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World Wetlands Day

2 February each year is World Wetlands Day. It marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. For more info click here.

To celebrate this there is a guided walk starting at 3pm at Rye Harbour - details here. The walk with 15 people saw 200+ Curlew, 100ish Golden Plover and one Grey, ten male Ruff, Spotted Redshank with Common Redshank, Little Stint with Dunlin, some almost invisible Snipe and an Avocet.


Fairlight to Rye

A pleasant if windy morning, especially after yesterdays awful weather.

My walk from Fairlight began well with 20 Linnets in the village communal vegetable plot-the biggest flock I've seen all winter . Sloshing through the mud and water, I flushed a Woodcock in Market Wood, where a Buzzard was overhead As it was windy I headed inland up the military canal rather than viewing Pett Levels from the seawall. I soon found a flock of geese quite close to the path: Greylags, but also 24 Brent Geese and 2 Pink footed Geese. The latter first turned up on Saturday, with around 80 Whitefronts, I couldn't see any of those today. A Barn Owl was sitting on a post behind Carter's Flood, A Mediterranean Gull was among gulls flushed by a  Peregrine speeding over the centre of the levels.

After walking along the back of the levels- not much apart from 6 Herons together on the path that looked like they wanted to occupy the heronry- I carried on through Winchelsea beach towards Castle Water. Here I flushed a Green Sandpiper from a very muddy paddock-they seem scarce this winter.

After a  rain shower [with complete rainbow over Camber Castle], very bright light illuminated the wildfowl in front of the hide superbly, these included a close pair of Pintail.

After stopping briefly at the Bittern viewpoint, I carried on to the harbour and did the short circular walk around Flat Beach and the new saltmarsh, hard going in the very strong wind, but Avocet and Spotted Redshank were added to the day list.


Rye Harbour Sightings

A visit to Castle Water at around noon yesterday found around 500 wigeon and 100 teal and shoveler on the main pit, along with smaller numbers of gadwall, tufted duck and pochard, two snipe and four pintail (two males). Highlights included a flock of 26 ruff seen in flight, two marsh harrier (immature and adult male) and best of the bunch an immature peregrine which gave excelent views as it perched in willow to the right of the hide. In addition, later in the day a member of the public reported seeing two pink-footed goose among greylags at Castle Water.

Today at Castle Water - largely the same as yesterday with the addition of a female red-crested pochard early afternoon. 


Pett Level Ramble

An excellent day was had on the annual winter ramble around Pett Level lead by Phil Jones of the Wetland Trust. Looking across the level from the car park at the start of the walk highlights were two or thee ruff and a couple of black-tailed godwit, while good views were had of white-fronted goose, brent goose and around 100 fieldfare from the path by the Military Canal. A visit to the hides at Pannel Valley produced two male pintail and a snipe, and while we were there Phil showed everyone a water rail which had been caught earlier on and we all had a close look before it was released. On the way back the best of the bunch were two raven and around 4000 wigeon on Pett Pools. Raptors included at least five different marsh harrier, a peregrine and a sparrowhawk (this latter seen pouncing on an unsuspecting fieldfare before carrying it off!). ,


Beach Reserve

Two Great White Egrets stole the show this morning on the Beach Reserve and at Castle Water, they left the Little Egret roost at dawn, and later showed well although distantly on the new secondary saltmarsh area. The picture below shows them sandwiching a Little Egret.

Adittional highlights from the Beach Reserve/Harbour Farm while tracking the two egrets, 8 Goldeneye (2 drakes), Spotted Redshank, Bar-tailed Godwit, Merlin and Peregrine.