Friday, 31 January 2014


According to my thirteen year old daughter "sick" is really good.  I have taken this to mean that sick is the equivalent of "wicked" in my youth (yes - I did have one) or "ace" in her grandfathers youth, and not ill - which is what I was all last week leading to the cessation of all activity.  This afternoon I was finally able to escape the clutches of work and disease and get out on the levels where the heavens soon opened exactly as forecast.  The second winter Med pictured above was in the flooded fields near Norman's Bay this afternoon - I am not a massive gull fan but have always enjoyed Med gulls and second winter has always been my plumage of choice. Sick...
Zip all else to be seen on the levels with 11 Teal near Rickney the best given the comparative absence of duck this year.  Nearby the Slavonian Grebe was still at Prince's Park in Eastbourne just before dusk and was a useful excuse for avoiding the weekly shop at Morrison's!

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Soft - Heavy in places

On the levels at dawn this morning for WEBS counting on Down Level.  The comparison between this year and last is really very stark - There are very few duck this year, presumably due to the milder weather, and no SEO that I am aware of compared to at least 5 for the corresponding weekend last year.  Still, the weather was good and there were good overwintering birds to be seen, the best of which was the better marked of the ringtail Hen Harriers quartering the area nearest Rickney soon after dawn being mobbed by one of the local Peregrine (looked like the male). Numbers as follow:
Hen Harrier - 1 ringtail
Peregrine - 2
Buzzard - 1
Herring Gull - 46 (inc 1 argentatus)
LBB Gull - 2
Stock Dove - 1
Fieldfare - 5
Lapwing - 15
Shelduck - 2 (pair displaying)
Little Egret - 2 (1 on Down, 1 on Mappins)
Marsh Harrier - 1 (cream cap quartering Mappins)

Moving on to Norman's Bay produced another Marsh Harrier, this time a male quartering the fields and ditches near the Star Inn.

The afternoon involved an excursion for the girls to go shopping in Rye so I dropped them off and nipped away for a couple of hours looking at gravel pits.  North point was disappointing with nothing of any note and the same was true of Camber Pits which held 2 Great Crested Grebe and a few Coot.  Scotney was much better with the cracking Long-tailed Duck well into Sussex and 2 Tundra Bean Geese which were a bit on the marginal side border wise.
Final stop for the afternoon was the ARC pit at Dungeness.  Bird of the day here in the shape of a Glossy Ibis preening on what was left of one of the islands before flying off in classic prehistoric manner.  In addition 3 Great White Egret & 3 Little Egret helped keep my white heron habit satisfied.  Also here were at least 3 redhead Smew, drake Goosander, 5+ Marsh Harrier, Goldeneye, Shoveler, Pochard, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Wigeon, Teal etc all in numbers.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Can you hear it coming?

Afternoon stroll disrupted by the sea defences' (I really mean the beach) being reinforced (or replaced) dependent upon your viewpoint.  Cannot believe that these beasts are not part of the problem...
Horse-eye - 1 ringtail, 1 Peregrine, 2 Stock Dove courting, 60 Fieldfare.  Also of note was a group of 12 Moorhen all feeding in the corner of one of the fields near Rickney.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Lead us not...

Mrs Leveller's birthday today so little to report other than some nice shops, tea rooms, and country gardenage.  This was on the way home - well, nearly...

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Late stroll

Late afternoon stroll along the beach at Normans Bay - Common Seal fishing offshore in the dusk and a single Purple Sandpiper on the shoreline

Friday, 10 January 2014

Stargazey pie

This evening 2 ringtails, 2 Raven, 5 Little Egret, 5 Kestrel, Green Woodpecker, 17 Pied Wagtail, 150 Lapwing, 34 Fieldfare.
Last night Dara and Brian inspired me to venture into the back garden with the 'scope.  Whilst looking at Jupiter and the Jovian moons, the Orion Nebula, and searching for M81 & M82, Redwing were heard passing over every 5 minutes or so.  Despite the bright moon no Redwing were seen passing in front of it and probably due to that reason I was unable to locate M81 & M82 either!

Sunday, 5 January 2014

After the storms

A much more pleasant feel to this morning and at last some time to get out on the patch.  A dawn tramp across Down and Horse-eye from the New bridge road end was followed by a walk along the beach at Cooden and Norman's Bay which threw up a conundrum on the strand line...  Good to see Rufus down by Looker's cottage watching the harriers.  Numbers as follow:
Merlin - 1 - jill hunting over Down
Marsh Harrier - 2 - cream cap hunting over Down and imm male hunting over Mappins
Hen Harrier - 2 - both ringtails hunting over Horse-eye one of which watched preening for a while from White Dyke
Buzzard - 3 - 1 Downash, 1 Down, 1 Horse-eye
Peregrine - 2 - the resident pair perched on Down level bridge
Water Rail - 2 - 1 Down, 1 Horse-eye
Stock Dove - 2 - At nesting site
Teal - 4 - 2m 2f on Down
Wigeon - 4 - 2m 2f on Horse-eye
Shelduck - 1 - male on Down
Stonechat - 2 - m & f on Down
Fieldfare - 6 - Down
Redwing - 5 - Down
Common Gull - 14 on flood past Looker's cottage
At the beach little of note on the bird front apart from a flock of 30+ Turnstone.  Walking the strand line turned up a Common Starfish and an as yet unidentified invertebrate which looks like it is probably an anemone spp...

Saturday, 4 January 2014

No time for birding...

No time to get out today but as I was driving past Norman's Bay this morning  i couldn't resist a quick look offshore...  80 Brents chugging up channel was all I saw in the briefest of stops.

Friday, 3 January 2014

The four horsemen of the apocalypse...

2 ringtail Hen Harrier before the heavens opened and spewed forth great bolts of forked lightning and torrential rain.  Which was nice.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy New Year

Buzzard over Rickney - nothing of note on Horse-eye or Down.  Lots and lots of water and rain...