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Waders and Warblers at RSPB Dungeness

It's that time of the year again where we are starting to get a build up of waders and warblers on our reserve. Willow warblers in particular have been heard and seen in fairly high numbers (50 at Lade Pits!). Now that they have bred and their young have fledged this will be the highest population of warblers we will see all year. From now until early September they will be gathering along the south coast in their numbers to fly back to Africa for the winter. Listen out for their beautiful melodies on the reserve. Look out for Reed and Sedge warblers before they head off too!

Willow warbler - Martin Casemore

I hate to mention the dreaded word 'autumn' which means that our days are getting shorter again and summertime is waning. We will be saying goodbye soon to our much loved birds that fill the sky during the summertime such as the Swifts, Swallows, Martins and Hobbies. We have had hundreds flying over the reserve in the last couple of weeks preparing to leave for the African continent.

Sand martin over Burrowes Pit - Martin Casemore


We are also seeing high numbers of wading birds starting to build up on our reserve and despite the disturbance from the island restoration work happening on Burrowes Pit, we are still seeing a fair amount of birds from the hides such as the 33 Dunlin seen yesterday, Wood sandpipers, a Pectoral sandpiper that popped in again last week, Green sandpiper, Common sandpiper, Whimbrel and Knot. Others, such as Spotted redshank and 25 Black-tailed godwits as well as 276 Lapwing have been seen at Denge Marsh.

Wood sandpiper on Burrowes - Martin Casemore

Why not join our local guide and volunteer Paul Trodd on a walk around the reserve to see these birds on Wednesday 16th August? The walk starts at 10.30am, lasts approximately 2 hours and costs just £7 per person! (20% discount if you are an RSPB member). Please call 01797 320588 to book.


From the Clifftop

After a wet and windy night, fewer species in the moth trap this morning, but these included this smart Jersey Tiger; yesterday I caught a Garden Tiger-new for the garden. Garden year list now 314.

At sea, perhaps 50 Gannets of all ages milling about, accompanied by 10 Kittiwakes and the usual Terns. Two pale phase Arctic Skuas headed east, 11 Common Scoters likewise and I saw the first Swift for a week. A lone Porpoise broke the surface occasionally.


Moth Evening at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

As some of you may have noticed I am running a 'moth evening' at Lime Kiln Cottage on Sunday 13th August. If you are interested in coming along to see some of our special moths, please note that the event starts at 8.30 (finishing at 10.30) NOT midnight as some publications seem to think! While it's highly unlikely that anyone would want to turn up at this time for an event, if they do they will find me tucked up in bed and snoring blissfully!



Clifftop Crickets and Grasshopper Event

Yellowhammers are much in evidence along the Firehills at present, this male is still feeding young-with a Grasshopper- but  what species ?.

On this coming Saturday, Aug 12, the Friends of Hastings Country Park NR will be holding a Crickets and Grasshoppers walk, led by Andy Phillips, looking for these insects on the Firehills, and learning about their identification.

  Meet at 10.30 at the Visitor Centre , there is a charge of £4 for non-members, Friends free as usual. Sweep nets will be available to use.


From the Clifftop

 I don't seem to be doing as well as some in my moth trap !-  too windy or clear . I can't compete with a Monarch either-but I did manage a useful butterfly record on the Firehills this morning-a Wall Brown. I can 't recall seeing one in Hastings CPNR but might have done, on checking the excellent new Sussex butterfly Atlas I found that this is the only site in the far east of the county where it was recorded during the 2010-14 survey period; still there then.

I was really hoping  for some migrant birds, and there were a few Willow Warblers about, but also 2 Crossbills flew E low over my head, and a Tree Pipit was near coastguards. 3 Stonechats were at the east end of Firehills, including 2 juvs., 97 Cormorants roosting on the rock platform Lee Ness was a record count for me.