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.

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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.

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

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Yellow Wagtail in the cattle field at Hodcomb.

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Sparrowhawk over Shooters.

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Whinchat just after sunrise at the radio mast.

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