15th July 2018 Yellow legged Gulls

Another few days of very fine settled weather. A Whimbrel came in off the sea at Birling on the evening of the 13th and 2 Reed Warbler were in Shooters Bottom on the morning of the 15th. More enjoyable then any of that was the appearance of the summers first Yellow legged Gulls with two present at Princes Park late evening on the 15th.

 

5T6A4609

Bird 1

5T6A4540

 

5T6A4557

Bird 2.

5T6A4530

5T6A4502

5T6A4462

Posted in beachy head birding | Leave a comment

13th July 2018 Nightingale and Cuckoo

Another fine morning with a slight easterly breeze. The fine weather just goes on and on. I’m unsure why the insignificant, annual ritual of trying to see the seasons first departing Willow Warblers still motivates me but it does.

5T6A4336

A moulting Nightingale in Shooters Bottom this morning.

I didn’t see any this morning but an early Nightingale in Shooters Bottom and a juvenile Cuckoo definitely went some way to give the morning some flavour. Although I hope there are many, warm summer days to come, for some of these birds it’s already time to think about leaving.

Posted in beachy head birding | Leave a comment

June 2018 – A brief round up

The glorious summer weather continues, predominantly easterly dominated high pressure with weak east winds, strengthening towards the months end. Temperatures frequently in the high 20c’s to 30c.

5T6A4049

Meadow Pipit panting in the heat.

I had begun to pay a bit more attention to the headland towards the solstice as often 1 or 2 departing Cuckoo linger in Shooters Bottom but I was unable to find any, the first year in 4 that I haven’t seen one. The only signs of movement were a Lapwing over on the 25th and two small groups of Sand Martin on the 29th and 30th, the latter of which were out over the sea at Birling. They were my first signs of seasonal bird movement, i.e. birds leaving the UK. There’s small family parties of Stonechat & Linnet beginning to appear towards the months end. No sign so far of any Little Owls at the old sheep centre at East Dean where they had at least one owlet this time last year.

I’m going to be absent from Sussex for most of July and early August so will regrettably miss the first few migrant warblers etc that occur over that period but will be back for the more interesting, latter part of August.

 

Posted in beachy head birding | Leave a comment

May 2018

IMG_4809

Sunset at Beachy Head.

No excuses I did very little birding on Beachy Head throughout May this year, I think a successful spell in late April and a trip to Estonia eroded the enthusiasm a bit. Here’s a pretty picture of sunset on the 30th May 2018.

 

 

Image | Posted on by | Leave a comment

21st & 22nd April 2018 Black Kite, Little Bunting and Alpine Swift!

Saturday 21st was fine with a stiff easterly breeze. Overnight rain with east winds Sunday dawning cloudless with a moderate SW wind.

I had been bemoaning my lack of local good fortune, having not found much in the way of true scarcities since a pair of Red rumped Swallow in May 2016. Although I think I may have used up a fair amount of good luck this weekend with 3 very good finds within 24hrs. You just gotta keep chipping away, eventually something comes your way!

5T6A3865

Little Bunting.

A very nice bright individual and not really on the radar as a spring find here.

5T6A3880

The bird was quite tame and very vocal, giving its familiar “tick” call, mostly in flight.

5T6A3900

Whilst birding Shooters on the morning of the 22nd I hadn’t seen much beyond a few Willow Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat and 5 Common Whitethroat and a Ring Ouzel. Going on to walk the main ride I came across a small passerine feeding ahead of me on the path, raising my bins to discover it to be a very smart Little Bunting!. The bird initially went missing for an hour before reappearing but in the interim I picked up an Alpine Swift, so low over head bins were not needed, heading into the wind in a westerly direction. A pretty amazing streak of good fortune all within 60 minutes and the Alpine Swift being something I have long dreamed about finding on Beachy Head.

I was pleased a number of locals and Beachy Head stalwarts were able to catch up with the Bunting although only I and Bob Edgar saw the Swift, Bob being next to me as I picked it up over head.

5T6A3702

The Alpine Swift scything through the air heading west, probably on show for less than a minute. Typically, it wasn’t hanging about!

5T6A3707

On Saturday the 21st, less then 24hrs previous to the excitement of the 22nd, Jamie Partridge and I were doing our best to give the whole headland a once over, with little in return beyond a Ring Ouzel in Francis Bottom and 2 Red Kite when out of the blue whilst on Went Hill I got brief views of what I shouted as a Black Kite. The views we got were rubbish and the photo’s even worse. Being close to the car at Crow Link, we jumped in and tore off towards the pub at Beachy Head in the hope of intercepting the bird there, assuming it continued in it’s initial easterly direction. Thankfully, 50 mins after the first views, the bird appeared with a Red Kite behind Hodcomb giving much better views and images, although it was always unfortunately pretty distant. 3 Common Swift passed east over the house later the same day, my first of the year.

12

Heavily cropped images of the Black Kite taken from behind the pub, at the top of the headland.

 

 

 

Posted in beachy head birding | Leave a comment

20th April 2018 A few Ring Ouzels

The weather was fine, warm and calm, a combination which usually rings the bell of doom for migrants. Fine weather in spring tends to encourage them to pass over without stopping. Although for some unknown reason there were a few bits of interest to be seen.

5T6A3366

Ring Ouzel.

At least 3, typically shy and flighty Ring Ouzel were new in at Shooters Bottom, a total of c25 Willow Warbler were spread between the Old trapping and Belle Tout, 3 Wheatear, a Merlin whizzed through, a single Brambling and female Common Redstart were below the lighthouse and a Red Kite passed low over the wood. The latter transpired to the the first of c18 seen over Beachy Head and Eastbourne.

Both Lesser and Common Whitethroat can now be heard singing on the headland in small numbers. My first being seen on the 16th and 18th April respectively.

5T6A3452

Red Kite low over Belle Tout Wood.

5T6A3434

Posted in beachy head birding | Leave a comment

17th April 2018 Pied Flycatcher

Sunny day strong southerly wind.

5T6A3239

Having been away until the previous afternoon, I haven’t had much time over the last 7 days. And this morning was slightly curtailed by running various errands! I did however come across what’s undoubtedly yesterdays Pied Flycatcher in the wood at Belle Tout, a female showing nicely in the spring sunshine. Although yesterdays bird seems to have a more white on the greater covert tips and more white in the base of the primary feather seen here. I’ve only seen single birds in spring and all between the 12th and 16th April, a very narrow 5 day window.

5T6A3237

Posted in beachy head birding | Leave a comment