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Pett Pools

Meeting Pete Rouse at the pools it was very apparent that many of the winter duck have now gone. There was for example only one female Wigeon present. Whilst there, a Spoonbill flew in and landed behind the roadside pool only to be spooked ten minutes later by a male Marsh Harrier.

The sea was quiet although interesting. A male Red-breasted Merganser flew eastwards and a single Velvet Scoter flew to the west before settling on the sea. Quite close in, just off from the pools, there were two summer plumaged Black-necked Grebes and a single Guillemot. Pete had earlier had one small group of Common Scoter flying east.

All the time we were on the sea wall there was a trickle of Mediterranean Gulls flying east. They were usually in pairs with most being adults. Over twenty went through.

Small birds were at a premium with no hirundines present. Both Cetti's and Sedge Warblers sung from the reedbed and three Yellow Wagtails flew northwards.



Halfway down Rye Harbour Road, just at the end of the containers, you'll find the fingerpost directing you to the Reedbed Viewpoint. It's just a five-minute walk , ideal for those unable to go further or who, at busy times, wish to be somewhere quieter than the Beach Reserve. You cross some rough grassland to a raised platform with handy benches from which to enjoy the sights and sounds of many kinds of birds.

Parking is a problem - no more than the roadside verge which, at the moment, is reduced in most parts to deep muddy ruts - so you if you arrive by car you might need to leave in a better place.

Since Wednesday afternoon turned out warm and sunny, we decided to spend just an hour there, keeping note once more of all the species we could see or hear during that time.

During the brief walk across we saw Collared Doves, Stock Doves and a Mistle Thrush on the big rusty barn and could hear Oystercatchers & Redshanks behind us on the river. In the brambles were Long-tailed Tits and my first Whitethroat of the year.

From the platform we had spectacular views of  Mute Swans low overhead and the usual flights of Cormorants coming in to their tree nests; in the reeds was a singing Sedge Warbler, the usual loud Cetti's Warblers, and in the distance, from nearby pasture, we could pick out the song of a Skylark and the form of a quietly feeding Whimbrel. Against the afternoon light the Silhouette Challenge presented Shoveler, Peregrine (in the Big Tree), Marsh Harrier & Swallow. No sign of Bittern unfortunately, nor Bearded Tits.

I've done a couple of one-hour counts, though around dusk, earlier in the year, recording 44 and 45 species respectively though with an overlap of about 10. This week we got 47, though with 15 of these were new to the list.



The walk from Cliff End toilets to the end of Pett Pools is a very short one - about 2kms - but one during which you can see an amazing range of bird species ,more, I suspect than most other places in the county. This results from the great range of habitats along that seaside strip, ranging from sandstone cliffs through mature gardens, the coastal scrub of the PLPT land, freshwater of the canal & pools with their associated reedbeds, shingle, moorlog, rocky, sandy & muddy beach and the open bay.

It can be accessed at many points from the road and is pretty level. I usually reckon on taking one hour outwards and half back though confess that it may require more time if I stop & talk to someone. 

Yesterday was a misty spring-like morning with some migrants like Chiffchaff & Blackcaps already in place ans singing while others such as Yellow Wagtail, Swallows & Whimbrel  were arriving. In addition, little flocks of northbound Chaffinches, Linnets. Meadow Pipits & Siskins were moving NE along the seawall. 

Although most of the winter ducks have now left, a handful of Wigeon, Shoveler & Teal remain. A dozen or so Pochard might soon depart though there is a small local breeding population. 

Other interesting potential breeders were 5 pairs of Shelducks at the back of the marsh and a pair of Coal Tits at Toot Rock.

55 Turnstones fed on the poolside grass and about 25 Great Crested Grebes sat on the calm sea as Fulmars skimmed over the water.

With a few of the more reticent scrub-birds deigning to show themselves (Long-tailed Tit, Goldcrest & Bullfinch) along with the common species, the list came to 63. This is what I'd expect (though in miserable weather the previous week I'd only managed 46..... The record so far is 74, during September migration.


Rye Harbour

With from the sad departure of the two black-winged stilt, pretty much the usual suspects at the moment. Several birders looking for the stilts reported grey partridge in the same field and there were at least two pairs there today (with another pair reported behind Ternery Pool) so this seems to be the place to see them! On Long Pit, a little gull is still present, as is the the red-brested merganser on Harbour Farm, while there have been small numbers of whimbrel and a black-tailed godwit on Harbour Farm and the odd wheatear and raven on the Beach Reserve. Two interesting reports from a visiting birder included yellow wagtail and singing corn bunting between the Parkes and Denny Hides yesterday, while a swallow was reported today near Harbour Farm Barns.


Small White and Holly Blue

Saw my first Small White of 2018 yesterday near the Viewpoint, and my first Holly Blue (photo below) today in my garden in Rye. Many insects have been very late appearing this year but this should change in the next few days.