European Bee-eaters - Greece 2019

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Saturday, 5 January 2019

Rye area 5/1/19

With being at work since the new year I was desperate to get out birding. I was however unsure in which direction to travel, with there being some good birds at either end of the county. I opted on the east and ended up having an excellent day from dawn to dusk.

I started the day before first light at the Castle Water viewpoint in the hope of a Bittern. I had what was probably this species before it got light but views were beyond awful. I was pleased to see five Great White Egrets leave their roost in a tight pack heading east. My main reason for heading out this way was to hopefully see the trio of Twite on Flat Beach, despite them being extremely mobile and erratic in their appearances. Sadly the early morning attempt didn't succeed.

I was keen to keep heading east where I came across a single Tree Sparrow, and then the two Whooper Swans at Scotney that were easily viewable from the double bends.

Heading back towards Rye the Twite had been seen again and so I rushed down to Flat Beach and after a short wait the trio of Twite were spotted on the fence and then happily feeding on the edge of the saltmarsh. Only my second sighting of this species in Sussex.

Next up was Pett Levels where I failed to find any Velvet Scoters offshore, although plenty of Common Scoters were present. There were plenty of Divers and Auks moving as well but the main interest was on the fields where I could only find eight White-fronted Geese among the Greylags, and after some effort five Ruff and a single Black-tailed Godwit were found among the Lapwing and Curlew. A distant Great White Egret was also present, now my sixth of the day.

Back at Rye, I walked from Winchelsea to Long Pit where initially all I could find were two Black-necked Grebes. Then amazingly out of nowhere, four stunning Goosanders (including three drakes) dropped in for only 15 minutes. A cracking drk Goldeneye was also found.

With the day coming to a close I spent the last hour at the viewpoint again and was rewarded with a male Marsh Harrier, a Green Sandpiper and a great count of eight Great White Egrets coming into roost.

Twite on Flat Beach

Goosanders on Long Pit

Black-necked Grebe on Long Pit

Great White Egret at Castle Water
A minimum of nine seen today.