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Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

Highlights yesterday on the Friends Castle Water Walk included at least seven great white egret, two male marsh harrier, 12 ruff, a goosander and small numbers of fieldfare. Two bullfinch near the viewpoint were also a good spot by a couple of patient members of the group! Earlier in the day the only sighting of note was a covey of nine grey partridge on Harbour Farm.

Image: Cliff Dean


From the Clifftop

Yesterday morning, another gale abated and rain cleared to allow a look at the sea. Mostly auks this time, 70 west;  a lone Razorbill and several Guillemots identified. Divers seem to have decreased-just 3 Red Throats this time. Otherwise 15 Gannets, 4 Kittiwakes W, 4 Scoters E, and , a nice addition to the house list in the burly shape of a juv. type Glaucous Gull which headed towards the cliffs from far out at sea and was lost to view below them. One was reported near Rye the previous day, when I saw the faithful juv at Dungeness, no knowing if this bird was one of those. This picture is not the Clifftop bird - I didn't get such a good view as this !


Tales from the trap

One really interesting thing about trapping year after year on the new saltmarsh is seeing how the species change. When I first started trapping what is now the saltmarsh was just a muddy, bare field with little vegetatation and over the next few years the main component of the catch, as you might expect, were largely predatory species of open ground. As the vegetation has returned over the years, however, I am starting to see more plant-associated species and one such species is the weevil Gronops lunatus (below). This rather weird looking critter feeds on spurreys (Spergularia spp) and related species and has not been recorded on the reserve since 1998! A new one for me as well which is obviously far more important.


Beans still at Scotney

This afternoon among the Greylags we found the 2 Tundra Bean Geese reported in mid-January, but no sign of any White-fronts.


Rye Harbour

Highlights over the last few days have included the long-staying red-breasted merganser on Harbour Farm, great white egret and  regular marsh harrier at Castle Water and at least two different peregrine over the Beach Reserve (immature) and at Castle Water (adult). Still lots of golden plover and lapwing to see, with maxima of 1500 and around 600 respectively, while other waders included up to 150 knot, 80 dunlin and small numbers of grey plover, bar-tailed godwit and black-tailed godwit. Numbers of shoveler and gadwall have jumped up with the incoming cold front, with over 150 of the former around the reserve and 150 of the latter at Castle Water alone. There have also been some large (for here) counts of Egyptian goose, with 25 on Castle Farm on the 1st, up to three goldeneye on Harbour Farm and numerous pintail on Flat Beach.