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  • Writer's pictureSim Elliott

07.06.21 Pannel Valley Reserve: A new location

On Monday 07.06.21 I visited the Pannel Valley in East Sussex with a friend who drove. The Pannel Valley Reserve is a private reserve, close to Pett off Pannel Lane. The Valley runs down a valley toward Pett Level, and stops with the former beach of Pett Level, bordered by the Royal Military Canal. For the history of the fascinating Royal Military Canal see: Royal Military Canal - Romney Marsh, The Fifth Continent ( There are two pools in the Pannel Valley, the first with one hide, the second with two. It would be a difficult place to reach by public transport. We had gone there in search of Mediterranean gulls.

A list of birds that can be found here can be found on eBIrd: Pannel Valley WT NR, East Sussex County, ENG, GB - eBird Hotspot

These are photographs from the lowest hide in the reserve, overlooking a poll (scrape)

There were many, many Black0headed Gull chicks on the islands of the scrape.

Parent Canada Geese and a brood of adolescent goslings.

There were a considerable number (ca. 30) Sandwich Terns Sterna sandvicensis nesting.

Shelducks Tadorna tadorna

Black-headed Gulls and their chicks

An Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus (one of only a few)

Photographs taken from the walk along the Military Canal, which runs along the north of the Pett Levels (which were formerly the sea and roughly follows the former Saxon shoreline) from the bottom of the Pannel Valey westwards toward Pett.

A Buzzard Buteo buteo above the tress about 750m from the path.

Now the commonest and most widespread UK bird of prey. The buzzard is quite large with broad, rounded wings, and a short neck and tail. When gliding and soaring it will often hold its wings in a shallow 'V' and the tail is fanned. Buzzards are variable in colour from all dark brown to much paler variations, all have dark wingtips and a finely barred tail. Their plaintive mewing call could be mistaken for a cat. Buzzard Bird Facts | Buteo Buteo - The RSPB

A Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus in the sparse trees along the southside of thee path. The canal is lined by reeds along its edges

A Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus flying over Pannel Valley

The largest of the harriers, the marsh harrier can be recognised by its long tail and light flight with wings held in a shallow 'V'. It is distinguishable from other harriers by its larger size, heavier build, broader wings and absence of white on the rump. Females are larger than males and have obvious creamy heads. Its future in the UK is now more secure than at any time during the last century, but historical declines and subsequent recovery means it is an Amber List species. Marsh harriers are a Schedule 1 listed bird on The Wildlife and Countryside Act. Marsh Harrier Bird Facts | Circus Aeruginosus - The RSPB Whilst it's future is secire the RSPB estimates there are only about 400 breeding bird in the UK

A Grey Heron Ardea cinerea next to one of the ditches that transverse the marsh of Pett Level.

An Oystercatcher on Pett Level

A Canada Goose on Pett Level

We revisited the southernmost pool in Pannel Valley on out return.

An Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta

Sandwich Terns and Black-headed Gulls

Black-headed Gulls and their chicks

A Canada Goose and a Redshank Tringa totanus

Here is a Black-head Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus and a pair of Tufted Cucks (male and female) Aythya fuligula

A Little -Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius and the Tufted Duck Pair

Some views of the scrape (pool)

Some views of Pett Level from the Royal Military Canal

The windmill above the Pannel Valley



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