29th October 2018 Richard’s Pipit

A cold and frosty start with a stiff NE wind veering more northerly towards the end of the day. A full day out with JP, 15km covered on foot. We birded Birling Gap, Belle Tout, Long Down wood, Cow Gap, the Holywell area, Went Hill & Michel Dean.

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Belle Tout lighthouse from Went Hill, the top of Belle Tout wood catching the last rays of sun.

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Firecrest at Birling Lane.

Things kicked off from the get go with JP picking up a Richard’s Pipit (c07:20) passing over Birling Gap heading towards Belle Tout. The bird called 3 or 4 times and was watched descending towards the cattle field there but we failed to relocate it despite searching. 6 Blackbirds and a Ring Ouzel were flushed from cover just east of the wood but only a single Redwing seen this morning. The top of Birling lane held 8 Goldcrest, least 2 Firecrest and a vocal Yellow browed Warbler which refused to show despite calling repeatedly from private gardens at about 09:30. Skylark (c100) remain evident, and a single Yellowhammer was mixing with the House Sparrow flock around Cornish Farm, c30 Corn Bunting, were encountered.  A decent bit of overhead movement until mid-morning mostly west; c200+ Chaffinch, c5 Brambling, c25 Siskin, 1 Redpoll, c200 Wood pigeon, 10 Stock Dove, 3 Grey Heron, 3 Golden Plover & 5 Lapwing.

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One of todays Golden Plover.

Moving on to Cow Gap and the Hollow we found it to be very quiet apart from a flock of 20 Common Scoter on the sea whilst a migrant Short eared Owl was flushed from the cliff face which flew out over the ocean but did return.

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We then headed to Long Down to check the wood there but found it hard going bar a single Chiffchaff (max of 4 seen all day), a Goldcrest and a few Blue and Great Tit. Passing back through a quiet Belle Tout wood, the Eurasian Treecreeper was still present and calling. It appeared quite cold looking with clean white underparts and a substantial supercillium that extended in the nape area and the mantle seemed cold toned too. Perhaps I haven’t looked critically at any britannica Treecreepers lately but it seemed a little lacking in warmth. Although nowhere near as extreme as the images of familiaris “Northern” birds I’ve seen.

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Treecreeper are rare here, this being only the 2nd I have seen since I started watching the site in 2014.

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We covered Went Hill and Michel Dean but found it quiet beyond a small mixed Tit flock, two Peregrine and a Sparrowhawk. Throughout the day, other raptors included c6 Kestrels & 5 Common Buzzard, although no sign of their Scandinavian cousins. Quite a few Red Admirals on the wing along with a Clouded Yellow.

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JP looking for the Richard’s Pipit. No shortage of habitat on Beachy Head.

 

 

About BEACHY BIRDER

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