of 145 Swans at Jurys Gap flew onto the westernmost Scotney Pit [not visible from the road] as I approached, these included two Black Swans , an occasional sight on Walland Marsh, and, revealed by their calls, 2 splendid adult Whooper Swans , a Sussex rarity; so 141 Mute Swans then . This explains the current lack of these at EGL.


East Guldeford Levels

Still nothing to report from the Clifftop-still too much wind and rain. But a good walk round EGL this morning [5.2 mls by the GPS], best birds being :

A Great White Egret, a Merlin, 10 Ravens together [an equal highest England count for me], 65 Tree Sparrows, 4 Corn Buntings, 100 Skylarks , 4 Goldcrests in the last garden in Camber [reflecting the recent fall of these along the coast].




Dungeness Day Out

Too much wind on the Clifftop for any moth trapping or visible migration, but a much better than usual Dungeness visit yesterday.

After a look around Scotney Court Farm for the Twites seen a few days ago-none, but 5 Tree Sparrows; and a visit to a  quiet ARC pit,  we headed over to the fishing boats clutching a loaf of finest sliced bread. Throwing this around attracted a few gulls [but failed to impress the fine adult Yellow Legged Gull we were trying to lure closer ], but then we noticed the Dungeness regulars doing the same thing further along the beach , attracting  lots of gulls. Joining them, and saving the bread for next time, we were soon treated to good views of this first-winter Caspian Gull, one of six recorded around Dungeness yesterday.

Later we had a quick look from Makepeace Hide to see a Spoonbill and 9 Great White Egrets, also 2 Cattle Egrets at Boulderwall, then returned to Scotney for a longer walk . Still no Twites, but a Corn Bunting, 800 [?] Golden Plovers, 49 Egyptian Geese, and a fine ringtail Hen Harrier.