May 3rd 2017 Turtle Dove

A dull overcast morning, occasional rain moderate NE wind.

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Turtle Dove this morning. Interesting to see from the GPS tracked birds that most winter in Mali.

I wasn’t sure what to expect this morning but left feeling like the day was owed more time then I could spare. Willow Warbler numbers are really dropping off now with a total of zero yesterday and 2 this morning. The first flash of interest was a smart male Redstart that appeared briefly in the old trapping area quickly followed buy a lighting brief appearance of what I was happy was a Siberian Chiffchaff. I saw the bird briefly, rattled off a few shots at which point the bird headed purposefully west. A thoughtful dog walker flushed my only Ring Ouzel of the spring from near the pub. It called and flew west along the cliff tops, heading towards Shooters. I’m pleased not to have drawn a blank on these this spring as I had thought it now too late. At this point a Turtle Dove headed in from the east and obligingly paused briefly in the old trapping area. It’s only my 3rd one on Beachy Head and the only one I’ve seen perched! Considering the current state of this species as a UK breeder, I doubt that trend will improve.

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Above and below, a bird I’m happy calling Siberian Chiffchaff. Overall desaturated appearance, only yellow traces confined to the fringes of the flight feathers, pale almost whitish below with no trace of yellow, something I note on many Tristis is a grey Garden Warbler like “shawl” around the nape which is clearly visible above. Unfortunately no call was heard.

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Sunday 30th April saw a good movement up channel with (personally) c40 Pomarine Skua seen, along with a few Arctic and Great Skuas. The discovery of a pair of Little Tern and a Wryneck at West Rise late afternoon were both welcome and unexpected. Only my 2nd spring Wryneck in the local area. All enjoyed with Big JP day tripping from London.

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