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rye harbour

A very good day for waders today on the monthly Wetland Bird Survey count. Flat Beach was particularly good, with at least 700 golden plover (increasing to around 1000 later in the day), 250+ dunlin, 170 lapwing, 40 ringed plover, 30 knot, 24 grey plover and an avocet! Elsewhere, at least six ruff were on Ternery Pool (in amongst another 700+ lapwing), one of the two long-staying black-necked grebe was present on Long Pit and a couple of gannet were seen offshore. In addition, the three twite were present on Flat Beach at about 10am.


From the Clifftop to Hastings

Yesterday, I walked through Hastings Country Park NR to The Stade, noting 5 Yellowhammers, 3 Siskins, 30 Linnets, a singing Greenfinch and a singing Firecrest [usual part of Barley lane by the camping field]

Down at the harbour were 7 Turnstones, and a few Gannets, auks and Divers passing. I was surprised to see a number of Herring Gulls dropping Whelk shells on the beach or hard surfaces; dropping of Mussels or Cockles is common, but this was new to me. As far as I could see these were all empty shells discarded by fishermen, you can see this in the photo. According to Tinbergen ["The Herring Gulls World"] these birds are stimulated to drop any hard apparent prey items they find on suitable surfaces, they did this repeatedly , but got nothing out of it .

The bird in the background has rings, probably indicating a stay at Mallydams.


From the Clifftop

The recent improvement in the weather [though still too cold at night for the moth trap] has coincided with a reduction in seabird activity, with far fewer auks, divers and gannets passing . Prior to this, 334 auks past in one hour on Feb 12 was the highest count this winter .Yesterday in the late afternoon 25 Black-headed Gulls moved east, perhaps going to Rye Harbour, as did 6 Kittiwakes.

After being absent since October, Greenfinches have started to turn up here again.


East Guldeford Levels

At last, a change in the weather yesterday after days of storm and rain [and lots of rather unproductive seawatching]. It was calm and bright, ideal for a walk round the frosty levels.

As has become the norm, the first part of the circular walk was very quiet, just 2 Ravens and 3 Buzzards. However, once again the stubble field SE of Moneypenny was full of birds, notably at least 230 Corn Buntings, a record count. Also here were 40 Tree Sparrows, 50 Reed Buntings and 50 Skylarks. Nearby on the grazing marsh, another record count-123 Curlews, also my first 3 Mediterranean Gulls of the spring. A Little Egret was my first here for some time. A very productive walk.


rye harbour sightings

Highlight yesterday on the Friends Winter Birds walk was a bittern seen briefly in flight at the northern end of Castle Water (the first one I have seen this winter). Apart from that, the highlights were one or two great white egret, marsh harrier and a very obliging buzzard on a fence post! We ended at the viewpoint at dusk and added water rail, Cetti's warbler and fieldfare (a flock of around 10) to the days list. Elsewhere, the two black-necked grebe were still on Long Pit, while up to two kingfisher continue to frequent Nook drain to the west of the caravan park.

Mid-morning update - Three twite still on Flat Beach opposite the red-roofed hut