Sunday 5 January 2020

Aliens on the beach

Saturday - Lade - warm, dry and sunny, w 2 - Spent the morning on the local patch where the usual wildfowl on south lake included a pair of Goldeneye, while a mixed flock of tits around the ponds contained at least 20 Long-tailed Tits. A Marsh Harrier disturbed a large flock of over a thousand gulls from fields by the airport, most of whom eventually settled on north lake where an adult Caspian Gull and five Mediterranean Gulls were amongst mostly Herring and Black-headed Gulls.
  The walk back along the beach from Seaview Road to Lade boardwalk was noteworthy for millions of small crustaceans (mainly cockles and winkles) washed up on the tide line, plus 15 alien-like Barrel Jellyfish scattered across the sands, which is bit early in the year as I normally encounter them in the summer months. With so much flotsam and jetsam along the foreshore it was no surprise to come across a clutch of Goose Barnacles attached to a polystyrene float; but no sign of any Barnacle Goose goslings...

                                Barrel Jellyfish

                                            Countless crustaceans

                               Goose Barnacles

Sunday - East Sussex - cloudy, mild, sw 2 - Pat joined us for a change of scene today over the border into the Sussex badlands. The sheep folds opposite Northpoint pits were alive with waders, mostly Lapwings and Golden Plovers, plus 30 Curlews, 10 Redshanks, 10 Dunlins and five Ruffs.
At Rye Harbour the car park was almost full and people everywhere. However, the Beach Reserve wetlands were smothered in thousands of birds, mainly Wigeon, Teal, Shelduck and Shoveler, Tufted Duck, and Pochard, plus 30 Brent Geese and a single redhead Smew. Waders included plenty of Lapwings, Golden Plovers, Redshanks and Curlews alongside a few Ringed and Grey Plovers, Turnstones and Dunlins, while it was good to see that the new Discovery Centre was near completion.
  Next stop the cafĂ© at Winchelsea Beach (highly recommended) followed by a check of Pett Levels where more Lapwings, Curlews, Redshanks, Dunlins and 10 Ruffs were present on the fields, plus Wigeons, Shelducks and Dabchicks on the pools; a Glossy Ibis had been seen earlier. A scan across the fields revealed five White-fronted Geese within a mixed flock of Greylag, Canada, Egyptian and Brent Geese, also: three Marsh Harriers, two Buzzards, Kestrel, Reed Bunting, Fieldfare and Stonechat.
  A stop off at Scotney on the way home revealed more feral geese and waders on the front fields, thousands more Golden Plovers and Lapwings over by the wind farm and a single Long-tailed Duck and two Goldeneyes on the lake.
  Also reported today around Dengemarsh and Boulderwall fields, a mobile drake Smew, and two Tundra Bean Geese. 

                                New Discovery Centre, Rye Harbour

                               Lapwing, Rye Harbour

                               Brent Geese, Rye Harbour

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