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Pett Level

83 species this morning including Arctic Skua, Spotted Flycatcher, Redstart, Whinchat and a Tufted Duck on the shingle alongside a Turnstone!

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Warren Glen Management

It can be difficult to see the effects of management when you visit a site regularly and changes happen slowly. You can sometimes be fooled into thinking no changes are occurring. So it is useful to go back and compare what a site was like before management and after management.

I took the photo below in early September 2005 looking across Warren Glen towards the Coastguard Cottages.

I took the next photo last week in exactly the same place while carrying out a repeat of the plant monitoring we started before management.

Bracken litter scraping and grazing with Highland cattle has had a significant impact. The bracken is now severely stressed only growing to ankle height whereas areas outside the grazing compartment the bracken is at head height as it used occur in this area before management. Bracken is extremely difficult to control and takes a long time but it certainly looks like the current management is working and hopefully in another seven years Warren Glen will be even further improved.

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Allotment Wildlife

The seasons move on- autumn moths in the trap, autumn migrant birds, and , on our Winchelsea allotment, dung to dig in !. I didn't want to disturb the Slow Worms and Grass Snakes in our main pile-see last weeks post- but have another supply. This job needs the wheelbarrow, under which were 2 more Slow Worms, one very large; it's tiring work and frequent stops to look for insects were needed.

We were very pleased to see a queen Tree Bumblebee, an allotment first, amongst lots of Common Carder Bees on our Lavender and other flowers . This zoomed off before we could get more than a record shot, but while peering at our row of giant Sunflowers, I found an unusual caterpillar which was much more obliging.

I think this is the caterpillar of the Dark Spectacle moth [it was about 35-40 cms long], but would appreciate confirmation or otherwise- I haven't yet caught the adult moth.

There were some birds around too: about 50 House Martins low overhead, a Spotted Flycatcher in one of the neighbouring plots, and 2 noisy Peregrines flew past


Three Chats next week?

This morning the beach reserve was full of young yellow wagtails and meadow pipits and later at Castle Water there were many young whinchats (above) and wheatear. In the coming week it should be possible to see 3 species of chat - stonechat, whinchat and wheatear

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Pale green haze

There is only one flowering plant that grows below the height of winter storms on the exposed shingle shore... and this is Babbington's Orache. In some years it can be very scarce and in others abundant - this year it is patchy and the pale green haze can be seen just west of Ternery Pool. It is quite similar to Spear-leaved Orache, but it is mostly prostrate and for me its position so low on the shore is a give away.

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