Bird highlights this month were probably several sightings of Snow Bunting on the Beach reserve, with two present on the 12th and 18th. This species mainly breeds in the Arctic from Scandinavia to Canada and in the UK it’s an uncommon breeder, with perhaps only 60 pairs nesting on the highest Scottish peaks. However, several thousand winter around the northern and eastern coasts of UK though at Rye Harbour this has been a less than annual visitor in recent years. The name of this species probably refers to the snow white summer plumage of the, male, with alternative names including Snowbird, Snowflake and White-winged Lark.
Goosander. Image: James Tomlinson
Waders on Flat Beach Level this month included up to 1400 Golden Plover, 16 Sanderling on the 18th, two Knot on the 30th and an Avocet on the 22nd. Elsewhere, a Greenshank was on Harbour Farm on the 11th and there were regular sightings of Snipe with 12 on Ternery Pool on the 6th. Best of the bunch were a Little Stint on Flat Beach Level on the 7th and three Jack Snipe on the new saltmarsh on the 3rd. Offshore, there were up to 690 Gannet on the 21st, small numbers of Razorbill, Guillemot and a Red-throated Diver on the 19th. More surprising were several sightings of Sandwich Tern, with at least 15 at the River Mouth on the 21st, while a Yellow-legged Gull was on Castle Farm on the 11th. Waterfowl included up to 30+ Pintail at Castle Water and the first records of Goldeneye for the
Gannet fishing off Camber Sands
winter on Harbour Farm on the 25th, while a male Mandarin on Castle Water on the 12 was unexpected! Waterfowl highlights this month were a Black-necked Grebe at Castle Water (presumably the same bird which has been present most of the year), regular Spoonbill and several sightings of ‘redhead’ (female or immature) Goosander between the 6th and 21st (with two present on the 18th). From once being a very rare visitor to the reserve, Great White Egret has become very regular, and at least seven bird were present on the 1st this month. Despite the lateness of the season there were several sightings of Swallow on the reserve this month, with two on the 13th and 22nd, while more expected visitors included regular Stonechat, the occasional Rock Pipit and between 1500-2000 Starling from the viewpoint on the 30th. In addition, there were several sightings of Black Redstart during November with singles on Harbour Farm on the 11th and the Beach Reserve on the 30th and two near the viewpoint from the 25th.
Black Redstart. Image: James Tomlinson
Little in the way of invertebrate sightings this month as you would expect, though there were still a few records of Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell Common Darter and Migrant Hawker. We still managed a couple of new species for the reserve though, with several leaf mines of the Coast Bramble Pigmy moth on the Beach Reserve on the 18th and an adult of the leaf hopper Idiocerus herrichi at Castle Water on the 3rd. Still quite a few plants in flower this month, including Sticky Groundsel, Autumn Hawkbit, Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Ivy-leaved Toadflax, Herb Robert, Wild Carrot, Bristly Ox-tongue, Viper's Bugloss, Red Valerian and Yellow Horned-poppy.