A virtually cloud free day the wind light & meandering between S, SW and SE throughout the day.
Juvenile Honey Buzzard.
I spent the first part of the morning attempting to relocate a Tawny Pipit which was reported from the Belle Tout area first thing. Being a huge headland with many square kilometres of suitable habitat, I wasn’t too optimistic of success. The bird situation on the ground was pretty mediocre with about 35 Chiffchaff encountered, 4 Common Whitethroat on a loop from the radio mast to Shooters return. There were however 1500+ House Martins along with 500 Swallow and small numbers of Sand Martin meandering around the headland. I joined Simon, Geoff and David for a raptor watch at the old trapping area where at c13:30hrs, a Honey Buzzard finally had the good taste to use Beachy Head as it’s departure point towards the continent. I first picked it up way off over East Dean with bins (thanks to Simon & Geoff who had scopes and the optical power to confirm the dot was indeed an HB!) and to our collective delight the bird slowly made it’s way towards us finally departing high overhead, south out to sea, Simon shouting encouragement “Go on son!” as it went. For a young bird making it’s maiden flight out over open ocean it proceeded with supreme confidence.
Quite a strikingly marked individual.
Although not historically late for the site, it is my latest one and the first time I’ve seen a juvenile here. I’m unsure but I think it’s the first Beachy Honey Buzzard this autumn, if not for the year. They have been unusually absent so far this year.