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Wildfowl from the Clifftop

A three hour seawatch yesterday morning revealed an early spring easterly wildfowl movement taking place, with a notable total of 67 Shoveler. Mixed in with these were a few Teal and Gadwall, and at least one Pintail; six Scoters and 3 Shelduck also flew east.

As is usual at the moment, plenty of other birds to look at: 106 Red-throated Divers including 22 fishing below the Clifftop, 120 auks including 7 Razorbills likewise, 42 Gannets E and the first Lesser Black-backed Gull of the year.

At least 2 Porpoises were on show.


Beach Reserve 

Highlights over the past few mornings have included 1000+ Wigeon, 10 Pintail, 98 Gadwall, 93 Shoveler, 800 Lapwing, 650 Golden Plover, 290 Curlew, 220 Dunlin, 155 Oystercatcher, 39 Ringed Plover and 20 Turnstone. I have come across several Snipe roosts while preparing the electric fencing for the coming season, hard to gauge numbers but at least 153 Snipe and 6 Jack Snipe have been roosting at Ternery Pool and West Beach Ridges. Also of note, Merlin, Marsh Harrier, Barn Owl, Kingfisher and several Stonechats.



Another Turnstone Count

Yesterday I walked from Rock-a-Nore to DLWP at Bexhill in order to count Turnstones and see if I could do any better than my last, low count of 79 on Jan 8. No: the total was a miserable 49, with notably, none along Bexhill seafront. This is my third double-figure count in a row, the first being just 40 on Jan 12 2016, and it looks as though the wintering Turnstone population along this coast has dropped considerably from counts of 200 in 2010/11; more counts needed.

Plenty of Red-throated Divers though, 100 flew west during a brief stop at the pier, and I saw  a flock of 70 pass the Clifftop before I went out.


From the Clifftop

It's been a bit difficult on the clifftop of late-lots of fog and rain. However yesterday was better, starting with 15 Redwings over at first light as I went out to check my optimistically put out moth trap. No moths, but this smart creature was nearby-I thought it was a Sawfly, but Chris has steered me towards Ichneumon Fly. Nice to have something like this to look at in early February. [If I find out what species I'll modify this post]


Plenty to see at sea , at least 50 Red-throated Divers charging about, 2 Black-throated Divers E, lots of auks, with 8 Razorbills and 5 Guillemots identified, 20 Gannets including one being chased by a Great Skua, and a Harbour Porpoise. Later on I finally caught up with Waxwings,  at Bexhill- six at Woodsgate Park [which is a road rather than a park].

Today the postman delivered the new edition of the macro-moth field guide, lots of new species illustrated so keen to get started !


Tales from the trap

Going through my trap catches today I came across this fascinating beastie, a Stenus, a tiny relative of the Devil's coach horse. These beetles feed largely on sprintails and have an unusual method of catching their prey, using an eversible tube which shoots out and catches the unfortunate victim with sticky lobes at the business end, visible here as the weird white structure sticking out of the front of the head. I've seen a lot of these beetles over the years, but this is only the second time I've seen one in this state. Unfortunately I probably won't be able to put a species to this individual as it's a female and certain identification is based on the male 'bits'. Pity.