Trip reports

Field trip to Hastings Country Park and Pett Level

Hobby chasing dragonflies

Saturday, 21 September 2013

We had a great day on Saturday although we did not finish until 5:30 pm and walked over six miles! It was a reasonably warm, but cloudy day, although the breeze at the top of the cliffs was quite brisk.

We started at Hastings Country Park near the visitor centre and had a wander to a small grassed picnic area where there is some perfect migrant habitat. Here we picked up blackcap and chiffchaff, and some other resident birds.

We then walked west to the old quarry, where we had better views of blackcaps and more chiffchaffs, with more resident species including a sparrowhawk. All the time we were here there was a constant stream of swallows heading west. At the end of the quarry we watched a buzzard circling overhead and shortly after a pair of resident ravens flew over, giving good views. On our way back we heard yellowhammer calling and saw whinchat and wheatear, and heard a whitethroat. While we stopped to admire an unusual mushroom (which Ann identified as a shaggy parasol) a hobby flew over our heads and straight out to sea without stopping. Vis mig in action!

After lunch we drove down to Pett Level and set off along the side of the Canal towards the Pannel Valley Reserve. We collected some more resident birds along the way, then heard a raptor calling. A bit of scanning around revealed three more hobbies; one perched in a tree, one flying around catching the numerous dragonflies still present and superb views of one perched on a gatepost. We also saw another raven, kestrel, a pair of marsh harriers and a couple of buzzards..

The Pannel Valley Reserve was a bit disappointing as we only saw gadwall, teal and lapwings. The water levels looked ideal for waders but none could be seen. On the way back though two snipe flew up and away from the side of the Canal.

On the way back towards Winchelsea we stopped at Pett Pools and found a single Sandwich tern, curlew and some ducks. On the beach side a few more waders and three Brent geese flew in.

All told we had 65 species for the day.

Hasting Country Park: Swallow, chaffinch, wood pigeon, meadow pipit, jackdaw, magpie, robin, blackbird (H), chiffchaff, blackcap, wren (H), house martin, green woodpecker (H), goldfinch, jay (H), greenfinch, blue tit, sparrowhawk, dunnock (H), herring gull, yellowhammer (H), whitethroat (H), buzzard, raven, whinchat, wheatear, linnet, hobby, cormorant, great black-backed gull, lesser black-backed gull.

Pett Level & Pannel Valley; (additional birds) - moorhen, coot, mute swan, house sparrow, black-headed gull, gadwall, mallard, shoveler, grey heron, lapwing, crow, marsh harrier, little egret, teal, rook, kestrel, greylag goose, pied wagtail (H), starling, snipe, sand martin, long-tailed tit, great tit, collared dove, willow warbler.

Pett Pools & Beach: Curlew, pochard, wigeon, tufted duck, Sandwich tern, oystercatcher, dunlin, turnstone, Brent goose.