Great Crested Newt

1/2/2017 – Look what I found on my (muddy) back doorstep tonight! The colony, wherever they are located are still around.

Tricia

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Grass Snake rescue

On Monday evening a neighbour here in Greenacres brought me a Grass Snake in a bucket, saying it had got stuck in the netting covering her pond. She had cut out a section of the netting in order to put the snake in the bucket and covered it with a towel, but it was still firmly enmeshed in the cut out piece of net, and was also quite lively!

After seeking further advice I kept it in the bucket overnight so it would cool down, in the hope it would be less lively in the morning and easier to handle. This worked to a certain extent, but it still writhed strongly so I had to hold it firmly with both hands, while Anne managed to cut it free using scissors. Wearing disposable gloves did little stop me being smeared in the smelly stuff they exude to avoid being eaten!  You can see how much of this white substance it produced in the bottom of the bucket.

The photos show the Grass Snake after the netting had been cut away, and the piece of net that was removed. Finally I took it to a safer place with lots of suitable habitat and released it by the Royal Military Canal at Winchelsea where it slithered off into the long grass as if nothing had happened.

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Ralph

 

Morning walk

23/7/16 As I walked down Wheel Lane towards Sprays Bridge a Grass Snake slithered across the road & disappeared into the leaf litter at my feet. I got a clear view of its yellow neck collar.
The photo shows a Broad-leaved Helleborine in flower in the woodland beyond the pond on the 1066 Path towards Brede.
Libby20140719_173608

Spring in the air

4/3/16 Friday was a lovely, sunny day. I did my usual walks on the 1066 Path from Sprays Bridge. The Blue Tits, Great Tits & Long-Tailed Tit were all very active. I particularly enjoyed watching several pairs of Goldcrests. These delightful, tiny birds seem quite happy to be near people. I did not need binoculars to watch them & one pair came so close to me that I could have touched them. 4 Buzzards were flying above the field with the pond.

In the evening I went toad hunting. Neighbours had reported seeing toads in our pond. I could hear toads croaking. Using a torch I counted six pairs.

6/3/16 We noticed a pair of Blue Tits investigating a nest box. We then realised we had not fitted a nest hole plate to the box. Last year the same box was used by Blue Tits but the nest with young in it was destroyed – possibly by a Great Spotted Woodpecker. My husband fitted the plate. We were pleased to see the Blue Tits return to the box almost immediately.

Libby

Slow-worms in Westfield

Hello,

My name is Sophie, that’s me in the photo.

I found a slow-worm at the bottom of the garden under my up-turned wheelbarrow in the long grass because Slow worms like to live in long grass; I doubt you’ll ever find a slow-worm under up-turned things in short grass but you could try! I found this slow-worm on a very hot day quite near to the beginning of the holiday! I have found slow-worms on a few occasions and most of them were different.

Whitelands Wood

Interesting observation from Dan Stratford –

Thought I would let you know that Min, Poppy and I went for a gorgeous walk up in Whitelands wood and we must have seen and heard about 15 frogs in the pond down there. I was very curious to their model and looked them up. Now they were bright lime green and it was a toss up between the Common Frog and Marsh Frog but I am fairly sure they were Marsh Frogs. We, well I, also saw a huge Common Lizard about 6ins long ! It really was Jurrasic World up there!

Dan Stratford

Grass Snake, and Whitethroats

20/06/2015 This Grass Snake was found sleeping under a log by our pond. The log was replaced immediately.
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I missed the excitement as I was watching Whitethroat from the 1066 Path. One bird shot up from a bush & did an amazing aerial flight making a noisy, chattering sound. Another flew over the Cow Parsley chasing insects. It made lots of acrobatic twists & turns & again made loud calling sounds.
Libby
With apologies to Libby for late posting, which was due to one of us being away with no access to the internet. Contributors are encouraged to send in sightings to both of us as we are unlikely to be away at the same time.
Many thanks.
Ralph — Dave

Great Crested Newt

Great Crested Newts seem to be scarce in the local area, so it is very encouraging to have received a report that they do exist in Westfield parish. This record has been submitted –

“One very wet night as I let our dog out for his ablutions, I saw a Great Crested Newt on the back steps, presumably looking for food. They look like black salamanders! Think they have been around on and off for some years as I also saw one about 6 years ago in the same area. Only ever see them in very wet conditions and at night when they get caught in the beam from the security light.”

Due to their apparent scarcity in the parish and the fact that Great Crested Newts are a fully protected species, it has been decided to keep the location and the observer’s name confidential. This is the first record we’ve encountered for Westfield so we would welcome further observations of this species if you know of any other locations within the parish. Here is a useful link on the BBC website, and a map below showing records in Sussex up until 2004 (click to enlarge). GCN Sussex SAP records 2004 Dave — Ralph

Birds, Slow-worm, and Hedgehog signs etc

Sarah has kindly posted some comments under the recent Grey Wagtail posting, but we thought her interesting comments merited a whole new posting here. Thank you Sarah!

Ralph — Dave

Hi – I saw a Grey wagtail at Bateman’s National Trust garden this September (2014), feeding by the mill stream in the large wildlife conservation area, near the old mill, and deeply fragrant weeping lime trees (their nectar loved by bees, but makes bees a bit too sleepy sometimes). Sitting very still on the grass bank, I watched the wagtail for about 7 to10 minutes, moving and working its way along the fairly fast-flowing bubbling stream. No camera with me unfortunately. Thought it might have been a continental Yellow Wagtail at one point, but think it was actually a Grey wagtail. I know its Burwarsh and not Westfield, but it was a joy to see.

On the beech at Pett Level, (3rd week in Sept ’14), between 6 – 7pm, many Swallows flew over my head (I would say 100 swallows at least probably), feeding on the wing. It was an amazing sight and wildlife encounter. Pett Level wading birds: In early October (2014), I also saw about 7 curlews and about 8 white egrets there, and many oyster catchers, as the tide went out.

Have a Green woodpecker in my Westfield garden (fairly regular bird visitor), pair of Mistle thrushes, Wren, Robin, Greenfinch and other small birds. I found a 3 inch long thick furry moth caterpillar in my compost heap, and a Slow worm, and a young Toad.

I have also found signs of a Hedgehog; ~ very occasionally now and then some Hedgehog droppings, and what looks like a regular small Hedgehog pathway made in the grass, and going under the wire netting fence into my neighbour’s garden (July/August 2014).

Sarah

Common lizard

Had a little visitor to our garden on Monday – first we’ve seen here.

Ron in Greenacres

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    WESTFIELD WILDLIFE has been created for Westfield residents and visitors to submit news and photos of any wildlife observed in the Parish. We also aim to post our own sightings and topical wildlife news as often as time allows.

    WESTFIELD PARISH lies just to the north of the coastal town of HASTINGS in E. Sussex (south east UK), and a MAP of the area covered by the Parish is here http://www.westfieldvillage.co.uk/maps

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