Friday 18 December 2015

Red-listed Curlew

Rye - mild, dry, cloudy, sw2 - At Scotney the usual feral geese and ducks were noted on the grass and water respectively, plus a Great White Egret in the Sussex corner. Down at Rye Harbour Flat Beach was packed out with gulls, waders and wildfowl with several thousand Golden Plovers and Lapwings and hundreds of Teal and Wigeon the highlights. In amongst the throng were good numbers of Curlew, Redshank, Shelduck, Ringed Plover, Turnstone and Dunlin. A flock of 30 Skylarks over was noteworthy and a Peregrine spooked the plovers more than once.

                                Redshank, Rye Harbour

Walland Marsh - Crossing the Marsh on the way home, at Hook Wall, a flock of 150 Mutes feeding on oil-seed rape contained at least 17 Bewick`s Swans, but the views were obscured so there may well have been one or two more. Two Common Buzzards and a Little Owl were noted near Wheelsgate.
Lade - With light airs and the sun dipping rapidly we trudged out across the shingle to Mockmill for last knockings and a roost watch, until I realised that the Curlews were roosting by our watch point. There was no way I was going to flush them so we altered the route and tucked in at the southern end of the sewer, on a gorse ridge with views to the north. I was dismayed, but not surprised, to read in British Birds recently that this magnificent wader has been red-listed in the latest Birds of Conservation Concern review. It is a bird I`m lucky enough to hear and see on a daily basis and everything about them resonates of wild places. I shall not take them for granted in future.
Anyhow, whilst musing over the Curlews, 4 Marsh Harriers headed towards the bird reserve, along with hundreds of corvids, but there was no sign of the Short-eared Owl on the airport fields.
The day finished with another cracking sunset over the flatlands.

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