A cloudy day with a moderate SSE wind.
With the weather looking so good for late autumn birding, I spent all day around Birling Gap, visiting Belle Tout, Birling lane, Went Hill, the area of gorse and scrub above Birling, Cornish Farm and the wood at Long Down. Surprisingly little in the way of overhead movement and the number of migrants on the ground rather small but given the date, that’s to be expected. Although the lack of any winter Thrushes today surprised me.
Yellow browed Warbler at Belle Tout.
Always a treat despite appearing with increasing frequency. This one being my 3rd here this autumn and 6th into total for the general area. It’s also the latest I have found here.
Best of the bunch today was; a single, hard won Yellow browed Warbler (found upon the 3rd time of checking the Belle Tout area at 14:00hrs), a tristis Chiffchaff in the wood at Long Down and a Dartford Warbler above Birling Gap. There were small bands of Blue and Great tit in both Long Down wood and Belle Tout with also c20 Goldcrest shared between those two sites. I only encountered 3 other Chiffchaff beyond the tristis bird. A Mistle Thrush flew past Belle Tout, worth a mention as the are incredibly scarce here!
tristis Chiffchaff on Long Down.
Large gulls are passing through at the moment with one or two modest roosts in the undisturbed fields. A large, dark 3rd Winter argentatus Herring Gull was the only thing of interest I could find amongst them.
It’s unusual to see Peregrine’s perched in trees here. I’ve seen this one doing so a few times on Went Hill. Other raptors included, 3 Kestrel, 3 Common Buzzard and a Sparrowhawk hunting Starling in the set aside field, in a manner similar to that of a Merlin. At one point it successfully caught one but upon being chased by a gang of Carrion Crow, released it. The Starling flew away unharmed… certainly a lucky day for him. Similar numbers of Skylark and Corn Bunting as previous recent visits.