31st August 2016 Ortolan Bunting.

Another crystal clear morning on Beachy Head with a slight westerly breeze. Bird numbers not as high as yesterday but still a nice selection of species. As usual I covered the scrubby areas around the pub and old trapping area but not Shooters itself where the Wryneck is still present.

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Willow Warbler, about 20+ seen this morning.

I should probably begin with the most significant event of the morning which was a brief encounter with an Ortolan Bunting at 08.30am. I initially heard the bird calling twice before locating 3 birds flying west over the car park of the pub. Two were clearly Chaffinch the third being a slim nondescript bunting. The ID is was wholly based on the call, one with which I am familiar. I saw no features in flight (except no white being visible in the tail) that I could claim to contribute to the birds identity. One of those unsatisfying bird finds if I’m honest. The bird continued to call as the trio headed west towards the old trapping area. I didn’t have time to pursue it and they appeared to continue without dropping.

Despite the noisy presences of His Royal Idiocy Jeremy Clarkson and helicopter film crew I did see a few other birds during a brief visit. 1/2 Pied Flycatcher in the pub garden, two Redstart, a Spotted Flycatcher, 40+ Whitethroat, a Grasshopper Warbler was flushed and sat up nicely for a few seconds near the coach parking area and a steady passage of Hirundines was under way by the time I left at about 08.50am. An audible passage of Yellow Wagtail throughout the visit which were hard to count this morning, a number heard but not seen. A single Hobby put in an appearance and I had at least one Golden Plover passing over.


Clarkson on the loose on Beachy.


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