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From the Clifftop

Looking out to sea has been my early morning activity these last couple of days, many more birds about although I've not managed to see anything of great note. Yesterday there were c40 Red-throated Divers charging about in groups of up to 10, 10 Kittiwakes and a Mediterranean Gull, the previous day was a little colder and 40 Starlings came in off the sea, a few Wigeon and Teal were moving.

However, the highlight throughout, especially yesterday, has been the superb cloudscape on view, the best in the two years we have now been here. This was matched by an equally spectacular red sunset as we drove across Walland Marsh, a bonus there was a Barn Owl hunting beside the road at East Guldeford Levels-my first there for nearly five years


Rye Harbour

Birds sightings in the last week have included black-necked grebe still on Ternery Pool, red-breasted merganser on Long Pit and kingfisher on Harbour Farm. Lots of ducks, particularly wigeon, still though I could still only find one goldeneye, that on the pools by Harbour Farm Barns. The large flocks of golden plover and lapwing have been missing though, as the frozen ground means that they cannot feed on grassland worms during the night. This morning a flock of around 70 brent goose (in with about 150 cormorant) flew in from the south-east over the Beach Reserve though they looked as though they just kept going.
Still the odd insect around in the last week, though I imagine that this weather will have done for them by now, with common darter at Watch Cottage on the 27th and a red admiral on Harbour Farm on the 26th.

From the Clifftop

All quiet on the clifftop at present !. Small numbers of the usual suspects at sea-Gannets, Scoters, Kittiwakes and Red -throated Divers [gradually increasing]. The moth trap remains empty- just a bit too cold, but I have managed to add one species to the garden list, Stigmella aurella, by finding the larval leaf mine.

This is probably the easiest leaf mine to find [on Bramble], and can be seen anywhere bramble grows in quantity. See  for the adult moth.


East Guldeford Levels

A proper winter's day yesterday-clear, bright and frosty. My regular walk round the Levels  found the usual farmland birds -5 Tree Sparrows at Moneypenny, 14 Corn Buntings nearby, and lots of Skylarks across the site- at least 120. While counting some of these that had been put up by a Buzzard, I heard and saw a Lapland Bunting flying with them. I've recorded these quite often on the levels over the years, though they are regarded as a rare bird in Sussex. Otherwise, 220 Golden Plovers but no Lapwings, 5 Fieldfares and a Stonechat.


Rye Harbour

Highlights yesterday on the monthly Wetland Bird Survey included four black-necked grebe (three on Long Pit and one on Ternery Pool), red-breasted merganser on Harbour Farm and at least six great white egret on Long Pit (though one birder reported seeing eight earlier on in the day). Flat Beach Level looked busy yesterday with around 1000 golden plover, 300+ wigeon and a good selection of other species including 18 pintail, 15 knot, nine grey plover and a lonely looking brent goose. A visit to the viewpoint at dusk found marsh harrier, raven, great white egret (probably one of the Long Pit birds as it flew in from that direction), three fieldfare and a murmuration of around 400 starling