Saturday, 20 July 2019

Roseate Tern

Lade - cloudy, mild, sw 3 - A humid night with violent thunderstorms dropping over an inch of much needed rain in just a couple of hours on a parched shingle landscape; OL recorded 31mm down at Littlestone last night. Over the lakes plenty of Swifts and Sand Martins were forced down to feed  and a Hobby nipped through.


                                Adult Roseate Tern

Burrowes - As the morning progressed the wind and sun went  to work and by midday you wouldn't have known there had been a deluge in the early hours. As we sat down in Firth hide a cracking adult Roseate Tern dropped in amongst the Commons, all shiny white with long orange/red legs and a black bill. Dunlin, Common Sandpiper and Little Ringed Plover also noted around the pit.

Friday, 19 July 2019

Everlasting pea

Lade - cloudy, occasional drizzle, sw 3 - A tour of the local patch produced no change to the usual birds apart from a few Swifts and Yellow Wagtails shipping out south, although two juvenile Marsh Harriers were on the wing hunting the long reed bed.
  A check of Burrowes was also similarly samey with plenty of wildfowl and Common Terns on site. From Firth hide Little Ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper and five Dunlin amongst the throng of Lapwings, Oystercatchers and gulls. On the walk down to Hanson hide the Narrow-leaved Everlasting Peas were in full bloom either side of the track. From the hide two Bar-tailed Godwits, three Ruffs, two Redshanks and a Great White Egret amongst hundreds of ducks, gulls and Coots.

                                Everlasting Pea

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Pectoral Sandpiper

Rye Harbour NR - cool, overcast, drizzle, sw 4 - Spent the day over the border in Sussex guiding for Pat and Les from Lydd. A circuit of the Beach Reserve delivered two Whimbrels, 20 Dunlins and a Common Sandpiper on the migrant wader front, plus six Sanderlings and a Turnstone on the Camber side, all adult birds. Also plenty of Redshanks, Curlews and Ringed Plovers, Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, and Linnets, around the site along with 20 Little Egrets, two Yellow Wagtails, five Swifts, 12 Little Terns, six Sandwich Terns and at least 20 pairs of Common Terns with juveniles.

                                Sea Heath, Rye Harbour

                                Bedraggled Meadow Pipit                               

                                Whimbrel on the salt marsh

                                Little Egrets

Pett Level - Hadn`t been here for a while, so was pleasantly surprised to find superb wader habitat from the two hides along Pannel Valley, a most peaceful spot in this noisy world of ours. An adult Pectoral Sandpiper was the highlight along with three Greenshanks, a Green Sandpiper and several Little Ringed Plovers, including a pair with tiny, second brood young. Two juvenile Marsh Harriers, not long out of the nest, played havoc with the birds on the scrape which also included breeding Common Tern, Shoveler, Teal, Gadwall, Shelduck, 10 Pied Wagtails, Stock Dove, Lapwings and Oystercatchers. On Pett pools the Furruginous Duck was still present amongst common wildfowl and several Dabchicks.
  A decent day`s birding for the guests with over 70 species noted including some smart waders.

                                Pannel Valley

                                Roosting Greenshanks

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Mostly moths and plants

Lade  - warm, dry and sunny, sw 2 - After a cool, misty dawn it soon warmed up turning into a fine summer`s day. I spent the day guiding for our guests from Germany concentrating on local moths and plants down at Rye. My moth trap was poor due to the overnight conditions with a miserly 16 species of macros, although it did include Toadflax Brocade and Plumed Fan-foot. After a quick trip to Littlestone, to pay homage to the still singing Serin, we moved onto the Kerton Road cafĂ© trap where a clutch of Sussex Emeralds was the highlight for Patrick, plus a White Spot at the Obs along with Black Redstarts and Wheatears around the peninsula.

                                Garden Tiger

                                Grass Emerald

                                Sussex Emerald

Rye Harbour NR - We spent the rest of the day on the Beach Reserve mostly plant hunting, and  although many were past their best a decent range of shingle flowers were located including specialities such as Twiggy Mullein and Sea Heath. On the bird front passage waders included three Whimbrels, 20 Dunlins, Little Ringed Plover and a Greenshank, plus plenty of Redshanks, Curlew and Ringed Plovers. Six Little Terns were still on site while some of the Common Terns had well grown chicks and several Sandwich Terns were still hanging around. Also noted, Little Egret, Shelduck, Wheatear, Sand Martins through and two Yellow Wagtails. Plenty of butterflies also noted across the site which made for a good all round day of natural history interest for our guests.

                                Sea Heath

                                Skylark on kale

                                Tufted ducklings

                                Ringed Plover

Monday, 15 July 2019

Birthday Barney

Lade - cool and cloudy, ne 2 - An overcast day throughout, but humid at times. Having been away over the weekend we spent most of the morning on the local patch and, being as he was 13 today, making an extra special fuss of Barney.

                                Barney at 13 on his local patch today

  First thing over south lake around 300 Sand Martins feeding low over the water, twittering away, suddenly spiralled up as a single unit and headed southwards; whether or not their reaction was due to a Hobby perched on the 30` mirror, or a genuine migratory movement I shall never know. There seemed to be plenty of juvenile Reed Warblers in the reedbeds and young Whitethroats in the dry scrub, although very few Linnets of note. On the incoming tide a Whimbrel joined the regular Curlews to roost on the Desert.
  This afternoon on a falling tide the Curlews were arranged `sensibly` on the bay affording a reasonably accurate count of 271 birds, plus 154 Oystercatchers, five Barwits, a superb Red Knot, 20 Sandwich Terns, 10 Mediterranean Gulls and two Yellow-legged Gulls, plus five Grey Seals offshore. The summer`s first juvenile Marsh Harrier was on the wing this aft, quartering the long reedbed and feinting at birds way too big for it such as Mute Swan and Coot. Several Yellow Wagtails drifted over calling, while I could only find two spikes of the localised plant White Mullein at the southern end of the pond.
  At midday I called in briefly at ARC from Hanson hide where the wader highlights included two Ruff, three Dunlin and a Greenshank, all adults, plus the two regular Little Gulls.

                                      White Mullein

Friday, 12 July 2019


Kings Wood, Challock - Yesterday evening, together with CP, we had a run out to Kings Wood for a spot of Nightjaring in the large clearing to the north of the main car park. The chestnut scrub had grown above head height since our visit last year and as a result Tree Pipits were absent; infact hardly any birdlife was seen apart from a couple of Jays until, eventually, at 2124hrs a Nightjar commenced its eerie `churring` song. Over the following half hour or so we had close flight and perched views of a single male as it performed and sang from dead branches around the woodland margins.
Lade - The past few days on the lakes has witnessed a steady build up of waterfowl on south lake with Shoveler, Pochard and Tufted Duck mingling with over 200 Coot. Great Crested and Little Grebes have also joined the throng along with their young, while a steady flow of Common Terns come and go from the direction of the bird reserve to fish. At high tide 120 Curlews were counted roosting on the Desert by Mockmill.
  The adult Cuckoos have fallen silent and presumably headed off south as calling hasn't been reported since last weekend; hopefully there are one or two juveniles about to fledge from Reed Warbler nests soon and fatten up for the long haul to Africa. Around the margins of south lake wagtails have been attracted to piles of rotting water weed, mostly Pieds but yesterday a Grey and today two juvenile Yellows along with a trickle of the latter passing overhead. 
  Conditions for mothing continue to attract plenty of common species to light with another two Sussex Emeralds last night, also Kent Black Arches, Green Pug, Pale Grass Eggar and Short-cloaked Moth new for the year, plus a record five Privet Hawk-moths.

                                   Pale Grass Eggar

                                Sussex Emerald

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Sussex Emeralds

Lade - warm, dry and sunny, W 2 - An overcast night with a light westerly was always going to be good for moths in the garden trap, and so it proved with the first two Sussex Emeralds of the season amongst 45 species of macros, one of which was high up on the side of the cottage. As usual with Sussex Emeralds that get blown over from the NNR they were in a fairly tatty condition.

                                Sussex Emerald

                                Common Emerald for comparison

                                Sussex Emerald on the cottage wall

  A tour of the local patch was curtailed somewhat by a local dog walker who`d fallen and injured his knee. It took the ambulance service almost two hours before they attended site and eventually whisked him away to hospital. Fortunately RSPB staff were on site to open the gates to allow access to the track beside south lake.

                                1st summer Little Gulls

                                1st summer Common Tern

  This afternoons waders on ARC comprised a Ruff, five Black-tailed Godwits, four Redshanks and an Oystercatcher, plus the two regular Little Gulls and a Great White Egret. On Burrowes from Firth hide, six Dunlin, four Ringed Plovers and a1st summer Common Tern were the highlights.