6.11.19 Great Bustard

A bright and calm morning after another wet night.


Seven Sisters at sunrise.

An odd day to say the least! A huge Woodpigeon flight for an hour at sunrise, I estimate somewhere in the region of c8000 birds. Most of which were arriving from the west and north west then continuing east and south east, although some seemed to reorientate north once hitting the coast. Between Birling Gap and Belle Tout I encountered c15 Goldcrest, 2 Firecrest, a Black Redstart, 2 Chiffchaff, the blythi type Lesser Whitethroat still at Birling, whilst 8 Long tailed Tit and a Coal Tit (britannicus) were in the wood. 3 late Swallow went west following the cliff edge.

The fantastical appearance of a Great Bustard, which Simon Linington found mid-morning, was an irresistible temptation. Perhaps the first time since the late 1800’s that one has walked the downland here.


Great Bustard at Birling Gap.

Although from reintroduced stock, it was an impressive bird, looking quite contextual within the rolling landscape.


Great Bustard. Red ring “92”

Part of a reintroduction scheme in Wiltshire, this female was released there in August. Hatched from an egg originating from Castilla Y Leon, Spain. Apparently this is the last year eggs will be imported; the population of around 100 birds is now breeding well and has reached the point of being self sustaining which is excellent news.


Some of this mornings Woodpigeon, there are 501 in this frame alone.


blythi type Lesser Whitethroat feeding on the ground this morning.


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