24.6.20 Nightingales and Sand Martin

Clear and cloudless with building east wind.

I never know quite how to label this time of the year, clearly not autumn and more so midsummer. It is however an intriguing transitional period where some of our earlier migrants start reorienting as a prelude to moving south. Nightingale definitely do that here. Birds disperse from their breeding areas inland often arriving at Beachy Head in early July & linger (I suspect to moult). Rarely are they seen, just their whistles and croaks giving them away. This transition period certainly seems earlier than usual. The last few days have seen 2 Nightingale appear at Shooters Bottom (a good 8/10 days earlier than usual) and today, amongst a modest passage of east bound Swift, a few small groups of Sand Martin.

A singing Black Redstart on the 23rd, dwarfed against the 500ft cliff face.

Fledgling Swallow at Cornish Farm.

With still so much happening nationally it seems as if this is the spring that never ends. A Rosy Starling seen briefly by Chris Ball at Belle Tout on the 20th, just days after the Blyth’s Reed Warbler, enabled Beachy Head to make some late quality gains at the end of quite a disappointing spring for numbers and passage of common migrants. Other scarce highlights included Black Kite, Bee-eater, several Serin, 2 Common Crane, Iceland Gull and 4 Spoonbill.

One of two whistling, croaking Nightingale in Shooters

There’s now plenty of butterfly on the wing now across the headland, although I wonder how the parched landscape will affect the number of flowering plants, it really looks like it does in late July than June.

Dark green Fritillary
Marbled White


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