Monday, 30 December 2019

Rye Harbour

With the promise of a bright day with a modest wind, Phil and I seized the opportunity to bird Rye Harbour in humane conditions and it was most enjoyable. We spent the whole day doing a slow circuit of the reserve, finishing on 79 species (notable omissions included Linnet and Pintail). 48 Dark-bellied Brent Geese included at least 22 young, while other wildfowl included the juvenile Smew, an adult female Goldeneye, and 'casual' counts of 90 Pochards, 250 Shovelers, 155 Gadwall, 145 Teal, 30 Shelducks and 150 Wigeon. A Merlin low overhead was one of the best moments of the day. A Black-necked Grebe was on the Long Pit, along with a Kingfisher. Waders included a vocal Spotted Redshank, 170 Golden Plovers, 290 Lapwings, 31 Grey Plovers, 300 Dunlin, 24 Ringed Plovers, 30 Redshanks, five Curlew, 285 Oystercatchers and three Turnstones. Other birds included three Bullfinches, seven Reed Buntings, three pairs of Stonechats, a Mistle Thrush, 330 Coots, two Green Woodpeckers, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and 12 Skylarks, of which one broke into song.


Five Great White Egrets coming to roost were part of a perfect end to the day at Castle Water, with Cetti's Warblers and Water Rails vocal, and around 70 Fieldfares looking for somewhere to roost while an adult male Peregrine defended its kill against a Carrion Crow, and a Sparrowhawk buzzed the 'mini-murmuration' of 300 or so Starlings. Before dusk, a pair of Marsh Harriers patrolled the reedbeds there and a Buzzard flew over.