1st September 2018 Nightjar

A cloudless day with a light south east wind from start to finish. A pretty mediocre day for me in terms of scarcity. I walked from the radio mast to Friston return about 12km. The real surprise came after sunset whilst sitting above Belle Tout Wood, when the dancing silhouette of a Nightjar was seen briefly hawking insects against a still glowing skyline. Quite a lovely surprise. It’s the second Nightjar I’ve seen on Beachy Head, the other in the same area in May 2016.


Young male Marsh Harrier heading out to sea this morning high above the old trapping area.

Best birds for me were 5 Redstart, 8 Whinchat, 2 Wheatear, my first Chiffchaff of the autumn, 4 Willow Warbler, c 25 Common Whitethroat, Hirundines began moving early on and by leaving at 3pm several 1000 must have passed through, in with them a single Swift. A single Tree Pipit over Birling and at least c30 Yellow Wagtail seen including 18 in with cattle behind Hodcomb. A lone Grey Wagtail also passed over. 2 different Marsh Harrier (one 2nd cal. male type high SE just before 7am and another, a feather perfect juvenile, east over Went Hill at about 9am. During a raptor watch with Matt we had a single flock of 28 Common Buzzard although unfortunately, nothing else of note. 4 Sparrowhawk were seen over a wide area. I belatedly learnt others had a Barn Owl (very rare Beachy Head bird) & a Pied Flycatcher today.


Some of the Common Buzzard “kettle” mid afternoon. Hard to say how many were seen overall but 28 at one time was highest count.


Yellow Wagtail in the cattle field at Hodcomb.


Sparrowhawk over Shooters.


Whinchat just after sunrise at the radio mast.


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