Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Rye Harbour and Pett (and Hastings)

On New Year's Eve, Nick and I went to Rye Harbour so I could show him where I cut my birding teeth, as it were, and also hopefully meet the Glossy Ibis at Pett Level (but we didn't manage that). It was a mostly fine but blowy day with occasional squally showers, and we reached Rye Harbour at about 10am.

The beach reserve continues to change dramatically - there is even more water around than there used to be, with the 'wader scrape' now extending much further westewards and separated from the Ternery Pool only by the old footpath. From some way off it was evident that the flat beach area (which is now really more water than beach) was loaded with Golden Plovers, though from the actual hide the light was poor and everything was a little on the distant side.

Goldens on the wing. Without any apparent reason they were restless, big and small flocks taking off and flying about before settling again. The large flocks looked quite amazing as they turned in the sunlight, their white underneaths flashing and sparkling like a flung handful of glitter, in a way that a still photograph cannot begin to convey.

Two close-ish flypasts - Shelduck and Oystercatcher.

We walked down to the beach - the tide was some way out and on the shore were many gulls and more Oystercatchers, and a few Sanderlings also, though all a long way off, only just ID-able through Nick's scope.

Besides assorted gulls the most evident flyovers were Cormorants, this young one sporting a striking leopard-print belly.

We didn't go to the far Ternery Pool hide but visited the one at the eastern edge. From here were the usual commoner duck species, plenty of Lapwings and a lone Little Grebe.

The other hide though, the one looking east across the now vast wader scrape, was Little Grebe city. The wind had really picked up at this point and the grebes were mostly tucked in one sheltered corner, which they shared with a pair of Gadwalls. Here are seven, but there were at least seven more just out of shot.

Also here were industrial quantities of Wigeons, some resting and some flying about.

The walk back to the car park didn't reveal a lot, and we opted to drive on to Pett Level. Here it was really windy and very cold, and our scanning of the fields in search of the Glossy Ibis was to no avail. The tide was in by this point so no wader action on the beach either. The pools were quite busy with wildfowl but nothing new except for the usual Curlews on the fields and a Brent Goose or two feeding with a bunch of Canada Geese.

Then it was on to Hastings for a non-birding afternoon but we did park at Rockanore and found a handful of Fulmars already back on the cliffs.


Phil said...

Sounds like a very nice way to spend the last day of the year Marianne. Bad luck with the Glossy! Good luck for the new year!

Marianne said...

Thanks, Phil, and good luck to you too for 2016 :) My New Year's Day post (from Dunge) is coming soon!