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A five heron day

I've been away in Gambia, and suffered a total computer failure, hence no posts for some time. However a day at Dungeness yesterday was the best for months, reversing a trend of each visit being worse than the last!

Of note were 7 Garganey and at least 6 Water Pipits [some say 18] in fine plumage, but also five species of Herons-Little , Great and Cattle Egrets [still 3] Grey Heron  and two booming Bitterns. One of these performed at close range from the viewing ramp, I've never been able to see this before. These Bitterns brought my Heron total in just over a week to 14 species...  A Little Ringed Plover flew through the hayfields, and 5 Ruff were also on view from the ramp.

Moth trapping goes on, more individulas now but a low and mostly rather mundane species list-just 13 so far this year.


A few recent birds

Last Sunday Matthew Prince watched what he was sure was a Rough-legged Buzzard for 10 minutes along the Cadborough path from West Undercliff in Rye. On the same day a Red Kite was seen well over the cliff-line at Scotts Float, two White Storks were reported on Romney Marsh, and a Kentish Plover was found on the beach at Greatstone, still there on Monday when a Woodcock was seen at Houghton Green. In the Pannel valley a Garganey has been present all week and the first Little Ringed Plover was found today. At Rye Harbour today a male Wheatear was showing well near the river mouth, the two "resident" Black-necked Grebes were in summer finery at the SW end of Long Pit, and a "probable" Ring-necked Duck was reported on Castle Water this afternoon but flew off and couldn't be relocated. "Honourable birds" at Dungeness during the week include two Light Orange Underwing moths and (probably) two Large Tortoiseshells.


Rye Harbour

Gull numbers are slowly creeping up on the Beach Reserve, with over 500 black-headed gull and 50+ Mediterranean gull present this morning (though the Med count has been as high as 92 in the last few days), while Sandwich tern numbers are currently around the 100 mark with the best views provided by Ternery Pool. Highlights over the last few days have included three black-necked grebe (two on Long Pit and one from Crittal Hide on Ternery Pool) just starting to show their breeding plumage, up to three wheatear just to the north of the Parkes Hide and today a merlin perched on the fence behind Ternery Pool, while there have been several reports of bearded tit from the viewpoint at Castle Water and around 70 avocet have been present on Harbour Farm.


Rye Harbour beach clean

If you missed our beach clean on Saturday, there's another chance to help clean up the litter tomorrow, Wednesday 27th March.

Please meet at 10am at the Rye Harbour village car park for a couple of hours strolling along the beach, picking up litter, chatting and looking for newly arrived spring wildlife.


Rye Harbour Moths

Still quite slow in the Watch Cottage moth trap at the moment, with Hebrew character the most commonly caught moth (and that in low numbers), followed by common quaker, clouded drab and small quaker. I also had my second oak beauty of the year this morning but the highlight was this aptly named pine beauty, something of a reserve rarity with this only the fifth record (three of those from Watch Cottage and one from Lime Kiln).

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