About Me

I am a novice to birding and have become interested since walking Frank our dog, a cross Flat Coat / Springer around Hastings Country Park and the surrounding area, I realised the little brown birds weren't just sparrows.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

This week to 28th November

Gale force winds and heavy showers have persisted throughout the week and the temperature has slowly started to drop. With the ground now becoming waterlogged the majority of the dog walks have been towards Rye from Dogs Hill along the beach.
The usual birds have been seen in varying numbers from day to day Gulls plus Turnstone, Oystercatcher, Knot, Grey Plover, a few Dunlin, Lapwing numbers increasing on Pett Level along with a good sized flock of displaying starlings, Curlews seen as it gets dark coming into roost on the reserve.
Hastings Country Park on Saturday 28th produced good views of a Raven croaking over the headland, and plenty of other activity only I hadn't taken my bins as it looked like another heavy shower was due.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

This week and a visit to West Pagham with Paul James

This week has again be mild again with temperatures to 15 deg. wet and the winds have strengthened as the week went on. I managed an afternoon walk on the Monday to Pannel Valley, a few Shoveler on Carters Flood, a Kingfisher standing on the wall by the bridge and 2 Marsh Harriers hunting over the reed beds at Pannel. The lake now has plenty of water in but still no birds.
Wednesday pm took a walk from Dogs Hill along the beach to Harbour Farm Barns and back.

Plenty of gulls and several Turnstone, the pools near the barns were empty.
A brief lull in the winds on Saturday morning took me to Pett Pools with 8 Redshank, Shoveler, Mallard, Gadwall, Canada and Greylag Geese, with Golden Plover, Lapwing and Curlew in the fields. On the beach Turnstone, Oystercatcher gulls and a Summer plumage Black Headed Gull


On Sunday despite a forecast of heavy showers and strong winds 6 of us met at 8.30 at the Chichester gravel pits known as Ivy lake in search of the 2 Whooper swans that had been seen several times earlier in the week. On going down the footpath we were told that they had just flown, but continued down to see Gadwall, Shoveler, Tufted Ducks, hundreds of Coote, and plenty of Mute Swans, a Greater Spotted Woodpecker was heard and then seen and a Chiff Chaff also heard. We then set off for the Visitors centre at Sidlesham. At Sidlesham Ferry Pool in the pouring rain of note were Shelduck we then set off for the Advocet roost on the harbour but with the strong winds they must have been sheltering behind a bank as all we could see were several Redshank and Teal on the long channel. on the way back a Cetti's was calling.
Next stop was at Church Norton with the skys darkening we to took the footpath to the hide, as we got in the heavens opened.Closely followed by another party of birders, but we had the front row seats and initially it looked as though the harbour was empty. On close inspection on the mud flats there were hundreds of waders, including Grey Plover, Dunlin, Knot, Ringed Plover, Golden Plover, Curlew, Bar Tailed Godwit. Turnstone, Red Shank, Little Egret, Oyster Catcher the usual Gulls and one Med. Gull. Various ducks, a Kingfisher, heard a Water Rail and, and saw my first Red Breasted Mergansers. A male Kestrel posed on a gravestone in the churchyard. After lunch and a search in the bushes we may have caught a brief sighting of a Firecrest and set for the beach which proved fruitless and with rough seas, gale force winds and once again the rain we hastily returned to the cars. 4 decided to call it a day, that left Paul and two of us to head off to the North Wall. There it was relatively quiet until a female Merlin flew over the Breech Pool sending everything up including hundreds of Black Tailed Godwit, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Wigeon, Teal, and so on, next a female Sparrow Hawk took her turn. Then a couple of hundred Brent Geese appeared in the distance and flew onto the harbour water.

Next on the scene was a Kestrel and all the birds by now were nervous, after seeing a couple of Reed Buntings and 3 Rock Pipits we now became 2 and Paul and I set off back to Ivy Lake for the Whooper Swans. On the first pit we saw hundreds more duck which included Tufted, Shoveler, Wigeon, Pochard, Mallard, Gadwall, and a single Scaup. Despite searching until darkness fell at 4.30 we had no luck with Whooper Swans.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

This week to 14th November

The weather still remains mild for the time of year, and having had a couple of days off work, on Wednesday we decided to have a day out went off to the Cuckmere Valley. Although there were threatening dark grey clouds we headed off down the footpath from the visitor centre to the beach, Little Egret, Little Grebes, and Redshank were all showing well. There was a lot work going on on the beach clearing shingle from the river mouth so turned back up along the river where Pied Wagtail and Stonechat were numerous. After lunch in the Golden Galleon we went to Friston Forest a little muddy but the autumn leaves were quite spectacular

Very little bird life except for several Chaffinches and a large brown thing was it a Kestrel or maybe a Tawny Owl - we will never know.

Saturday has brought gale force winds the strongest of the Autumn so far, and heavy showers, it doesn't look good for tomorrow either.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Rye Harbour and Castle Water

Having had a planned walk around Old Lodge on Ashdown Forest cancelled due to possible bad weather, this afternoon I took myself off with Frank, parked at Dogs Hill and headed off along the Sea path with the tide coming in a small strip of sand left held several Oystercatchers, a possible ringed plover and 2 Knot, we headed inland towards Castle Water. At the start of Long Pit there were many Pochard and a couple of Scaup, the path round to CastleWater was really muddy and we won't be doing this again this winter. In the gloom there were many little brown things flitting around the bushes, A flock of Long Tailed Tits were noted as were several Chaffinches. On arrival at the hide not a great deal to report, Mute Swans, Canada Geese, Cootes, Moorhen, Little Grebe, Shoveler, Tufted, Mallard, Wigeon, Cormorants, Grey Heron but no Little Egret. The water level had certainly risen since last time I was here on the 4th .With time getting on we set off for the View Point and what a dissappointment absolutely nothing.
We fast tracked up the road to Rye Harbour turned down by the Nook Fishery and disturbed a Sparrow Hawk, on harbour farm pools there were a couple of Redshank and at the new hide there was another on the Quarry, in the distance a colony of gulls could be seen along with a few unrecognisable birds due to the bad light. With darkness creeping in we hot footed back along the sea road seeing several flocks of Lapwing heading on to the reserve to roost.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

A wet and windy Sunday

After having a wet and windy night the forcast for today was to be getting brighter and the winds easing, so set off for Pett Pools, the roads to Pett Level were heavily puddled we must have had at least an inch of rain overnight. On arrival the only thing moving were a few hundred Lapwing and the reeds against a fresh south eastery. The pools were deserted save for a few Mallard and a couple of Pied Wagtail by the roadside. I decided to head for Castle Water as water levels were on rise but with threatening clouds decided the half hour walk could prove to be a soaking and headed off for Dungeness. First stop was the ARC hide (protection from the wind and drizzle)
From the hide on the distant island every inch was taken with either Great Black Backed Gulls or Cormorants with Shovelers in the margins. On the nearer islands were Teal, Wigeon and Lapwing. A few Pintail were under the water tower and a couple of Golden Eye were riding the waves in the centre of the pit. A Gooseander was seen briefly and flew south, A Marsh Harrier sitting in the reeds took off but soon perched back into a willow.
With the rain coming straight through the windows of the hide I decided to head for the Dengemarsh Hide, on passing Hookers Pits 2 Little Grebes scurried across the water and I heard a call I couldn't recognise (a musical tridley dee dee dupe) or was it someones mobile phone!
At the Dengemarsh Hide there were Shoveler, Pintail, Gadwall, and Tufted Ducks a couple of Marsh Harriers put in a good appearance as did the Great White Egret. On the way out I stopped at Burrows Pit along with several others but the Glossy Ibis weren't showing.

This afternoon with the winds dropping I took Frank to Dog's Hill


a quick walk along the beach round to Harbour Farm Barns and back produced about 30 Curlews, 1 Stonechat and a Barn Owl on the electric pylon near to the barns, but flew when a car with Terry from East Enders stopped and asked the way!

Saturday, 7 November 2009

This week to 7th November

This week the weather has still been relatively mild with the rain coming over night. Monday pm I took a walk along the canal to Carters Flood and Pannel Valley after having heard of Barn Owls in the area. First stop Carters flood and at 4.10pm 2 Barn Owls were hunting in the nearbye fields, walking on towards Pannel Valley a King Fisher flew inches off the canal for some distance, and a couple of Stonechats were in the bushes. By the bridge at Pannel Sewer a Marsh Harrier appeard from nowhere and flew up the valley while a Sparrow Hawk was causing havoc amoungst a large flock of Starlings, 3 Cettis Warblers and a Water Rail were heard.


Thursday morning at 7.30 I looked out of the lounge window to see the Wood Pigeon migration was well under way with 900 plus passing over the garden in just 20 minutes, Cliff Dean reported on Friday of 20,000 going over the country park,


Saturday a.m. I was on the country park from 7.00 - 8.30am and only saw 2 flocks around 30 surely they have not all gone or is it because of the strong winds and rain of last night that they have held back. Not much else to report other than 6 Yellowhammers were in the trees in the Quarry.

Saturday p.m. we went down to the canal again straight away saw a Barn Owl over the fields by Carter's Flood, a Marsh Harrier came accross the levels from Pett Pools and flew up Pannel Valley and a single Stonechat was in the bushes, Cettis were calling everywhere.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

This week to 1st. November

This week has been extremely mild, and very little wind until today. So I would have expected some good birding, however once again due to work I only managed a couple of trips, Wednesday afternoon was Rye Harbour and did a circuit around Turnery Pool, saw the new hide and a lone Redshank on the Quarry pool, on the beach there were hundreds of gulls, Curlews, and Oystercatchers spread along the sands from the river mouth to Dogs Hill and a group of about 30 Ringed Plover.

Saturday morning at dawn on the firehills there was very little going on except for a few flocks of small things going high overhead, a couple of flocks of Woodpigeon heading SW and a couple of Yellow Hammers near the car park. A trip in the afternoon over to Cliff End and back found a flock of Gold Finches in Lower Waites Lane

Sunday gale force winds and heavy rain!