21st March 2017

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Guess what? Thats me in Mallorca.

Having spent the previous week cycling in Mallorca, I’m only just catching up with some of the earlier spring migrants that occurred in my absence. 2 Wheatear on the 19th were my first of 2017 with a further 3 this morning. Also of interest was a single Crossbill which I heard passing over whilst in belle tout wood which itself held 2 Chiffchaff. Linnet are beginning to become more apparent with a few singers now audible. JC, DC and RE also had a couple of White Wagtails near Cornish Farm on what was a beautifully sunny but cold morning.

At home todays spring sunshine brought a Common Buzzard over the house, causing panic amongst the gulls as it did so, the first I’ve noted wandering directly over town this year. A Chiffchaff greeted me in the garden when I returned on the 18th. I’m sure it could hold something good at some point.

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First Firecrest of the spring.

A bright day with a cold SW wind.

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A Firecrest amongst the budding branches.

As if on cue the first Firecrest appeared today with a small number in Belle Tout wood. Accompanied by a single Goldcrest and a small mixed flock of Great and Blue Tit. I think these sunny but cold, early days of spring, are some of my favourites especially when these birds arrive breaking the dull winter with flashes of lively colour amongst the bare branches.

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I had 3 together at one point, I suspect there may have been a 4th.

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Cuckmere Caspian Gulls

A few (poor) shots of some of the 6 different Caspian Gulls I’ve seen in the Lower Cuckmere over my last few visits. I had 5 on show at one time in the large congregation south of the Inn. Most enjoyable was the 3rd winter present on Sunday. The others have all been 1st winter birds. These are mostly long range 400mm shots and “phone-scoped” Thanks to Jamie P for letting me reproduce one of his images.

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An elegant looking 3rd winter Caspian Gull.

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1st winter Caspian Gull.

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Caspian Gull Dungeness

An absolute peach of a 1st win. Caspian Gull at Dungeness on the 18th Feb. So perfect it could have walked straight off the pages of Klaus Malling Olsen’s Gull book.

This bird was ringed at paczków, Poland in May 2016.

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2nd win Yellow-legged Gull Dungeness

A rare bit of out of county birding on the 18th Feb to Dungeness, mainly with the goal of looking at and for gulls!. A fairly successful day in that respect with 2 Iceland Gull, 2 Yellow-legged Gull and 3 Caspian Gull seen.

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A nice 2nd winter Yellow-legged Gull at the fishing boats.

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Always looking much smarter then Herring Gulls of the same age with bare part coloration maturing also. You can see the red orbital eye ring on this bird already, characteristic of Yellow-legged Gull.

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Bexhill Waxwings

Are there enough Waxwing photo’s on the internet already this winter? Possibly but as these are the only ones I’ve seen this winter, here are few more.

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Waxwing.

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All seven together.

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January 31st 2017

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So I’m basically in retirement until spring. If there’s a Pine Bunting or Siberian Accentor to find on Beachy Head right now, it probably won’t be me that finds it! Other then visits made relating to the Exmoor ponies I’ve been largely absent. In recent weeks other obs. have revealed at least one Dartford Warbler is still wintering on the headland out of the 3/4 that arrived last October and Rodger Charlwood had a flock of 15 Waxwing briefly at Hodcombe. A Woodcock was in Shooters Bottom on the 28th.

Near by Pevensey Levels has held up to 4 Short eared Owl and a single Hen Harrier. The Cuckmere valley also has been producing low but regular numbers of Caspian and Yellow legged Gull, 2 Glaucous Gull and an Iceland Gull reported on the 28th. It’s so far be relatively sedate in terms of winter storms with no repeat of the transatlantic debris along the beaches compared to last winter.

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