Monday 4 July 2011

Rye Harbour and Ashdown Forest outings

Grasshopper Warbler at Rye Harbour

On Saturday evening I went to Old Lodge with Polo, Lord Holmesdale and their friend Colin. Our primary aim was to see Nightjars. We went walkabouts while we waited for dusk, this producing five calling Crossbills, a Spotted Flycatcher, several calling Common Redstarts (including two that showed themselves) and a couple of Stonechats. The light slipped away and the first Nightjar started churring in the distance, in an area impossible to view. This was closely followed by a fly-by Woodcock. At least one further Nightjar was heard (at very close range at one point) but, disappointingly and rather surprisingly, none were seen. I don't remember hearing Nightjars before and failing to see them.

Willow Warbler

Yesterday, Canons provided a bit of surprise in the form of an adult Willow Warbler feeding three flesh fledglings a good kilometre, at least, from the nearest breeding site. A Hobby and a Kestrel were seen hunting around Lunch Wood. Eagle picked me up just after 2.00pm and we made tracks for Rye Harbour. He was after Wood Sandpiper and Roseate Tern.

The highlight at Rye was a showy Grasshopper Warbler that even allowed itself to be photographed. At least ten Little Terns put on a good show for us amongst the hundreds of Sandwich Terns and Common Terns. Waders included a single Greenshank, a Common Sandpiper, three or so Green Sandpipers, two Dunlin, around five Ringed Plovers, two Little Ringed Plovers and many Redshanks (including juveniles), Oystercatchers and
Lapwings. The only raptors seen were a female Kestrel and a male Marsh Harrier.

Alas, no Roseate Tern or Wood Sand for Ian but he did get a compensation lifer - the Grasshopper Warbler. Castle Water (where the Sandpiper was meant to be) was a lot further off than we thought it was, plus we got lost on the way so we only actually ended up leaving the site at 10.00pm!!! Our presence at this time of day did have its perks as we found when we were enjoying good views of a couple of Badgers!