In an attempt to establish how many bird species could be found within Hastings and St Leonards between dawn and dusk on Jan 1st, Sharon Bigg, Andrew Grace and I joined forces today.
In the event, heavy and persistent rain halted proceedings just before One o’clock, by which time we had recorded 48 species. We started by seawatching from Rock-a-Nore and Marine Court, which proved quite interesting with a steady passage of Red Throated Divers [30+], Kittiwakes [60+] and Gannets [50+], with smaller numbers of auks-Guillemot identified, a few Shelducks and Brent Geese, a Grey Plover, and the days best bird, a Great Skua heading W quite close in.
After walking along the front to Bulverhythe, where we finally caught up with House Sparrow and Starling after nearly 4 hours of urban birdwatching, he headed inland to Coombehaven. We found quite a few new species in this impressive wetland area , including Redwings and Fieldfares, Reed Bunting and Cettis Warbler. Unfortunately the rain soon began in earnest- a Goldfinch sheltering in a bush was our last species, and we decided to call it a day.Sloshing back through the streets behind Marine Court we were amazed to find a freshly dead Frog on the pavement- Common I think.
The plan was to have carried on to Alexandra Park and perhaps Hastings Country Park and no doubt we could have seen many more species there, had the weather been kinder :65 seems a realistic total, giving the absence of easy species like Mallard, Linnet, Greenfinch etc. Better luck next time ?