30.05.23 Red-tailed Shrike West Rise.

Clear, another day of strong NE winds.

Despite the incessant NE wind, David Thorns found this brilliant Red-tailed Shrike at Eastbourne’s West Rise Marsh today. Found early afternoon, the bird favoured the NW corner of the main lake along a sheltered bramble hedge. Another excellent find from Dave who’s single handedly turning Eastbourne into a bit of a rarity Mecca.

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Clear with a stiff NE wind.

A singing Reed Warbler on Birling lane was the only addition to the usual cast of breeding birds on the headland.

Sunset on the 24th.

The day before saw 2 Spotted Flycatcher and a female Yellow Wagtail put in an appearance, the latter of which looked quite interesting until it stepped into better light. David Thorns had a Wood Warbler which sang and showed briefly on the northern slope of the hollow mid-afternoon on the 23rd. Otherwise it has remained uneventful.

Spotted Flycatcher.

Yellow Wagtail.

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Overcast moderate north wind.

2 Spotted Flycatcher at Birling Gap, 8 Swift arrived in off the sea along with a single Grey Heron. Despite this springs lack of migrants almost evaporating all enthusiasm, one has to remain ever hopeful and enjoy the simple pleasure in looking at the commoner birds comings and goings. Stonechat fledgings have spontaneously appeared in various locations, 2 adult Black headed Gull cycled overhead calling, drifting west perhaps the first sign of failed breeders leaving the colonies already.

Lesser Whitethroat in song at Shooters, there are at least 2 or 3 singing males present here and a similar number to the east of Belle Tout wood.

3 Spotted Flycatcher and a Yellow Wagtail were seen on the 21st May (AR/ME)

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Clear almost imperceptible NNE wind.

2 of 3 Red Kite that were knocking about on the 16th.

A very quiet morning, 6 House Martin and 3 Swift in with very little else seen. 3 Red Kite were the lean pickings seen on the 16th. On the 15th David Thorns had a singing Cuckoo in the hollow (scarce in spring here) and during the afternoon a Marsh Harrier arrived in off the sea.

Missing inner primaries and pale streaking to the underside age these Red Kite 2cy birds, which seem to make up the vast majority of these domestic wandering birds.

Green Hairstreak near Belle Tout wood.

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Overcast, rain midmorning with brisk NNE wind.

Looking west on the brighter 10th May.

Today was gloomy & uneventful bar three Red Kite moving east over the headland (RE/DT) it also marks the beginning of a spell of northerly winds, forecast to last towards the end of next week. Whilst there is some interesting weather conspiring on the near continent its with interest to see if anything happens this side of the channel.

The 11th was brighter with a brisk SW wind which saw a Turtle Dove appear briefly in Cow Gap (only my 5th record and my first here since August 2018) whilst the Cetti’s Warbler continues in the Hollow. The 10th, again SW, had the most life in it since my last post with at least a slight suggestion of active migration with, 2 Willow Warbler, 10 Swallow, 2 Sand Martin, 3 Swift and a Tree Pipit over. It has otherwise been fairly dull bird-wise over the last week. Two singing Reed Warbler heard on the 9th.

Common Whitethroat.

A male Kestrel near Holywell on the 11th, this male briefly sparred with another, which given the distance, I doubt was the male from Cornish Farm. I had him down as part of the pair that breed below the RAF monument but maybe there are more that 2 pairs on Beachy Head.

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04.05.23 Pomarine Skuas.

Moderate ENE winds.

A flock of 8 Pomarine Skua heading east at Birling Gap.

Although seawatching has been a bit quiet this spring this morning produced a push of Pomarine Skua, with 19 seen at Beachy Head. It included an impressive flock of 8. Their slow deliberate flight and tendency to travel in packs give them menacing demeanour. A few of todays birds loafed on the sea harassing unsuspecting Kittiwake as they passed.

Otherwise it’s been relatively quiet on land, I had a female Common Redstart and Spotted Flycatcher on the 1st May whilst a female Pied Flycatcher (RC/EC) was also seen. 2 Red Kite and a Yellowhammer on the 30th April. A Greenshank over and a Nightingale in Shooters on 29th April.

Red Kite haven’t been as numerous as most springs so far.

An Adder finding some warmth in whats has been a very cold spring.

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Overcast light/moderate east wind.

Arctic Skua.

I joined Richard and Dave for a seawatch until 9am when I left to check the bushes finding three Lesser Whitethroat in song the only point of interest. My first two Yellow Wagtail came in off the sea. RAB and DT continued for a few hours more, totals represented below from RAB’s Trektellen submission.

A mixed flock of Whimbrel, Bar tailed Godwit and a single Dunlin heading east.

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26.04.23 White crowned Sparrow Hope Gap.

Just three miles east of Beachy Head and after several visits I finally got a decent look at this bird. Although not a “twitcher” going to see an extremely rare bird goes some way to reinforce the belief that rare birds are out there to find! I do have a soft spot for North American avifauna having spent so long over there. This bird was found by Nick Pope on the 22nd April.

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Clear skies light NW.

A little sign of life this morning. A northerly always seems better than a southerly under cloudless skies. Only the top bushes and Shooters Bottom covered. 8 each of Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff, 10 Common Whitethroat, 6 Blackcap, the first Garden Warbler of the year was singing near the pub, 15 Linnet, a pair of Siskin and 4 Swallow moved through whilst a very smart Black Redstart was also seen. AR had a Nightingale in the Hollow.

Black Redstart.

One of two “Greenland” looking Wheatear along Cornish Farm track on the 22nd.

A decent seawatch on the 23rd saw the first Pomarine Skuas recorded along with a good number of Arctic Skua (RB’s Trektellen totals below).

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A continuation of cloudless skies backed by a strong NE wind.

Looking west from Shooters Bottom.

After a relatively cold and uneventful hour staring at the sea, I left RB at Birling Gap to look on land. The bushes were very quiet although there was a highlight, a smart male Ring Ouzel (my first of the year) at Belle Tout. Beyond that a meager total of 4 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 4 Common Whitethroat and a single Swallow were seen this morning.

This mornings Ring Ouzel.

I was away for the first week of April but things have (as yet!) failed to ignite a combination of unfavourable winds and clear skies haven’t helped. The first Common Whitethroat appeared on the 11th, two Great Egret came in off the sea on the 15th and the Barn Owl was seen again later the same day. An unseasonal Dartford Warbler appeared on the 17th, small peak morning counts of 5 Willow Warbler earlier this week reflect the poor totals of common migrants so far this spring. The first Hobby and Tree Pipit were seen arriving in off the sea on the 19th.

Willow Warbler from earlier this week.

Garganey at Birling Gap.

Seawatching has begun to pick up slightly with RB’s totals from the 19th below. That morning a pair of Garganey spent sometime resting at Birling Gap, it made a nice change from the usual flybys of this smart migratory duck.

Mediterranean Gulls passing east on the 19th.

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