17th June 2016 – Serins & Cuckoos

A couple of decent local reports from the previous day enthused me to put aside midsummer birding apathy and have a look around Shooters Bottom this evening. Yesterday’s migrant Cuckoo (JC) had been joined by another. The two barely tolerating each others presence. Similar dates to the two I had last June and a reminder of how fleeting a visit Cuckoos pay during the British summer. Their time in the UK must be the shortest of any breeding, summer migrant. They literally drop off the kids and run…

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Pleased with that little seasonal interlude and hopes fading of finding the Serin seen at Hodcombe the previous day I was about to leave. As I neared the cattle trough a high pitched, wheezy call coming from the elders caught my attention. I could just make out the stubby features of a female Serin which quickly departed west. In an effort to re-find it I came across a male in full song along the roadside opposite Hodcombe sounding like a pocket sized Corn Bunting. Bingo! The first Serin I have seen at Beachy Head and my first in the UK for absolutely ages, perhaps two decades. These will be part of the family group (consisting of 2 adults and a juvenile) seen by RC in his garden at Hodcombe on the 16th. It’s a logical deduction these birds have bred locally to Beachy Head.

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