17th August 2015 – Pied Flycatcher & friends

Compared to some I’ve not been watching Beachy Head long, a mere 15 months. The correlation between the birds here and weather still baffles me. Last night was a relatively still & clear night, a night perfect for birds to make a channel crossing unfettered. So it’s with surprise that yet again such a night and subsequently glorious morning, seemed to at times be alive with birds. Perhaps it’s because the majority of migrants at this time are UK breeding birds, so maybe some choose to feed up a little longer before flying on to continental Europe? But with both Red backed Shrike and Wryneck at near by Seaford, two species you’d suppose are not UK in origin, does that really ring true?


Willow Warbler, love these this time of year.

Shooters Bottom was relatively mediocre bird wise, nice appearances by Whinchat, Grasshopper Warbler, 3 Sedge Warbler, a “heard only” Nightingale (which at times was singing) & 10 Willow Warbler. Whitethroats perhaps numbered 25/30, seemingly down on some mornings last week but again hard to judge this species which is an abundant breeder on the headland. A loose group of 4 Common Buzzard passed low and lazily over (judging by the moult I’d guess a mix of adult and immature local birds, perhaps a family). I’m pretty sure there is a pair in the East Dean/Crowlink area, a short flap away.


Common Buzzard. A feather perfect juvenile.


Grasshopper Warbler flushed off the ground into taller cover.

Acting on a message from Kris, I called into the Beachy Head Pub car park where he had found both Pied and Spotted Flycatchers. On arrival the Buddleia bush amongst the tables was alive with 10 Willow Warbler, several Painted Lady Butterflies and a Hummingbird Hawkmoth. Both flycatchers were still present with another 10/12 Willows being seen. A Tree Pipit passed over as did a few Yellow Wagtail bringing the total for them to 8 for the morning. The whole area seemed to be teaming with insect life. Small numbers of Sand Martin passed through and 4 Swift. Sparrowhawks numbered 3, a species that seems more apparent here in autumn.


Pied Flycatcher, in the pub garden.


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