BIRDS OF SEA AND COAST get a category because the centre of our area is just 11 miles (18 km) from the nearest point on the East Sussex coast, and we therefore have quite a few visitors from the low-lying land next to the English Channel. Chief of these are various gulls, often seen feeding with sheep on pasture. But back in 2004 we had the delightful surprise of coming across a party of Lapwing in a ploughed field. Between feeding they were flying playfully and acrobatically, emitting their beautiful, characteristic cries.

The nearest point on the coast is Rye Bay, southeast of Rye town. Beyond that, to the east and northeast, are the flat expanses of the Walland and Romney Marshes, a unique and sparsely inhabited part of Kent that's a paradise for birds. Delimiting this area on its landward side is the Royal Military Canal, dug to protect us from Napoleon. This runs for much of its length along the foot of the hills that mark the beginning of the more familiar areas of "upland" Kent. The large expanse of lowland terminates in a blunt southeasterly point of shingle on which stands the Dungeness nuclear power station. Just inland fom the station the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) maintains a bird reserve (RSPB Dungeness link), and it was here that some of the recordings that will appear on this page were made, in September 2005. Doubtless there will be more visits, but since I've had good equipment this is the only one we've found time for!

Recordings made with Telinga mic plus dish plugged into the HHB Portadisc.

Little Grebe, Tachybaptus ruficollis

After a long time having these birds (which we never saw, as they were chattering from thick bushes overhanging the water) tentatively identified as Ringed Plovers, Izabela Dluzik from Poland kindly identified them correctly as Little Grebes. A short clip is given first so you don't have to download the full sample to find out! In the full sample there's a bit of walking-in noise at the beginning as we repositioned ourselves close to the source of the calls, which was in thick vegetation overhanging the steep bank of the island about 15 yards away.

Little Grebe short 160 kb/s mp3, 140 kb, 7 s

Little Grebe 160 kb/s mp3, 1.9 Mb, 1 min 37 s

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